The only child conversation

The only child conversation

I never thought I’d have an only child, it wasn’t in the plan. As I’ve mentioned before I was lucky that I fell pregnant really quickly with my son, aged 40, and it didn’t cross my mind that that wouldn’t happen again.  It took a lot longer the second time and then I had a miscarriage and made the decision that as I’d be at least 44 before I would then have another child, that I should just be content to have the happy, healthy child I did have. It was a hard decision to make, but I’d spent so much time wishing I was pregnant again, or dealing with the aftermath of the miscarriage, I realised that I wasn’t actually concentrating on my son.  The child who was actually here.  I had the only child conversation in my head, and decided that one was the way forward, and once that decision had been made, I felt so much better.

The only child conversation

My son was only little when I had my miscarriage, although the poor boy had to come with us to the hospital when I was admitted.  I’ve always been honest with him about what happened and why he is my one and only. He talks quite openly about his brother or sister that lives in heaven, the sibling that wasn’t born. The baby that never got to be met in the real world.

The only child conversation

The only child conversation doesn’t pop up too often with my son. There was a time when he would ask if he could have a brother or sister, mainly a brother. But as soon as I mentioned the concept of sharing toys the whole idea went out of his head again. It’s not a conversation we have had in quite some time really. Then out of the blue he brought it up again at the weekend. Mummy where would my brother or sister sleep? I wouldn’t share my bedroom. Mummy I don’t think I really want a brother or sister. I wouldn’t want to have to share with them, they would annoy me. Mummy, imagine if they didn’t like trains! What we do then? No I don’t think I’d want a brother or sister Mummy.

My son looks at the situation very much in the here and now.  He has no concept that his life would have been very different for years if he’d had a sibling.  He’d have had to compromise on activities, our time, space, in so many other ways.  He doesn’t have a concept of having someone who is there to play with, talk to, and yes argue with, all the time.  He doesn’t realise that unless or until me meets ‘someone special’ that he’ll be alone in the world, if and when we aren’t there.  He’s nine, so it’s not even on his radar to think about.  But it is something that goes around in my mind a lot when I’m having the only child conversation in my head.

I guess you can’t miss what you’ve never had but it doesn’t stop me worrying about the future for him. Who will be there to support him when we are not. There will be no one to share memories with of his childhood, no one to reminisce with about past adventures. No one to look at old photos and be the one to say do you remember when we did this? No, you’ve got that wrong, it was such and such. I guess as I’m getting older and with parents myself that are in their mid to late seventies, I worry for my son about the emotional strain to come at some point in the future. Hopefully in years to come, but there will be a time when he’ll need to make arrangements when we’ve gone, it will all be down to him.  There will be no one to share the burden.  That makes me sad and guilty but there’s nothing to be done, nothing to change, it is what it is.

But perhaps I’m just feeling a little maudlin on a cold January day.  Perhaps I need to have the only child conversation again with myself.  Spend time reminding myself of the positives to having only one child to consider.  spend more time in the here and now, and less worrying about the future and things I cannot change.


9 thoughts on “The only child conversation

  1. I am an only child and to be honest I never felt lonely or different from friends with brothers and sisters.
    I think it’s only now I’m older that I’m thinking it would be nice to have someone else to help with things to do with my parents although my hubby is one of 5 and doesn’t have much contact with his brother and sisters so which one if I had the choice I would choose I’m not sure xx

  2. I love having 1 child but similarly thought we’d have 2. But once we had one that was our lot and I wouldn’t change that now. I still have money and a life that I wouldn’t have I’d we had a second. N is lucky because has all his cousin s near so I’d hope they’d help him in future. But I know where you’re coming from with carrying the burden when we’re gone.

    Having done it for my mum with my brother, and soon after for our ban it was such a relief to do it together. My mum’s was easy because she’s sorted out her funeral and all her finances were in order. She been able to prepare. Our nan’s was harder. I want to get mine all written in order so anyone can pick it up and sort it. The farm for the OH will be a nightmare. I’m sure they’ll meet lovely partners to support them and will hopefully be near to good friends as well.

    We have a lot of benefits to enjoy with only children.

  3. I am an only child and I think it’s very different to be one now a days than back in the 80s. There are so many ways to keep in touch with people and so many clubs for those who want to make friends. All the one to one time and things you can do far easier with one. Things happen for a reason and he’s a happy, lovely boy who is loved xx

  4. I think you are being a little maudlin. I have a living sister, but we rarely see each other and looking back at old photos isn’t something we get to do either (I don’t have any). When my mother dies I will have my sister’s support in sorting everything out, but really it’s hard to say that this is going to be better than taking a friend to help, or even just doing it alone for the most part. It’s a very solo occupation. I’m sure, as you are thinking this way anyway, that you will have as much readied as possible to make his job easy. Then you can put it to one side, stop worrying about it and focus on the now 🙂

  5. Wow. I’d never viewed it like that. I had Harry 10 days after I turned 40 (hence ‘The Unyoung Mum). I made the conscious choice that I would stop there. Doesn’t stop the world and his dog asking when I’m going to have another one though. The way I see it, you choose family. Our families are not close so we have created a life with people surrounding us who add to and enhance our little man’s life. He doesn’t have siblings but he is not short on love, attention or challenge. I’m sure this is the case for your young man too.

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