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Sibling deprival-ry

By Paige Herman-Axel on Sep 3, 2013

My son is an only child—on purpose. My husband and I have had countless conversations about the ultimate size of our family, and truth be told, we were fully planning on having more kids before our first came along. Then we found out firsthand just how much work (and money) one is. But there’s more to our decision than time and finances. I work. A lot. And I love it. I kept my workload very light for the first year of my son’s life, and honestly, I wasn’t happy about it. In the last 5 years my business has grown exponentially, and since I work for myself, maternity leave is not an option.

Recently, my son has become more aware of his only child status. Driving home from one playdate in particular (where his friend has an older brother and sister), my son started to lay it on really thick. “I have no one to play with at my house. I want a brother or sister.” Over and over. I tried to explain that having a new baby is a lot of work. And that it takes a few years until this brother or sister can play with you. And that they’ll try to take your toys—and might even break them. (OK, maybe this last approach wasn’t my finest moment.) After a day or so he dropped the subject, but I’m sure it will come up again.

While I am 100-percent secure in my decision to stop at one child, I definitely felt guilty. But I keep reminding myself that having another child so my son has someone to play with isn’t exactly a good reason. I also know a lot of people who are estranged from their siblings, so I know there’s no guarantee that my son and this phantom sibling will even be close. 

Sure, if we REALLY wanted to have another child, we’d figure it out. But it would seem our desire to grow our family isn’t as strong as our desire to enjoy what we have. And every time someone asks if I’m sure I’m “done” (which happens quite often), I’ll continue to say “I’m sure”—no ifs ands or buts about it.

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