For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. When I was 14/15 years old, I’d talk about how many children I wanted and even what some of their names would be. At the time I had the crazy idea that I wanted 5 children. Clearly I didn’t really understand the responsibilities (and expense) behind raising a child.
When I was married and planning S, we talked about children and I said I’d wanted 3. I imagined raising them, wandered whether they’d be boys or girls, what their personalities would be like. When people talked about having only one child, I was rather obnoxious. I’d say things like: “Imagine you’re on a road trip in the States, going to Disney…would you rather have one child in the back sitting quietly on their Ipad or two children bickering and playing in the back?” I was really against the idea of only one child.
And then I had S. And very soon after, my circumstances changed. And suddenly the idea of having any more children was put on the back burner. And as S started to grow, I wandered whether this one child choice was such a bad idea. In fact, I couldn’t believe that I’d be able to love another child as much as I love S. Now of course, I’ve read about how common this is. Most mother’s feel that way after they have their first and then when they go on to have more, they just feel like their love expands to include the other’s. I imagine that to be a pretty amazing feeling.
I’ve been through a plethora of emotions since I became a single parent. Is this it? Will I only have one child? Will S be okay without a sibling? Will he be lonely? Will he be spoilt? And then I made peace with it because I realised, it all comes down to how you raise your child. And in today’s day and age of play dates and whatnot, S is never really on his own. He understands the concept of sharing with friends and he absolutely loves babies and is quite affectionate towards them. He has mine (and my parents) undivided love and attention which makes him a very secure and happy child.
I have a sibling, Sam. We’re only a year apart and as children we fought all the time. I was a tom boy and the small age gap meant we had a lot of mutual friends. He didn’t always like this. As we grew older we made our own friends and in many respects grew apart, each choosing to do our own thing. He lives in Nigeria and absolutely loves it there while I live in London and love my life here. I love him, respect him and know I can always count on him for advice/anything really, but he’s not always my go to person. That may be because we live in different cities or just because we’re quite different in our thinking. Either way, I have people I can talk to/confide in who aren’t my siblings.
S is very attached to my cousins girls who live in Nigeria. He sees them only once or twice a year and yet they have such a close bond. When they meet, it’s like they just saw each other the previous week. He misses them when they leave and often asks for them. With the help of modern technology, they’ll be able to have a relationship growing up, even living thousands of miles apart.
In the 80s when I grew up, having a sibling meant you’d always have someone to play with, someone who was around. In today’s world, I think even as an old child, you’ll always have that. And so even though I’m open to having more children, I’m also okay if I don’t. Because I know my child will never really be alone and I also know my only child will always be enough for me.