Ever since I was pregnant, people have offered me unsolicited advice. Often it is a pleasure to feel part of a larger family circle as strangers connect with our daughter and share insights with me about parenting. Many people ask if Liza is our first child and then inquire if we plan to have more children. My honest response is that given my age (40) and our current job transitions, I am uncertain whether or not to add any more children to our family.
I have been shocked by the number of people who have bluntly told me that it would be WRONG to have an only child! One woman told me that single children are “unnatural”. A man said that it would be “unfair” to my daughter not to give her siblings. Some suggested that she would be lonely and burdened by being the only child in the household. Others hinted that she would become an odd-ball!
Now, obviously I only want the best for my daughter. It took longer for me to have a successful pregnancy than I expected just as it took longer for me to find my life partner than I expected. If the timing had been different, our ideal would have been two children. However, at this point in my life I am hesitant about becoming pregnant again or adopting. This decision needs to be made relatively soon. . .
It was a relief to read in the July 19 issue of TIME (The Only Child: Debunking the Myths) that many American families find themselves in similar life circumstances and are opting to have only one child. I was pleased to have evidence for what I suspected– having no siblings does NOT mean you grow-up to be “selfish, spoiled and lonely”. That is a myth that in this age when we do not need more children to work the fields should be dispelled!