You get into a relationship. A year passes and people start asking when you are going to get married. You get married. You are married for a few months and people start asking when you are going to start a family. You get pregnant. You have a baby. The world celebrates! Then the baby turns one and once again people start asking questions that are none of their business.
My husband and I have “only” one child. I use quotes around the term “only” because when used in this regard it bothers me. When I hear someone being referred to having “only” one child versus someone having two children, the word “only” carries such negative connotations, as though having an “only” child is cruel. You rarely hear someone being referred to as having “only” four children.
The questions regarding giving our daughter a sibling began when she turned one. They haven’t slowed down since—and she’s almost four. In all honestly, the decision to have “only” one child was made for us the day I was told I could not have more children. Once we processed this information and did a lot of soul searching, we realized that we were blessed to have our daughter and should focus our energies on her instead of something that was beyond our control.
My daughter is not suffering because she does not have siblings. She is well-liked, very social and quite intelligent. And not that it matters, but she has a lot of friends who, for one reason or another, will also be an “only” child. There are times when I think about how different our family dynamic would be if we had more children, but I also love my family as it is.
Regardless of how one-child families come to be, they are still a family. It bothers me when people criticize families for deciding to have “only” one child; especially when they feel a sibling is necessary so a child has someone to play with. I know plenty of people who never played with their brothers or sisters growing up because they didn’t get along—some of whom still don’t as adults.
I don’t judge families with nineteen children any more than I judge families with no children. It’s my hope that some day my husband, my daughter, and I will be accepted for the devoted family that we are and that people will stop using the word “only” when talking about my daughter. For us, the word “only” belongs in a Roy Orbinson song, and no one in my family is lonely—just loved.