One & Done – My Only Child Wants A Sibling

by Yesha Callahan

Recently I found out that I’m going to be an aunt again. Not just once but twice. Both of my sisters are having babies in the near future and each of them already has one child, like myself. When my son found out his cousins will have a sibling soon he was distraught. He stated that it wasn’t fair that they’re getting a new brother or sister and not him. Hearing this from me made me feel bad, but just a little.

Before I had my son, I was one of those anti-kids women. I relished in the fact that I didn’t have any and had no plans on having any. Growing up with 3 siblings and maybe a bit of selfishness played a role in that. I didn’t want to be responsible for another person, the way I was at times responsible for them. I wanted to have the freedom that I knew my mother didn’t have because she was busy raising the 4 of us.

Now I’m being called selfish because I’ve decided that having another child is just not for me. Several friends have said everyone should have a sibling. But I think they’re a bit biased. These remarks come from my friends that don’t have any themselves, and feel that they’ve missed out on a huge part of life. I joke around with one friend in particular, asking him what did he really miss out on? Sharing a bedroom? WWF brawls in the living room when your mother wasn’t around? Being considered the weird sibling? Yeah, those were definitely fun times.

Do I feel guilty about my decision? At times I do. I try to explain to my son that although he doesn’t have a sibling, he has a cousin that has grown up with him. They’ve never lived apart and the bond he has with him is something I didn’t have with my sisters or brother growing up. They do everything together and always has each other’s back, “But he’s still not a little brother or sister,” he’ll say. Then there goes that tinge of guilt again.

Then there’s the age issue. I’m not spring chicken. Trying to explain to a thirteen year old about how a woman’s body works, and how it’s not always safe to have children at a late age, isn’t easy. As I’m telling him this, all I hear is the sound of crickets in the background. I’m sure all he hears is Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wok wok wok, wok wok”. He doesn’t care about any of that. And he probably shouldn’t.

So I’ve decided to do what I think plenty of people with an only child does. I don’t want to be that parent that isn’t open to compromise. Am I going out to buy some sperm from the local sperm bank? Although the thought has crossed my mind several times, nope. I plan on doing the next best thing. I’ll just get him a dog. Again.

  • Jaslene

    Dang he is thirteen and upset about not having a sibling? I think only children usually are more selfish from my experience. It seems that with everything going its best you don’t have that ther child.

  • http://gravatar.com/ebony82 ebony82

    I’m in a similar boat: my seven year old wants a sibling but we cannot afford one right now (financially, emotionally and physically) because I am working full-time and studying part-time so that I can get into Dental school (as in become a Dentist) on top of juggling household and family responsibilities. To put it simply, I just don’t have the time. I’ve heard people say that you can never be prepared. That’s a bunch of BS!

  • Zavannah Monroe

    I’m a veterinarian. Please don’t get him a dog unless he wants one and is willing and able to take care of it. Getting a pet to alleviate your guilt is a horrible idea.

  • rando

    He might not even be that close to his sibling at 13+ years older.

  • Starla

    I here ya. I am 11 years older than one sibling, and 15 years older than the other and I had to wait until they grew up to get close. A longgggggggg wait. Obviously they are closer together than to me. But I would consider us to be relatively close despite the age gap.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    I used to beg my mother for a sister as a young child. I mean BEG! You’d have thought Baby Sisters was the must-have Christmas gift of the decade with the way I wanted one. Then I turned 12, and the realities of being raised by a single mother in an increasingly expensive world + all my (few) possessions belonging to me and only me finally took root.

    Plus, after witnessing some downright catty behaviour among my Grandma’s sisters after my Great-Grandmother’s death, I am SO glad I won’t have to deal with any dead-lef death matches. It’s disturbing and disgusting to watch. >_<

  • Britt

    I’m an only child and I like it. When I was little I wanted a sibling, but I grew out of that. There are a lot of stereotypes about only children being selfish, but in reality you can be a selfish person with a ton of siblings. I was raised around my cousins so I think I got the best of both worlds by learning to share and interact when I’m with my peers and being an only child and getting stuff I wanted.

    Not wanting to have another child isn’t selfish. Having a child and not taking care of it, that’s selfish.

  • binks

    It is only natural, I’ am the baby of the family and I could never picture myself without siblings, though growing up I use to be envious of “only” children but as I grew I learned I personally wouldn’t like it so much though I wish I my parents would have had another girl…I have sisters envy…lol but you are on the right path with him, just keep him around his cousins and try to keep encouraging lifelong friendships with him and his buddies as a solution because let’s be honest wanting a sibling bit will never go away so do the best you can. And I agree with Zavannah Monroe above with the pet thing of just giving him one to bury guilt or pacify him that is not the answer.

  • jrmint27

    I hate being an only child! I am 32 years old and i always tell my mother to this day she should have had more kids. It may not be fun when you’re growing up, but as you get older you miss out on that bond that other siblings have. I don’t have someone to talk when things are going wrong, no shopping trips with my big/little sister, nobody to call when moms is trippin and i want to vent. I always look at other sibling relationships wishing i had that. And I always think about when my mother is no longer here it will be just me.

  • Jae Bee

    I too am an only child and I hear what you’re saying. When I was younger I used to voice some of the same concerns to my mother, but she (who had 3 siblings) would always say that having siblings doesn’t guarantee that you will get along with any of them. As the old saying goes, “you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family”. As an only child you have the privilege of picking friends who you can make into a quasi-extended family. If you’re born into a family where your sibling is a complete jerk, your stuck in your connectedness with that person for life.

  • Bree

    I’m an only child, and I used to beg my parents for a sibling, too. Eventually, I grew out of the phase, but it didn’t become a problem until I got to school. Most or all of my classes, I was the only one without any siblings. It didn’t dawn me on until fifth grade math and the teacher decided to use siblings to teach Venn diagrams. I was the lone one out. I’m 21 now, and looking back I really can’t complain about not having a sibling. Aside from the awkwardness that day in math class.

    Did my parents spoil me? Of course, but they also gave me limitations. I knew how far to push it– I still do. I had a nice upbringing with a dog (!!) hanging out with my friends and cousins. If I ever have kids, at the moment I’m anti-kids like the author used to be, I would really only want one.

  • http://airindanyell.tumblr.com Erin

    I’m an only child… the only time I wanted a sibling as a child was when I was bored or wish there was someone else to place the blame on when I got into trouble. Not for companionship, because I had several close friends, being that I was in so many activities I was always surrounded by other children. I realized that my parents couldn’t have any other children than me and I had to deal with it accordingly.

  • karmell

    I have a sister, who is one year older and it was torture. Believe me when I tell you, there were days I prayed I would wake up and be only child who didn’t get blamed for her ish all the time. Fast forward – we’re 30 + 31, we still don’t get along, and I have GREAT friends (20 yrs strong), more like sisters whom I call when mom starts trippin and I want to vent, and they do the same with me. Family is not always blood, and blood is not always family.

  • Overseas_Honeybee

    Yep … my older sister and I are 15 years apart and complete opposites. I was pretty much raised as an only child and when our mom died I moved in with my aunt until I turned 18. There are times I wish we were closer. I love her but its been hard to really make a lasting connection. Don’t think we’ll ever have that. However, that may not be the case for everyone.

  • Overseas_Honeybee

    Nope … don’t drink the “kool-aid” Yesha! A few more years and the only thing your son will be worried about is girls and kickin’ at the mall. If you want to be done … then rock on.

  • Alysia

    I absolutely LOVE being an only child! I am more introverted as a result but I love that as well. I value genuine friendships also, and tend to exhibit sibling like behavior with them (emergency contact, would want to raise their kids if something happened to them, etc.) I don’t think of it as being a curse or being alone, just as a way to select the people that I want to call my family.

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