Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: One Is the Loneliest Number?

08/11/2011 at 07:00 AM ET
Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is in the middle of a very busy year.

The actress, 38, can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit, Abduction and Officer Down, and is found online on Facebook and @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Röhm and fiancé Ron Anthony are considering having a second child. The actress reminisces about growing up an only child, what it would mean for 3-year-old daughter Easton August, and starting the IVF process again.

How did you decide when and if to expand your family? Have you done IVF more than once? Elisabeth wants to know.

One is the loneliest number?

You see, I always wanted a big clan. I had visions of having five kids and living in a perpetual whirlwind — which is so different from my own very simple only child existence with a single mother. Our house was chill, to say the least. No big fights on a daily basis. No mountains of laundry. No sit-down dinners where everyone talked over each other in a familiar rhythm. Nope, it was just me and my mom.

But I have to admit that in the Röhm-Anthony household, we have been enjoying the mellow easy nature of a single kid home. It’s a breeze with just one. All aspects of organization and juggling fall into place so easily with just the three of us. Plus, I guess I’m just used to this type of familial dynamic. It’s familiar.

Time is passing though, and I’m watching my baby turn into a little girl. In September she’ll be 3½. Waves of baby fever are hitting me everywhere I look. I pass a mom or dad with a new bundle of joy and the presence of babies begins permeating my dreams. All of the memories of that first year with Easton are swirling around me, making my biological clock tick faster and faster, louder and louder.

If I wait too long, there will be too big of an age difference, I often think. So I’m spending a lot of time these days wondering if I’m ready, willing and able to have another little one. I always thought I’d be on to number three by now! There are pros and cons to not being able to get pregnant naturally. I never have to worry about getting knocked up accidentally, but it does aid in time just passing by.

The truth is, being an only child isn’t that bad. If that’s what’s in the cards for Easton, I feel assured that she will have all those wonderful and special qualities that only children have in spades.

For instance, I can eat at restaurants all by myself with a good book and not feel self-conscious. I mean that’s huge, right?! Also, I could easily travel on my own and not long for companionship; just me and my journal. Alone time is a-okay with me! And how about all that time in your imagination? As an only child you are forced to have a vivid life of play and dialogue on your own. This makes for very self-sufficient and creative folks!

Therein lies the question. Who wants to be alone? I was always longing for a brother or sister to torture and protect me. I wanted someone who really knew about my life; little moments that have made me who I am and that I can’t play back for anyone exactly as it was. The impressions of a shared childhood.

And then there are the big moments too. When my mother passed away a year and a half ago, I swore that I would start planning for another child so that Easton wouldn’t have to do this life thing on her own, as I’ve had to. The truth is though, even at that time I wasn’t longing to have another baby. I really just wanted it for Easton.

One is the loneliest number, I would think at the time as I went through my loss. Even after a year had gone by since Mom passed, I still didn’t have a burning desire for another little one. I’ve been a little stumped by that because I’d had a vision of a huge family! But I was actually enjoying our tight-knit threesome and the peace that goes along with it.

And then there is the whole rock-n-roll ride of IVF that we’d need to begin again. In fact, I’d spent more time just being grateful that Easton was here and healthy and that we’d made it through the medical journey it required than thinking about doing it all over. After all we had been through, I was deeply satisfied with our success story.

I didn’t want to press my luck again with IVF — I know that has a lot to do with my mind not wandering to the next one. I mean, what if it doesn’t turn out so perfectly next time? I can list 1,000 things that could make it harder than it was, the first and foremost being that we got pregnant with Easton on the first try! That was huge and it doesn’t always go down like that.

What if took two or three or more trials? What if I had twins — or triplets? Or what if it simply just didn’t ever take? I have friends who’ve been through all of those scenarios.

Admittedly, we do enjoy our trio. Our life is easy and unencumbered with the chaos of several children’s needs and schedules. Not to mention traveling with all that stuff!! All the carseats and suitcases to get around! It surely is not easy.

A friend of mine who just went from one child to two confirmed that the single child family is something to behold. And so I’ll be clear and say that we do enjoy the flexibility our small household affords us. Life is a breeze. But all that wildly busy stuff is just the price of love — you give some to get some.

I want to have another baby. Not just for Easton, and not so that she won’t be lonely. Just to feel it all over again. Being pregnant was wildly amazing, as I’m sure you will all agree. And my heart grew six sizes more on the day Easton was born. The whole nine-month journey was probably the most blissful moment of my entire life.

Well, maybe the first seven months. Those last few were brutal — what with the bladder control issues, fatigue and the general feeling that goes along with waddling my 202 lbs. around. The majority of pregnancy, birth and the brand new hours that first year were truly beautiful. I would love to do it all over again.

I’ve got baby fever, as they say! It’s been creeping up on me. I fantasize about it.

To disrupt our seriously well-adjusted life with the emotional journey of infertility and then the chaos of a no longer single child household? But what if? What if we let this moment pass us by because we are comfortable? Or because the IVF process is so tumultuous? What if Easton went her whole life as I did? Would I regret that for her? For us?

I don’t know the answer quite yet, but I can tell you that I do miss the sweet smell of a baby in my arms these days. And I know for a fact that having a sibling would have been pretty darn cool. Hmm, so I’m wondering a lot lately…

The IVF journey is to be continued, PEOPLE.com readers.

— Elisabeth Röhm

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Kristina on

Funny because I was feeling the exact same way earlier this year. My Lil J just turned 2 in June and his older sister is already 11 1/2 (from my husband’s previous marriage). They have an intense bond that I would not have expected because of the age difference.

Before I had Lil J, or even thought about getting pregnant, I always put my step-daughter first and thought of her needs. As I saw her getting older, I longed for her to have a sibling and that’s when Lil J came in the picture. I couldn’t do anything about the age difference. In saying that, Elisabeth, from my own personal experience, I wouldn’t worry too much about the age difference. Make sure you are ready for another child.

Currently, we’re trying for baby #2 (or child #3). I had contemplated for months and months whether I was ready to have another baby (+ toddler + tween) and we’re finally giving it a go. Good luck Elisabeth! Any decision you make, I’m sure Easton will appreciate when she gets older!

Twin Mom on

I, like you, had to undergo IVF to get pregnant. I also grew up as an only child. And I also got pregnant on our first IVF with a single child. However, I always knew I wanted to try again.

When my oldest was 2 years old, we did an FET with the single remaining embryo we had left. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately given what I have now), it did not take.

We waited 6 more months and decided to try for one last IVF treatment. We transferred two and while we were waiting to see if it took, the remaining embryos all expired so this was it. Either I’d be a mom of an only child or I’d be the mom of 2 (or more!).

Color me shocked when we found out I was pregnant…with twins! I was in shock for a good week even though you know it’s a possibility with IVF. It meant a total change in our lives. We had to get a minivan, we had to figure out to pay for childcare for 3 children (not working was not an option for us), and we had suddenly outgrown our house!

Fast forward 3 years and I honestly can’t imagine life any differently. I have 3 adorable children,. My twins couldn’t be any more different from each other, and my oldest has definitely benefitted from being the big brother. He now plays better with other children, he’s super protective of his little sister and he and his little brother share their room without issues.

Sure there are times I’m pulling my hair out (what mother isn’t), but honestly, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

g on

discussions about this get so heated…
we have one and will probably stick with that for mostly financial reasons, but I understand both the arguments that siblings can be a comfort to each other, and missing being pregnant/having a newborn!

Steph on

I am currently pregnant with my 3rd IVF baby. We had always wanted 2 children and then we had frozen embryos left over, so we tried again….it didn’t work, and we decided we really wanted that 3rd baby, so all in all, after 3 fresh and 4 frozen cycles over the past 8 years, baby 3 will be due in early December.

My children are thrilled that we are growing our family. God willing, the sibling relationship is one of the longest relationships a person will ever have. I’ve learned to love my sibling! We’ve been playmates, sleep-over partners, an ear to listen about family problems or issues etc.

I think that choosing to have an only child for your own personal reasons and choosing to have an only child because of fertility struggles are different…one you choose, and one you accept. Good luck with your journey and decisions!

Lourdes on

Follow your heart… there will always be there all those “IFS” .. the love you get from your kids is worth all the pain, sadness, hapiness, etc.. that you went through to have them in your life.

If you are ready to have another baby and your family is ready too, go for it, you won’t regret it, if you don’t, in a few years when it might be too late to have another baby you might regret it. Like I said before, Follow your heart and you’ll find the answer that is right for you and your family.. Good luck

ML on

My husband and I struggled with the decision to have a second child for a long time.

Our son was diagnosed with autism at 2.5 years which was followed by a year of therapies, diet changes and constant, constant research. After all his medical problems cleared up, his autism got a lot better and now I think that label can be removed. His moderate special needs kept us from even thinking about a second child. Now he’s wonderful, a typical 4 year old and after 7 months, we’re pregnant with #2.

I can understand the hesitation with going through IVF again. Never mind the cost, but each time it doesn’t ‘take’ has got to be heartbreaking. I will pray that the right answer comes to you and that your family continues to be joyous and wonderful. ❤

k on

I’m already worried about this. We struggled for years to conceive our daughter (now 1 yr old) and we really don’t feel the need to have another child. Most of the issues Elisabeth presented are running through our thoughts. We also have a financial worry and an environmental impact concern.

That being said, I worry that she’ll want a sibling and resent us eventually for leaving her “alone”. I’d love to hear from some people who either are only children or who are raising an only child.

Sarah K. on

I would definitely say not to have another baby if you don’t truly want one. Easton will be just fine as an only child and she is not doomed to be selfish or lonely. Having a child should only be something that’s done because you want that child and feel like it’s right for your family.

That being said, I cannot imagine my life without my siblings. We obviously had our spats, but they’re my best friends. I am grateful that I wasn’t an only child, but that’s because I’ve never known the other side of it. But, I’ve also met only children that are happy not have siblings.

em on

We are in a very similar situation. My husband was an only child until he was almost 12 – he longed for a sibling. I grew up with siblings, and that is all I know. It never occurred to me to only have one child.

We went through (and are still on) the fertility roller coaster. We did a fresh cycle that was unsuccessful. We next did a frozen transfer. We have a gorgeous, healthy and happy toddler now. We adore him. I feel he completes our family. I don’t feel anything is missing…but I also know how wonderful all of the experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and welcoming a newborn into a family can be. I am also 38 years old! So we are at a place where we have a wonderful family, and another child would be just that much more special. Kind of like the icing on our cake.

So here I am, taking my medications and waiting for my transfer. Hoping, praying, we are fortunate enough again to have this work and that we will have another healthy baby.

Elisabeth – we IVF moms are so hard on ourselves. People who conceive naturally rarely feel as though they are wanting too much when they plan for another child. They rarely feel they should not press their luck. If you and Ron are both on board, go for it. If it works out, wonderful! If not, you tried, and you will always know that you tried to give Easton a sibling. When she is older and wants those sibling experiences, she will know how wanted she was, and know that you wanted to give her a sibling.

Good luck to you 3. May you be blessed.

ann on

I have had the “should we add another” thoughts for YEARS. I am happy to say we are finally ready. I don’t want to JUST do it for my daughter to have a sibling but I have the yearning to have another baby in the house…to see another baby grow up!

Mine will turn 5 this october so she will be close to 6 once a new one comes along! I think it will be GREAT! My mother spaced me and my sibling far apart..one is 10 years older and the other is 5. And I can honestly say they are my best friends. Age difference DOES NOT MATTER! You will know when you are ready…enjoy Easton:)

andi on

My husband and I have one child and she is almost 11. The main reason for not having more is simply because we love being a family of three and it just works for us. Also, financially it makes things easier as we are a one income family( I stay home and do babysitting for my nieces and nephew).

Jessica on

I cannot express how much I love reading Elisabeth’s posts. It is the only reason I visit the site. I wish her all the best and hope to see more on her thoughts…..

Lauren on

Hello Elisabeth 🙂 Now I have never commented on one of your blogs before but I thought that for this one, I would.

I grew up with only one sister who is 15 ½ months younger than I am. I always wanted more siblings because we ARE so close in age but it never happened although at the same time I also wondered what it would have been like to be an only child but at the same time, I could never imagine my life without my sister. Now that I’m 21 and she’s 20, we’re the best of friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Also I kind of understand the thing with losing your mom, mine and my sister’s dad passed away when we were 13 and almost 12 of cancer and I can’t imagine how I would have been if I didn’t have her during that time. Now I know I was young but I’m very thankful I had my sister when that happened.

Now for you I know it’s completely your choice whether to have another or not and I have seen and read many stories of IVF and how emotional they can be so I would like to say congrats on it working the first time with Easton! I only hope that if you choose to go that route again to add to your family that you have that same luck again. I also hope that making the decision won’t be too difficult for you and your fiancé.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you will have a great day.
– Lauren

Pamela on

It’s definitely a personal call, but as an only child myself, I never really felt lonely. Instead of wishing I had a brother or sister (I never wished that!) I was extremely grateful for the close relationship I have with both my parents.

I think the relationship an only child has with their parents vs. the relationship of a family of four, five, is very different-not better or worse, just different. With a family of three, it’s very ‘Three Musketeers,’ which personally, I love.

Lisa on

I know exactly how you are feeling. My husband and I have a 7 year old son. He is everything to us and we are so happy with our little family.

My husband is an only child and he never mentions in conversation that he never missed out on having a sibling. He always had friends from his neighborhood over to his house and vice versa.

As for me I am the youngest of three. I recently lost my brother, and I am not close to my sister. As I got older my brother and I became closer. We lived about 45 minutes apart from each other and we talked mostly on the phone almost every night. As for my sister and I we rarely talk, when she needs something she just texts me. So in other words, even if you give a sibling to Easton there is no guarantee that they will be close to one another as they grow older.

It is a difficult decision to make and my husband and I still discuss it to this day about possibly conceiving another child. We always wanted two kids, but as we found out financially a child is very expensive. Good luck with whatever your decision is. Love reading your blogs.


kris on

I am currently expecting my first child and conceived with IVF. While, I am not yet ready to face the decision about trying for a second I can say that I understand the hesitation to go through the whole process again. It is a roller coaster of emotions and not so nice physical symptoms. My decision will probably be made easier because we DO have some frozen embryos. If they don’t take though, I don’t know that I would go through the whole fresh IVF cycle again.

I think you know what you want to do, you admitted you have baby fever and that you DO want another one. I think that you, like so many of us who have suffered with infertility have been burned and the scars run deep so you’re scared and I don’t blame you. I say, don’t miss out on the experience and love and wonder of a second child becaue of fear of the what if’s! What if you had just been comfortable with just the two of you? Your life wouldn’t be as awesome as it is now.

K on

That’s something I’ve heard before, Pamela. A roommate of mine in college was an only child, and that’s how she used to describe her family.

It seems that you could analyze the situation until your brain gives out. Don’t have another child because you think Easton will need a sibling. As you stated before, you grew up fine without brothers or sisters. However, if you feel in your heart that you want another child, I hope you choose to go for it.

I can’t even imagine the emotional roller coaster of IVF, so I’m certainly cannot imagine the “ifs”. But as someone else stated, there will always be “ifs”.

L on

Your blog post on this topic is so timely for me! My daughter is turning two and we are a perfectly content family of three. I completely know what you mean about the relative ease and simplicity of being a family of three. We feel that too, very much, and are hesitant to mess with that. But in the past month or so I have begun to wonder about having another child.

I have the same thoughts as you about giving my daughter a sibling. But I have a sibling and our relationship is nothing like the one I would want for my child. My husband is also not so close with his siblings so that makes me hesitant. You just don’t know what you are going to get. I have an incredible fear of what a second baby would do to the relationship my daughter and I have. This is a very difficult decision and I just don’t know how to arrive at the right conclusion because on any given day one or the other seems just right!

And, though I was able to conceive naturally, I do worry very much about pressing my luck. I have a beautiful, smart, sweet little girl and we are a happy, healthy family. I worry so much about changing that.

It is a really tough decision and I really appreciate you sharing your heart on this. I hope you will keep us posted as to where you decide to take your beautiful little family. Wishing you only the very best!

MommytoanE on

Do you look around your dining room table and think *someone is missing* or do you look and say *My family is complete*?

For my family…its complete. One and done. In the past 8…almost 9 years of my daughters life, I have learned many a valuable lesson. Just because she’s an only, does not mean she is lonely. Shes got friends, family, her parents, and a sweet little dog who all love her. To me…families come in all shapes and sizes. Its the love that surrounds us that matters. Not the numbers. I have learned love is a gift, one that should be shared, and shared with everyone.

I have learned that the *Not Me* ghost lives in EVERY household….no matter how many children you have. Heck, a person with only cats would have the notme ghost living with them!

I have learned that no matter how many siblings a person has, that does not dictate their relationship as adults. I am one of 5, and have little contact with my siblings. My husband one of 3, and while his siblings are more part of his life than mine are….they still aren’t part of his daily life. As children they may be close, but as adults they may be seperate….although the opposite can happen, they can be distant as children and close as adults. Either way, a sibling is not an instant lifelong buddy.

I have also learned that a child shouldn’t be born simply to provide a sibling so first child isn’t alone. A child should be born out of love…and nothing else should matter.

I love my 3 person (well…4 with the furry one) household. I love the ease and comfort. I love the moments we have, the fun we have. But most of all, I love looking around my table and saying “Yup, everyone is here.”

Follow your heart. Don’t let someone else’s judgement of how big your family should be bother you. Have the amount of children you want to have. Have what is right for YOUR family. And remember…family isn’t just brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents and parents. A family is neighbors, and friends as well. A family is love.

Hen on

Love reading your blog. We went thru something similar and one piece of advice I will never forget is, you will NEVER regret having another one, but you might regret not doing it. Then, it is often too late.

We did infertility treatments for 3 years and finally had my daughter. We always knew we wanted at least 2 children and we also did not want to have an only child. But the thought of going thru all those Dr visits, shots, procedures took on new meaning because it is all risky and “things happen”.. I had a daughter to live for now.

In the end, I knew she would want a sibling to share in her life, be her best friend, to join in on the fun we were having as a threesome.. etc.. When we are gone or if something happens to us, she would always have a sibling (a morbid thought, but it’s true).

Finally got ready to go back to the Fertility treatments for #2, and we found out SUPRISE we got pregnant naturally. We got lucky for sure. So we now have 2 girls, 3 yrs apart born in the same month (which they love!), they are best of friends, and I can’t imagine a lonely only 😦 ..

I say GO FOR IT before Easton gets too old. Scary but worth it. Good Luck.

laurelcanyonfashionista on

elisabeth- i feel similar to you, but for a completely different reason. my first daughter took 3 years of trying to conceive, and after her i became pregnant again but miscarried the pregnancy. then i became pregnant unexpectedly with identical twin girls. carried them to full-term and they both died at birth due to a rare complication. after our twin daughters died, i desperately wanted to try for another baby- and we ended up having a healthy baby a year later.

I always envisioned myself with 5 kids- but now I carry a tremendous amount of apprehension with me because i know what can happen. everything is good now- why push our luck??? i know so many kids with VERY serious medical probelms and also of course many kids who did not make it (I am in a grief group, so that definintely skews my perspective). i just feel really lucky to have even one healthy child. but of course everytime i see a family with 3 kids, or 5 kids, i think of “what might have been” and of course miss our twin daughters.

it is a very hard decision. ((((Hugs)))) if you are worried about twins, you can always just do a single embryo transfer- i have had many friends do that. it sounds like if you were successful the first round, then that might be a great option for you. of course, that embryo could always split- but you’d still be much more likely to have a singleton.

What of it? on

Elisabeth, your posts are the best. Your intelligence and thoughtfulness really shine through. If you truly want another child I say go for it. Any child would be lucky to have you as a mother.

Sarah K. on

“you will NEVER regret having another one, but you might regret not doing it.”

I was thinking this same thing after I posted 🙂

Krissa on

I was going to say the same as the above poster – “You’ll never regret the children you do have. Only the ones you don’t”

I’m from 3 and so is my hubby. I knew before we got preg with our first that we would have more that 1. We had our second 18 months later (surprise!) And our third when our second was 4.

I LOVE having 3. LOVE.

You will make the decision that best fits your family!

Best of luck with your decision!

Ivey on

Well if you study birth order if there is a 5 year gap btwn siblings, they consider those children as taking on ‘only child’ behaviours, weather that is a good or bad thing, I don’t know! LOL

fuzibuni on

If you really want another baby then go for it. I wouldn’t put too much weight on doing it for Easton though, because I bet she loves being your only child.

Sometimes having siblings isn’t everything is cracked up to be… I have three siblings all very close in age and while we were growing up it was constant war, noise and chaos… and not the fun kind of chaos. All I wanted was peace and quiet, and to be an only child. Now that we are grown up things are much better, but we don’t have that crazy close relationship that most people dream of for their kids.

So only do it if you really want to, and don’t worry about giving Easton a sibling so she won’t be lonely. She has two very involved parents who love her, and will have plenty of friends to keep her company as an adult.

Holiday on

I absolutely love having 2 kids. My son is 5 and daughter is 15 months and it has been so much fun watching the love bloom between them. My baby girl LOVES her big brother and they walk around holding hands and play together already.

I had a sister and could not imagine having just 1 child. Family vacations and daily life would have been boring without my sister. We would pitch tents in the living room and watch movies on the weekend in them and just have so much fun together. I am hoping the same happens to my 2 kids.

My dad, grandpa and best friend were only kids and all 3 absolutely hated it and wished so much for a sibling. I understand if a couple physic

ally cannot have any more kids but other then that I think it is one of the greatest things to give your child a brother or sister.

Ash on

I agree with the “siblings are not necessarily lifelong buddies” philosophy. I have three sisters, and unfortunately I’m not close with any of them. Two live out of state so I only see them once every few years if I’m lucky (now that they both have several kids between them, it’s difficult for them to find the time and money to travel). My younger sister and I talk every once in a while, but we hardly ever see each other either.

We just all have very different personalities and interests. We hung around with different types of people growing up and didn’t have much in common. It is what it is. We certainly love each other, but we don’t have the type of sibling relationship like you see on sitcoms and in movies. Sadly, my dad’s family of 8 kids was the same way. Moreover, my mom and her sister have a terrible relationship (they’ve barely spoken to each other in over 20 years because of awful things that my aunt did that my mom can’t forgive her for).

When I take all of that into consideration, it’s hard for me to buy into the idea of giving my child a sibling because they “need” one. I don’t believe that anyone needs a sibling, and there’s never a guarantee that they’ll be best friends anyway. With my luck, that plan would backfire and my kids would hate each other.

It has nothing to do with the parenting (my parents were wonderful role models). I think it’s mostly a personality issue. The only siblings I really know that are close are my cousins and that’s because they’re so similar, they’re almost like the same person (they both enjoy going to parties, picking up guys at bars, etc.). But please, for the love of God, don’t have another child because you feel guilty or feel like you have to give your daughter a sibling. That isn’t a good reason to expand your family, in my humble opinion. Have another child if YOU want to. Listen to your heart.

My husband and I don’t make a lot of money, but we still want to be able to invest in our retirement, go on trips, etc. so we’ve already decided that we’ll probably be “one and done.” We see nothing wrong with that. Everyone has to make the choice that’s best for them.

(As a side note, I know several people who are only children and they’re all very successful with many friends. I’ve never heard them say they longed for a brother or sister either).

AM on

Like you, I’m an only child raised solely with my Mom and to be honest, I was totally happy being an only child. I also only wanted one child and never imagined myself the mom of more than one.

Six years ago I gave birth to my only child. It took almost 4 years before I started wanting another. My poor husband, on the other hand, wanted another a year after our daughter was born. Sadly, we were hit in the gut with secondary infertility. We decided to pursue ivf which ended in a miscarriage at 8 weeks in March. It was the saddest day of my life but I knew I’d give it one more try.

With my 38th birthday a week away, I’m going in for my egg retrieval in 2 days and hoping that this one sticks, it’s our last chance. Who knew that my desire for a sibling for my daughter would be so strong after being so adamant about only having a singleton? At this point I’d happily carry twins.

Tiffany on

I’m an only child and I love it. I never felt like anything was “missing” by not having a sibling. Plus, I feel like my parents were able to give me more opportunities in life that I would not have had if they had to provide for more children. My parents do not have close relationships with their siblings (so much drama) so I feel my opinions about being an only child have been reinforced.

This is all just my opinion and I realize that other people have had different experiences and thus different points of view. Essentially, there are probably pros and cons to both.

Chris on

I understand the difficult decision to “press your luck” by going through IVF for a second child. Our first child was such a good little baby, we figured we should get to work for another when he was just 4 mos. old figuring that it could take a while. Our first son came after 3 IUIs and 3 IVFs, so we were so grateful to find a great doctor who finally helped us be successful.

During the 2nd IVF for the second pregnancy, we were ecstatic to be pregnant again and dumbfounded that it was twins! We had to move into a larger house, get a mini van, all the fun things of parenthood, times two.

I would not change it for anything. I am so glad that we had the courage to try again and just go into it knowing you could have twins or triplets! We love our boys so much.

God bless and good luck with your decision.

Deanna on

Just want to pass on my experience as an only child. No Problem Whatsoever! I spent a lot of time with my mom, grandparents, aunts and uncles. This provided me with an ability to interact and understand my classmates, as well as older folks.

As a parent, YOU should want another child….. Not because you think your “only child” will miss out by not having a brother or sister.

Kate on

Elisabeth – Your blog is terrific. While we had no trouble conceiving the first child it took us more than two years to conceive the second child. When I think about having another baby it is the anxiety of that trying to conceive part that really discourages me. People do not understand what an emotional toll it takes on you (and often times, your relationship).

Alli on

I was an only child until I was 10. I had always wanted siblings – my parents come from families with 5 and 6 kids- but when I found out my mom was actually having another baby, I wasn’t so sure at first. Now I can’t imagine my life without my little sister. Even though we’re so many years apart she’s my best friend.

I often think about how quiet our house must have been before she was around. I’m so glad I have a sister to grow up with, to make fun of our parents with (hee), and have fun with on family vacations and events where we don’t know anyone but each other. So I wouldn’t worry so much about differences in age. Some siblings who are very close in age don’t have good relationships, some do. My sister and I are far apart, which is probably why we never fight, and we get along great, though that isn’t the case for everyone. It all depends on the kids.

I also agree with the all of the posters saying you won’t ever regret the children you have.

Marie on

We are at the same place right now.

I have gotten pregnant naturally a few times but it did not work out. We did a fresh IVF cycle & have a beautiful, adored 16 mos. old son. We just did an FET with one embie that did not take, another cycle we had to cancel & a 3rd with 2 embies that just turned out to be ectopic.

I had to have Methotrexate & now wait a few cycles before trying one more time, before a surrogate.

I do not want my son to be an only child & we adore him so we hope to have more. I am over 40 though so time is limited.

Good luck to you!

Indira on

I consider myself an only child (my dad has two sons from a previous marriage but they are 13 years older than me and they don’t live in this country).

Honestly, I’ve never wanted a sibling. Ever. In fact now that I am older the idea turns me off. Especially the sister-sister relationship. With that bond theres an obligation that exists that I find unappealing. An obligation to side with this person, to always defend them and to reconcile no matter what. Why? Because you are family. Since I’m an only child, my social relationships consists of friends…whom i can ditch whenever!

I know some only children that have always wanted a sibling and, I guess there are some advantages. When my parents pass it will just be me and when they age the burden also falls on me to support them.

dea on

After 5 IVF cycles we got our precious, beautiful daughter and she will be 2 1/2 tomorrow! I have one sister and my husband has 2 brothers. We are also both older. We love our perfect little family — she is everything we could want and more and she deserves every bit of love and attention we can possibly give her.

I do worry about her not having any siblings — from one viewpoint — because we are in mid to late-40s, I worry that she will have less of her life with us in it and that when we are gone, she will be alone (although this is technically not true since my sister has 3 children, the youngest being a girl only 2 years older than ours and we are a very close family). But 5 IFVs took their huge toll on us financially and on me physically and trying that again is just not in our future.

If only it hadn’t taken me until 40 to meet the man who would be my partner and the father of my children …

C.M. on

I’ve got two half-siblings who are rather close in age given what many (not all) half-siblings tend to be. However, they live a few hours away, the opputunity to see each other only arises a few times a year, if that, and none of us are old enough to travel on our own. So, I’ve been living the life of an only child, and I’ve found it’s been neither a good thing nor a bad thing.

I’ve always longed to have the kind of relationship that my brother and sister have, a playmate when I was younger and a companion. Someone to do things with, someone to “kill” the lonliness when everyone else is busy, that sort of thing. Basically someone to share my life and grow old with, as both a sibling and a friend (best, if we’d be lucky enough).

On the other hand, by living the life of an only child it’s eliminated all possibilities of the issues siblings can face, after all, I have no way of knowing if this sibling and I would even be relatively close. As well, as said, this lifestyle certainly has encouraged me to use my imagination and be creative, resulting in my being a very creative person in all aspects. Something I’ll forever be grateful for, as my creativity has shaped a huge part of who I am, just as much as living the life of an only child has.

I believe this whole sibling issue varies person-to-person, what doesn’t work for me may work for another person and vice versa. I think it all comes down to whatever feels right and works right in each individual situation. 🙂

Brittany on

I come from a pretty giant family (as in uncles, aunts and cousins). Even my nuclear family is big! I grew up for 13 years in a household of 5 (mom, dad, brother and sister) and them boom! another baby sister. So I know for sure what is like to be in a family that has a ‘soccer mom’ ride, that buys every week food for a football team, that there is not a single moment in the house quiet or that there is privacy. I always wondered what it would be like being an only child, but the truth is I can’t, because I’ve been always surrounded by people.

I think it would be cool for your daughter to have a sibling. I believe some values like sharing, ‘team work’, comraderie, etc. you just can learn by living it first-hand, in a daily basis. She’d be delighted to have someone whose’ve got her back (even when its mom-children fights. She’d have someone to talk at the end of the day who is not going to go nuts for skipping curfew.

But as you mention, if IVF is such a wearing, tiring process, and you don’t want to have as many babies, adoption could be a fantastic idea. You would be giving your daughter and the adopted kid or baby the opportunity of belonging to a family. Imagine that many of the kids in foster homes come from big families, who by misfortune ended up in foster care because their mothers or families couldn’t afford to raise them. Many of them come from big families which ties that are severely damaged. I’m pretty sure that as many of only kids wonder what would it be to have a bigger family, they wonder what would it be to be in a smaller family. I suggest that you consider this option as the answer to all of your what if’s concerning IVF.

Holiday on

I have a great relationship with my sister. We are truly best friends and not just because we are family. She is 3 years younger then me (she is 24) and lives less then a mile away and we see each other almost daily. She is such a good aunt to my kids and loves them to death. She is about to have her first baby soon and I cant wait for her to be a mommy like I am. As kids sure we got into arguments at times but we have always been so close. It was so neat having a built in best friend living with me and when I moved to a new town she moved here too because we really are so close. She is kind, loving, smart and tons of fun and I am so blessed to have my sister. Onlies you swear its a bad thing to have a sibling but it really is sad you do not get to experience that kind of relationship.

Allison on

A lot of the women on here seem to have the experience that having more than one child means your children will get along and have a lovely relationship for life. I want to point out that many siblings do not get along from the beginning and never do. I’d also like to point out that just because two children are siblings does not always mean they will bond in the way you are expecting.

There is a lot of longing in this post (and in the comments) for the idealistic sibling relationship, but be cautious! It does not always turn out that way for whatever reason and it could literally tear your family apart. My little sister is a case in point. We do not speak as adults and she is literally ruining the relationships between everyone in my entire family because of her destructive nature. Do not think having more than one child is all rainbows and sunshine forever.

I’d also like to point out that you seem perfectly content with your family structure right now and repeat it several times throughout your post. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

You also never really mention the thought of the actual child, you mention the potential relationship this child would have with your daughter. You do not discuss your husband’s opinions, nor how you would feel being the mother of two. I’m not sure you really want this child for the right reasons. You seem to be struggling with the idea that you may be denying your daughter some kind of wonderful life by expanding your family. You seem to need reassurance that one can be happy as a single child…but you are proof of it.

Ultimately, it’s a your personal choice, but there is potential for more than just the one outcome you may expect for your family if you decide to have another child. I wish you the best.

Jessica on

I used clomid to conceive my beautiful daughter who is now 4. I breastfed for 14 months and when I stopped we were shocked to learn I had bottom pregnant naturally! Unfortunately that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. We tried and tried to get pregnant again naturally- but it was not working. We started clomid and I got pregnant only to learn that it was am ectopic pregnancy where the embryo implants in the tube. They gave me methotrexate a chemo therapy drug to “pass” the pregnancy- it was a horrible painful experience.

About 6 months later we started trying again and we got pregnant (with the help of clomid again) the drs monitored my blood work and said the pregnancy appeared to be healthy and normal- when I went in for our ultrasound at 6 1/2 weeks they told me it was another ectopic pregnancy and that had internal bleeding and needed surgery to remove the pregnancy. They also had to remove my tube.

I sit here now contemplating our next step. It is so nice to read all the responses to this blog and know that I am not alone.

Katya on

Hello Elisabeth,

I love your blog. I grew up as an only child and wished for a sibling more than anything. Now don’t get me wrong I had lots of friends and a close relationship with my parents but I longed for a sibling.

When I started having kids I knew that I would have 2 kids so that they would always have a sibling. When we had 2 kids it still felt like something was missing. So we had our 3rd. Our kids ages 5, 3 and 5 months are so close. The 2 older ones are best friends and they both adore the baby. Like someone posted above, look around your dinner table… Do you feel like something is missing. Would you like your daughter to have a sibling that you never had? Of course it is harder to have more than one kid but its also so much enjoyment and love to go around.

Good luck with your decision. You will never regret having another one but you might look back and say that you wish you did have one more.

Amanda on

I always wanted more than one child (I have 2 siblings with whom I am very close,; my hubby has 1 sister and a total of 4 step-siblings). I teased my husband when we started trying that the perfect number to me would be 4. He was set on 2.

Then we had trouble conceiving and discovered that our best option was IVF. After 2 rounds of IVF we conceived twins, but lost one very early. The other embryo took and we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Two years later we decided use our frozen embryos and implanted 3. Once again we conceived twins, but only one embryo survived and we got a second baby boy.

Now, I love my boys and wouldn’t trade them for anything, but while my youngest was still a baby I started to feel that yearning to try one more time for a little girl. Either way, I promised my husband that this would be my last round of IVF and I would be thrilled with another baby, boy or girl. He agreed, but my body wasn’t ready this time. Endometryosis had set in. After treatments for that, I went thru my 4th IVF round when my boys were 3 and 9 mos. After a very easy 37-week pregnancy, I delivered twins… a girl and a boy. As soon as I saw them, I knew that my family was now complete.

It’s amazing to see how close the 4 kids are and how well they play together 21-mos later. Yes, it’s a lot of work and I still don’t get enough sleep, but they are so worth it. I can’t imagine life without them and though raising 4 young kids can stressful sometimes, my husband says he will never regret having the twins. They are so loving, ready to give hugs, kisses and big smiles.

A large family may or may not be right for you. That’s for you to decide, but I can’t imagine not having my siblings and I love knowing that my kids will always have each other even after their dad and I are gone.

Lila on

Our stories are so similar.

I was an only child too. Honestly, I loved it! I had tons of friends who were always at the house. I was involved in every activity I wanted, my parents paid for my education and were always there to support me. I am so grateful for all of it. And as an adult I have a circle of close knit friends who are like sisters to me. I don’t feel sad or lonely at all.

We had to do IVF also and have a lovely daughter. She is the funniest, happiest child I have ever seen. We talked about doing IVF again but decided against as we are all happy and content with our family as it is.

Good luck with your decision!

arian on

Love having one.i can focus only on him and give him the life financially that i always wanted to. i got it right the first time and i’m happy. no going back to diapers and sleepless nights, temper tantrums, child care worries. he’s easy travel with now and more independent.

pregnancy was fun but i would never want to put baby weight back on or deal with another episiotomy. all set!

Maria on

I have a 16 month old only child. And I think we are going to just stick with the one child- I am 38. I think growing up an only with a single parent is different than an only with two parents. I don’t know that I could handle another child!! It is so much work. I love love love being my son’s mom- but I know that if we had another it would be a lot harder- I like my down time and so does my husband.

Anyway- I also get the baby urge- but I imagine I would get that even if I had another or many! I want to keep life simple as life is already so complicated- some people like to be busy but I prefer to have lots of relaxation if I can! So one it is for us. Maybe when my son is older and in school I will feel differently.

C.Velez on

Dear Elisabeth, As a mother to a 7 year old and a 2 year old (both girls) I can say that having my second child was the best thing we could have ever done for our family dynamic.

Like you, life was simple and organized and felt almost too easy with just one child and so we didn’t think about having baby number two. It wasn’t until we saw how lonely she was after we would leave family functions where her cousins all had siblings that we knew what was missing.

We finally decided to do it when our oldest was 4 and her sister came 6 weeks before her 5th birthday. They are now 7 & 2 and its pandemonium in our home but we wouldn’t have it any other way. So Go For It!!!! Enjoy them while you can because it goes by so quickly.

Kris on

I haven’t read the other comments, so I’m sorry if this point has already been made; but my brother & I are 11 months apart & we hate each other. No, really. We had a massive falling out last spring & no longer speak to each other; and the year without his negative presence has been one of the best years of my life.

He was not the storybook big brother who stood up for his little sister. Oh, no. He was the jerk who told his bully friends which buttons to push to make me cry the fastest. He is still the jerk who points out my flaws in front of everyone, including our own small children, then accuses me of ruining our family gatherings when I “forget myself” & dare to stand up to him. Sharing a bloodline is NOT a guarantee that your children will live in harmony & adoration of each other.

Don’t have another child because you think Easton needs a sibling. She doesn’t. That decision should be made by you & your partner after very careful consideration. I don’t mean to sound bitchy, but a baby isn’t a puppy you can bring back to the pound if it’s not a good fit for your family.

Just take care & proceed with caution, okay? You & Ron need to do what’s best for your family, not just for the 9 months that you’re longing to be pregnant. If you look in your heart & decide to try for another child, I wish you nothing but happiness and joy. But don’t do it because you think you “have to”.

stephanie on

Hi- I have currently pregnant with my fifth child. And am blessed and grateful with the opportunity to carry children. Is adoption something if IVF didn’t work, you would consider? I always knew that if God didn’t allow me to carry in my womb, I would adopt children that I carried in my heart. I think kids are gifts and another child would be a gift to you and your family.

Anonymous on

I LOVE being an only child! As a child, my parents told me I never asked for a sibling. They did try for awhile, although, they were not successful. I have a huge family of aunts, uncles and cousins and I am very very close with them. My best friend is my cousin who is just like a sister to me. We always said we have the best relationship because we don’t live together but are like sisters.

I was able to get all the love and everything from my parents because I was the only child. I am so thankful that they only had me even at the age I am at in my 30’s. I see the struggle my parents each have with their siblings and realize there is no guarentee with your siblings. People say have a sibling so your child has a life long friend and helper……you never know that will be true. If you want children you have them for YOU, but not for your children.

Holiday, it is not sad not having a sibling. You don’t know what is like to never have one to begin with, so don’t say that it is sad for me to not have one. Don’t speak of something you have never experienced.

Lila on

Kris, I have the same kind of non-relationship with my brother. He has contributed nothing positive to my life. I know some people are very close with siblings, and some are not. You just don’t know.

We only have one child and aren’t planning on more. Our daughter is very happy and well rounded. She is very social and has a full calendar! Several of her friends are onlies themselves. We have discussed her only status with her and she does not want a sibling. She has told me that she likes being our only one!

I agree that having another child should be based on your desire to parent another child, not over whether or not you feel you child needs a built in playmate. Neither is a bad choice in the end and as long as you give your child a loving home she will be fine.

annie on

I just want to chime in for those of us who have wonderful, close, loving, and supportive relationships with our siblings. I am one of eight and my brothers (3) and sisters (4) are my best friends, biggest supporters and fiercest defenders. Sure, our relationships have waxed and waned over the years but I wouldn’t give up one moment with any of them. Of course, you can’t guarantee that any siblings will be close or get along but don’t doubt that they will. And if they do, I firmly believe that there is no greater gift that you can give your child.

Katie on

I grew up the youngest in a family of nine, the closest in age to me being 13 years older. I enjoyed a lot more attention than I would have otherwise had and definitely was a more creative child, but I was lonely. Friends cannot take the place of siblings.

We had our second child last Christmas, something I looked forward to with dread. 🙂 I’d always wanted a lot of children but once we had our first I panicked about taking the attention away from him. We decided to try again anyway, but I fretted my entire pregnancy–it was horribly depressing. Once he was born, though, my worries disappeared. Now the boys are chasing each other around and fighting–already, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

Christine on

I am a single mother to a 9 year old girl. I love only having one child and before I had her, I always thought I would have and wanted to have 2 or 3 kids. I have absolutely no regrets though! I love the one-on-one time we get together and she does too! As for siblings – just because you have them doesnt mean you will enjoy them and get along. My sister and I ALWAYS fought growing up, and we have not even spoken to each other in almost 3 years!

Claudia on

Hi elisabeth, hope grandma is not reading this one, but i love seeing the two boys i watch play, joke around and even argue with each other!!! It is so much fun to see them together, the love they have for each other is great!! And to know that they always have each other most really make their moms heart fill with joy!! I had two younger sisters growing up and love all the memories we have together aswell, so i would go for it!!

Connie on

I am still fairly young, but i had issues during my pregnancy with my son so I completley understand the hesitance to go through IVF’s again. My son is about to turn 7 and I want another baby more than anything. i am terified of the pregnancy though. I do want to try and have another baby, but i am waiting on the financials to be there.

On the other side, I have a full brother, half sister, and 2 step brothers and a step sister. My full brother and I do not get along at all. We are about a year and a half a part. However, I absolutley adore the younger siblings. The youngest is 10 ans she is a doll. both of my step brothers are super sweet ans smart. They are 19 and 13. I do not know my step sister. As you can see, not all sibling relationships work, but you will never know unless you try.

I think it would be wonderful for you do expand your family, but do it because you want it more than anything in the world. Don’t do it because you want Easton to have a sibling. Everything happens for a reason and God never gives you more than you can handle.

Good luck!

em on

One point I would make for only children or big families – it is not always just the sibling or the sibling relationship to blame. I have to argue that some of the time, it is the way the parents foster the sibling relationship. For my mom, the relationship my sister and I have is a huge priority for her. She taught us how to treat each other. An only child can be a generous, thoughtful, caring person, and children with one or more siblings can be the same. How children behave is largely what is modeled for them.

Elisabeth – sounds like you had a great model with your mother. If you decide to forgo more IVF, Easton will likely follow in your footsteps.

Lora on

As an only child who is currently in the eighth month of a difficult pregnancy, I know exactly where you’re coming from.

I loved the undivided attention, the solitude, the quiet time to imagine that came with being an only. But the pressure and isolation exist alongside those perks and, ultimately, I don’t want my little girl to be an only. A sibling is a witness to your childhood, who remembers you as you were becoming yourself. I want that for her.

Although this pregnancy is likely to be my only one due to health complications, I’ve always wanted to adopt so that is probably on our agenda in the next few years.

Erin T. on

Well, I’m an only child pregnant with my first child after nearly 2 years of fertility treatments. Growing up, I remember occasionally wishing for a ‘built-in playmate’ that I saw so many of my friends have, but I knew very early on how special my relationship was with my parents. It was so different than any of my friends who had larger families. I totally agree with the ‘3 Musketeer’ comments and thankfully, we still share that bond today.

Only children are (usually) much more driven, independent and free thinking…My husband is the oldest of 3 and can’t imagine life with just one child in the house. So, I imagine that we’ll definitely be crossing this same bridge that you are sometime down the road…

I will say that my biggest fear has ALWAYS been how I would handle something happening to them- being left alone in this world as the only one who feels that intense grief. Of course I’d have the support of my husband, etc., but it wouldn’t be the same as a sibling as he doesn’t share the same bond with them. While I don’t feel that this alone is reason enough not to have an only child, I definitely think it’s something to really be considered during the process.

Best of luck!

The Fertile Garden on

Go for it! If you dont, you might regret it! We have twins after much fertility issues and having two little girls that cabe playmates is the best! Wishing you the best of luck inn whatever you decide!!

brittany on

I love how people who came from “3” want 3 and think everyone should want lots of kids. It sounds like from Elisabeth’s blog that she’s more worried about making her daughter’s life “perfect” then actually wanting another child. She should wait until she has that burning desire to have another baby, and if that doesn’t come, then it wasn’t right.

Her daughter will be perfectly happy as an only child, she has loving parents and all that she needs. When she grows up she will pick her “sisters” or “brothers” by way of close friends.

Mary on


It is a pleasure to read your blogs-you are a wonderful writer, who shares from the heart. Clearly, you are also a loving and thoughtful mom. I work in the fertility field, and I can tell you, you were blessed that IVF worked, and if you don’t have any frozen embryos to try again with, I would say DO NOT DO IT! IVF is not a guarantee of pregnancy, and all those drugs and shots that you must endure are not natural, in the long run, they are an unknown risk to the body.

You did not have multiples, you had a beautiful, healthy baby girl-that is a perfect outcome. It doesn’t always work that way-people don’t understand that it is not all rosy. It costs a lot of money, and you go through an emotional roller coaster. I say count your blessings, and move forward in your life. Easton will thrive, as she is now, and you will feel just as fulfilled taking care of her, as you would taking care of three. Baby fever, no matter how many children you have, is a biological thing, and it happens to most women. It also lessens over time, as you move forward in your life, and your child grows. Truth be told, the older you get, the older your child gets, the harder all of it gets in some ways!

I always want to say to the patients who spend all their investements on fertility-financial, emotional and time-wise, that they could adopt a child who is already here, ready and waiting for a parents to give them a loving home. It is not how you become a mom or dad that matters, or how many times over you experience it-it is how you share your heart that is most important. Thanks for being so honest in your quest for knowledge and understanding. Much happiness to you and your family!

Iris W. on

Hi Elisabeth: I really appreciated your thoughtful post. Obviously all the comments show you have touched an area that many of us think about.

I hear frequently from my 11 year old daughter conceived through an egg donor that she wishes she had a sibling. She really wants a puppy and uses the only child argument as the main reason saying she misses the lack of companionship of siblings.

I was 45 when I had her and there was no option for additional infertility treatment or adoption. I admit to feeling lots of guilt that I can’t offer her the sibling she asks for. I believe the emotional pain around being an only child she expresses is genuine.

I also know that just because more than 1 sibling exists doesn’t guarantee that they will bond and get along. I have know both the pain of failed infertility treatment and the joy of holding my new baby in my arms just as you have.

I do know that the decision to have another child is a deeply personal one. Follow your heart and your gut, decide what “the right reasons for having a child” are for you and your fiance, and go from there. Wishing you the best of luck whatever direction you take.

Jennifer on

I have two points of view–I’m an only child, and my kids are 4+ years apart.

First as an only child, let me assure you that I was never lonely, and in fact developed a stronger loyalty to my friends because those relationships had such an important place. Not that others with siblings don’t value their frinedships as much, but when you don’t have that familial connection friends become that close.

Second, as a mom to a 19 year old and 15 year old, the decision to have another was one my husband and I didn’t take lightly. We both agreed people shouldn’t have multiple kids for their current child to have a friend, and we loved our little three person unit we had. Our daughter was all we wanted to love at the time, but then I felt that I wanted to experience another pregnancy, and share our family with another one to love.

Two is enough, perfect for our lifestyle(camping, biking, hiking water sports etc), and as we’ve learned for vacationing lots of pkgs are made for 4 or less:) Plus having the 4 year space means that both kids had a lot of attention when they were young. Good luck with your decision!

Merrilyn on

I didn’t read all the other comments, so I apologize if this issue has been covered already. Giving your daughter the gift (and I believe it is truly a gift to them) of a sibling is not the easiest decision to make, but I think it will pay rich dividends to all of you in the end.

Speaking as someone who is starting to deal with retired parents with health issues, I am so glad I have my sister to help and be an emotional support with all of it. My husband is an only child, and it is going to be very tough for him to go through it essentially alone. Obviously, I will be there for him, but it’s just not the same as having a sibling to share it with.

Christi on

Well, I in a way have done both. In my early twenties I had 2 children 2.5 years apart. Then in the late 90’s after a divorce, I remarried and had a third child. So there is a 10 yr difference between my 2nd & 3rd child. My first 2 children have graduated college and we only have the one at home now and he is 12.

If I had to do it over again, I would have had another child after him if possible. There have been so many times with our traveling and so forth that he has been lonely for same age companionship and we find ourselves as his sole source of entertainment. This is fun to a point. Yes, it is easier to just take care of one in my opinion, but I’m convinced he would have been a little happier had he had a “companion”.

Sleeping alone has been a big deal too. Because he was the baby, we allowed him in our bed for too long and man did we ever pay later! Of course, everyone is not able to have additional children and I am not saying that I think your child would be unstable or anything like that if she was an only child. Just sharing my experience with it all.

Best Wishes on your endeavors whatever you choose!

Becca on

I am the 5th of 6 kids, and I often wonder what would have happened if my mom had decided she just wanted to stop at 1 or 2 kids. I am studying to be a nurse, so therefore “contributing” to society (which answers the environmentalists who are so concerned about overpopulation). All 6 of us are happy & healthy…3 of us have graduated from college and hold jobs, and the youngest 3 are still going to college.

We had our spats growing up, sure, and we still do, but we all love each other. I especially love my 3 sisters. I would not trade my relationship with them for anything. Friends can be disloyal and betray you, but your sisters are always there for you. My little sister is 21 mos. younger than me, and we have the relationship of Jane & Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice. I love her SO incredibly much and would willingly give up my life for her.

That being said, I understand how some siblings aren’t close at all. That always saddens me because you have a shared bond, that closeness. You’ve gone through life together and share the same parents, for goodness’ sake!

It is up to you, of course, on what is right for your family, but I’ve just seen so many people saying how having just 1 is the way to go, and I had to input for siblings! Siblings will always have memories of disastrous vacations, family reunions where you only know each other, partying together, laughing together, bad meals that Mom cooked, school events and more. If you raise your kids right: to love, be generous & kind, they should be fine and get along great. It worked for my family–we have wonderful parents who were great examples of that!

Carrie on

I have one child, a beautiful, special little girl who is 5 years old. I have been told that I cannot have any more children for medical reasons, and at first I was devastated. I thought that my daughter would miss out on having a sibling. But in dealing with the reality of the situation, my husband and I are so lucky to have such a sweet girl, and we can devote all of our resources and attention to her. She makes friends very easily so I feel certain that she won’t feel lonely as she grows up. We revel in the joy of having her and not the disappointment of not having another child.

Marie on

Hey Elisabeth,

I’d say go for it!!!!I cant tell you how difficult my life would be without having a sister around. The great thing is you always have them to go to if for some reason relationships and friendships dont work out, siblings are for life! I mean my sister and I are close but have completely different personalities so dont have much in common in the way of interests and she lives 1000 miles away however I have an annual week with her once a year where it is really all about our bond as siblings.

J on

I think it really depends on the family decision. I have 1 sister she is 2 years and 1 day younger then me. We fought as kids but we were also kids. My mother was an only child and she always wanted to have at least 2 kids.

Sometimes I always wished that I had more sibings, and other times I am glad that I did not. I got to do so many things, (camp, teen tour, college (that my rents were able to pay for) if I had more sibings that could never had happen.

J on

I want to add this, I have a good friend who is an only child. Their is a long line of medical issues in her dad’s side of the family. Her parents split when she was a kid, and they do get along and her mother has told her that if something happens to her father, she WILL help her make a decision about what to do. Her mother feels bad that it will be on her shoulders.

CT on

I have two different point of views on this subject. I have an only child. My daughter never wanted a sibling. She was content to have mommy and daddy all to herself and we were fine with that. Now that she is 18 and I am 43, I can’t believe I’m having baby fever again. It’s pretty much impossible because my husband has had a vasectomy.

On the other hand I was the youngest of four with a very close family. When my dad passed away I was so glad I had my siblings for support. Now that my mom is older we take turns taking care of her. My biggest fear is that if one of us passes away, who will she have to know exactly what she is going through and grieve with. Of course, the other parent does not want to be a burden to her. When we are both gone, she no longer will have immediate family. Just some things to consider.

Mary on

Yes,indeed, Elisabeth, one is the “loneliest number”. Every child needs a child to “bounce their life off of”. By what other means,day to day, will any child understand that they are NOT the center of the universe. Yes there is school and play dates and all of that “exterior” connection a parent can insert into a child’s life. But NOTHING compares to sharing your life with a sib who is there day after day. Please give serious consideration to allowing your daughter to share her life with a life long friend.

H on

Hi Elisabeth – I have never posted a comment on a blog before, but your blog really touched me. It is beautifully written and I can so relate to it as I (similar to several other women who posted comments) am going through the exact same thing.

I have a beautiful, perfect 16 month old son who is the light of my life – my husband and I feel incredibly blessed. We also had a hard time getting pregnant. After 5 years of trying, 3 IUI treatments and 2 IVF treatments, we conceived him. We have two frozen embryos and are now contemplating what to do. As a mom who works full time at a pretty demanding job, I feel like I can barely handle managing our lives right now, let alone adding another child to the picture. But I too struggle with the idea of my son being an only child – both my husband and I have a few siblings each. I am also older – past 40 – so that also adds an additional wrinkle.

I am really struggling with this decision, especially since we have two frozen embryos – I often think we should just try it and see what happens, but if I was to get pregnant with twins I am not sure what I would do – and then I worry that I could be pressing my luck…what if our next child was not as healthy as our son? So – in the meantime, we continue to pay the annual storage fee for our embryos….but we have to make a decision soon.

Best of luck to you! Whatever decision you make (and I make) will be the right ones for our families!

Heidi Fischer on

Well, only Elisabeth and her partner can truly decide if expanding their little family is the right step for them. But if they do go forward with another child, I can tell her from experience that a 4 year age difference worked out perfectly for us. Many of my friends were having their children 2 years apart while we decided to take our time and give our first undivided attention before she had to share us with a baby. So glad we did that as our daughter was 4 yrs and 3 months when our son was born, and they have had this incredible bond since he was in my tummy and “big sissy” talked to him all day long!

She is now 23 and still tries to mother her “lil bro”, but it is incredible to see how much they do love each other, and now Alyssa is actually mentoring Gregory through college as she recently graduated herself. The “little mother” did pick him up the first day home from the hospital (he weighed almost 9 pounds!) while my back was turned and was walking him around the living room over her tiny shoulder. Precious, tho a little scary at the time, lol! So don’t let people tell you that Easton is “too old” now to enjoy a new baby because she will be in Heaven holding that new lil one, if that is the decision!

stacybuckeye on

I am an only child and so is my husband. And our son will most likely be an only. Maybe if we’d had him earlier we would consider another, but we are both ok with only one. We turned out all right 🙂

And I know what you mean about going to a restaurant with a book! Before baby I did it it often.

Julie on

Elisabeth I would say if I didnt have my sister to help share in the burden of caring for our ageing mother I would go nuts! My mother is 72 and has dementia. So she lives in a nursing home. I am 29 and baby sis is 27 and we take mum out for weekly visits etc as we live close to the home. I am comforted by the fact she is in a good home and is taken good care of but its great having my sister to share this difficult burden with as our dad split years ago.

Mia on

My older brother + I are 6 years apart–and we were always very close when we were little + growing up-when he went off to college I was starting my teenage-years–so for a while as I was older/my brother moved out-it was like “being an only child”–however, I can’t imagine growing-up completely by myself (only)-and not having my brother around.

Brenda on

Have you considered adoption?

Jen on

I grew up an only child until the age of 14 when my mom got pregnant. I will mention it was not a planned pregnancy, she was on birth control and it did not work.

Now I’m 28 and my sister is 14 and I can honestly say we obviously have nothing in common. I love her of course but I would have been happy remaining an only child.

I love my alone time, have loads of friends, and when I was 14 and she was born she was more of a nuisance to me than anything. My mom used me as a live in babysitter and I resented that a lot.

Before planning on getting pregnant my husband and I always said we wanted 2 kids. After having one child we quickly realized that having 2 is just not for us. Emotionally we know we cannot handle 2, financially it would be irresponsible of us, and we are for sure not having another just so that she won’t be lonely.

Also, having another child does not guarantee they will be the best of friends. My mom and her brother don’t speak at all.

As for when we are no longer here, sure it’ll be a trying time but I just witnessed my friend go through losing her mom and she is an only. Between her husbands support and all our friends she had more help and support than she would have ever had with just a sibling.

Plus, I don’t want my daughter to have the “burden” of caring for us in our old age. We have plans in place should we live to our old age so that we are taken care of by a home specializing in elderly care. I did not have a child just so I have a built in caregiver. That would be extremely unfair to her.

What I know in my heart is that you don’t have another unless YOU really want to. There should be no other reasons because that leaves room for regretting your decision and I know that I would. People say you’ll never regret having another, I disagree.

In the end it’s obviously a very personal choice, I think both decisions should be respected because I don’t think there is a right and wrong in this situation. People are going to go by their own experiences.

m on

If you want another child because you want to love, nurture, teach, and raise a human being–go for it. If you think you need to have another child just because or just for your daughter.

Everyone I know seems to enjoy how they grew up. My mom was an only child and loved it, had no ill effects or desire for siblings. My husband is one of seven and loved the constant, crazy party.

If the parents have the emotional resources to love and care for their children, they will likely have happy children no matter the number.

For the record, I’m pregnant with number four. As a stay at home mom living twenty minutes from my parents, I don’t worry about any of my children feeling neglected or not getting enough attention! Between my husband and myself and my parents, they are all smothered with love and guidance constantly!

Ms Jordan on

I am the mother of an only son who I became unexpectedly pregnant with at 29 in a relationship. My birth control method failed. Oops! My son’s father hit the bricks when I told him of the pregnancy leaving me as a single mother.

My son frequently wished for a sibling until about seven when we moved. On that street he was the ONLY only child. Once my son became playmates to the children of the other 4 families on our street and witnessed their sibling fights and arguments (daily) he one day came to me and said, “Mama please don’t have any more kids. I don’t want a brother or sister because you and I have a happy family and I don’t want that messed up.”

I too often had baby fever at times but got my “baby fix” by holding other mother’s newborns, then giving them back after having formula hurled upon me. THAT always reminded me how the first year was often so messy, sleep deprived and difficult.

It also made me think how a new baby would take away what I was able to give to my son emotionally, mentally and physically and how a second baby would drastically change our family life and structure.

My son had strong friendships with 2 brothers on our street who he thought of as “his brothers,” but ones he could leave when they began arguing. They are still my son’s friends many years later at his current age of 29 and the 2 brothers still go at it as adult brothers.

My experience is an only child is not a lonely child but is happy being a single one and only child in a loving happy family. Just be sure to encourage childhood friendships.

My best to you Elisabeth for whatever you decide.

alicejane on

I grew up with 5 siblings, that’s including my dad’s two children from his first marriage. They are/were (my brother passed away 5 years ago) 17 and 15 years older than me and lived in a different province, so I wasn’t close to them. As for my other 3 older siblings, I am very close with my brother (7 years older) and my sister (2 years older). I do talk to my other brother (4 years older) sort of regularly but we don’t have that close bond I have with my sister and brother, and for reasons I’ve never understood, he’s not that close with them either. We all try but he is completely his own person doing his own thing.

So like other posters have said, no, there’s no guarantee that siblings will be close, but there’s also a great chance that they WILL be and it’s wonderful when they are. I have nothing but love and respect for all my siblings and it’s just comforting (to me) to have that family out there.

Growing up in a big family, it has never even occurred to me to only have one child, I hope to have 3 or 4, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it and see what happens. I have a good friend who was an only child and even now, at 25, if I bring up my siblings she will say she wishes she had had siblings. I also know only children who are perfectly content with their family situations.

There is no perfect solution, different things work for different families. A family with one child can be complete and a family with 6 kids can be complete.

No matter what you decide, you have a beautiful family Elisabeth and I look forward to hearing your updates!

Sara on

I am an only child and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had a sibling. I didn’t feel that way as a child, but as I grew old and had my own child and faced all of life’s hurdles, I wished I had a brother or sister alongside me who I could rely on no matter what. We will be trying for baby no. 2 shortly.

Silly Silly on

I have a sister, 2 half sisters and a whole truckload of step-sisters. We had a wonderful childhhod with all of us together during the summers. The decision is yours, but the “wish I hads” will always haunt you. Be sure you are at peace with whatever you decide.

Hayley on

As an only child myself, I’m 24 and I have loved every second of it. I’m super close with my parents and we’ve had a great life together. I have never longed for a sibling, never felt lonely, and definitely never resented my parents for it! The exact opposite – I’m so happy with our tight threesome family.

Like others have posted, I feel like the three of us are a team. My mum has 3 sisters and my dad has a brother and they are not close at all with their siblings. Never have been. My friends who have siblings have often told me over the years how envious they are of me. Plus quite a number of my friends are only children too.

The whole only children being lonely and resentful argument in my experience is one huge myth. People tried to guilt my parents into believing that back in the 80s and I can report they were wrong. I have loved my life with them and wouldn’t have had it any other way. If I ever have a child, I’ll just be having the one. One is by no means the loneliest number.

Susan on

I have two children: a wonderful daughter that is 29 years old with two boys of her own, and a gorgeous son that is 20 years old and is years off from having children of his own…he tells me.

I am the oldest of three children [well 4 actually, the baby girl 15-months after me was stillborn at birth…alive the day before but dead within that 24 hrs.]. I am 50, my sister is 45 and my brother is 44. They each have two children. All three of us had a daughter first and then a son. Mine are from different fathers, as are my sisters, which probably accounts for the age differences: 9 yrs between my two and 8 yrs between my sister’s two. My brother’s kids are 21 months apart.

We’ve lost both parents now…my father died in 1990 at 56 yrs old and my mom died last year at 82. My brother and I do not have a great relationship. My sister and I are not close either. I think an odd number of kids causes problems: it was always one against two. Either my sister and I ganged up against my brother or the two of them against me…that was the USUAL scenario!

My kids are super close. It was just the three of us as I’ve never married and with the age difference they both got a large amount of undivided attention. They both have another sibling from their fathers but are not close with them. I tell the kids all the time that when I am gone, they will only have each other so to keep their relationship close!

I think there are people that can make the argument for only children or big families or anywhere in between. Only YOU know what is best for you. If Easton wants a baby brother or sister and you really want a baby then I’d say go for it or you’ll regret it later. If the IVF treatments do not work, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be. There’s always the adoption route.

In my opinion, I think you’ll know when the time is right. It’ll just feel right and you will know exactly what to do. Just listen to your body and your heart. A baby brought into this world out of love is a beautiful thing! You already know that…she is probably laying near you as you read this!

Amber on

I grew up just like you, an only child with a single mother. While I absolutely love the relationship my mother and I have as a result it does feel a little lonely just being a family of 2.

I agree with some of the other commenters, don’t have another baby for Easton, have another baby for you and you partner, have one because your family feels like it isn’t whole yet, like someone is missing. I always knew that I wanted more than 1 child, for a lot of the reasons you listed, and before I had kids it was all just talk and pros/cons.

After having my son, I knew I wanted more, I needed more children. I now have 2 boys who are only 16 months apart, the youngest will be 1 this week, and I have full blown baby fever already, despite the fact that they are a handful, and my second son has been a much more demanding baby, it doesn’t matter. I just know in my gut that I’m not finished, and if you aren’t sure yet then wait until you are. If it takes you longer to decide, theres always ways to have a baby (IVF, surrogacy, adoption) but if you jump in now you can’t take it back or undo it, so just be sure.

Good luck with whatever your family decides 🙂

Kala on

I’m an only child & at 23 I DO wish I had siblings. I am an only child to a single mother (just married for the 1st time in July at 44) and I totally understand what Elisabeth means by the 3 of them being “familiar” to her own upbringing. It was always my mom and me. I was constantly babysat by my grandparents or babysitters while she worked full time. I experienced anxiety at a very young age maybe 5 yrs old.

Unlike what Elisabeth said about having such independence and she can read a book alone in a restaurant I couldn’t do. I didn’t take the “single child experience” like she did. I had anxiety that something would happen to my mom and I’d be alone. I worried about my mom and where she was constantly in the back of my mind while with friends at school and especially when it got late at night.

I think having a sibling would have help me because I would have a playmate, someone who will protect me and me to them, someone who can share memories with me about us growing up. I use to cry to my mom that I wanted a sibling but of course now looking back, she was in no position to have a 2nd child and she would have felt guilty bringing a second child in the world when she couldn’t afford a first.

When my mom passes, I will be the only one. I won’t have a brother’s shoulder to cry on or comforting sleepovers with my sister. I always had to play alone so my imagination was very vivid and detailed (still to this day! which helps with story books I love to write). My mom was the most amazing, strong, brave, kind, and loving mother. I am appreciative of everything she sacrificed for my life since she was 20 yrs old.

Elisabeth, no matter what, just be an amazing, attentive, protective, nurturing mother to Easton and she will love and respect you no matter if she is an only child or not.

-Kala J

B on

This is to K…as an only child (now 28) I do not resent my parents for only having me (my parents are together still). However, I do wonder what it would be like to have someone that knows your family, your life, your experiences, in a similar way that you do.

My parents loved and took care of me. There is nothing to resent. I can’t change the fact I am an only child, so I surround myself with friends that I love dearly. However, I believe being an only child made me more independent, and mature quickly. You don’t have someone in your household to communicate with on a child level- just adults.

Just follow your heart and make the right decision for your family.

SarahJane on

Speaking as an only child, I wish, now that I’m a grown up, I had siblings. It didnt really affect me growing up. Once I reached HS I wished occasionally I had sibling, but it didnt hit hard until college. I look back on my life and see how a sibling could have made me a better more open individual. I watch my friends and their siblings, I watch when my cousins get together, and long for that dynamic. I miss something I’ve never even had.

I think that if you’re good being alone it’s in your personality, not in growing up with siblings or not. I have a good friend who is an only who can barely be alone. It’s not in his nature.

I’ve said for a long time I wouldnt have one unless I could have 2, and I still feel that way. To each their own, and I understand that the turmoil of IVF could be a deterrant, but I would trade my only child status for siblings any day.

Anne on

I’m in a similar situation. My daughter will be 3 in the fall and I have been struggling with whether we should have another child or not. I’m 40 so I have to make up my mind soon!

I also have a step daughter (20) and a stepson (17), so my daughter isn’t exactly an only child. However, as her brother and sister begin their own independent lives, who’s going to sit in the back seat of the car with her on road trips? I have a cousin who is an only child, and her mother always asked my sister, who was the same age, to go along with them. They had fun, but it that the same as having a sibling along for the ride?

If I could snap my fingers and have another child right now, I probably would. I guess I just don’t want to go through the worry of trying to get pregnant, waiting for the outcome of the amnio test, recovering from the birth and so on. But then again, I did it once and I would do it again for my daughter…so she has someone little to share her childhood with. Maybe I’ve just answered my own question… 🙂

Holiday on

Anne all women go through what you are talking about during a pregnancy (not the amnio though) and we all make it!

Jen on

Have you considered adoption? That way, you don’t have to undergo IVF again. Rather than put so much effort into creating a new life, consider the children that are already here and in need of a loving home! I can certainly understand wanting another biological child; just a thought.

blessedwithboys on

Don’t want twins or triplets? Then don’t transfer more than one embryo. Simple as that!

Giving Easton a sibling doesn’t ensure she will have help dealing with her parents in their old age. I have two sisters and I still did everything alone.

But think of this…you will NEVER regret having your second child, but if you wait too long and become too old to do it safely, you will ALWAYS regret not going for it!

Anita on

We had to try 91 months to get our son – ultimately, IVF did the trick (we were given such slim odds that we never thought it would work, but God was so good to us and gave us a little miracle!) I am 37, and would love to give my son a sibling, but the financial cost would send our family into dangerous territory financially – it’s sad that infertility in someone who is even still well within the normal age for conception (we started trying at 29!) is considered by most insurance the same as an elective surgery like a nose job.

I love my siblings dearly – but because of cost, we will have to explore some other option – as one poster so aptly said, “People who conceive naturally never have to feel like they’re asking for too much [to get pregnant again]”. I remember well the shots, the physical and emotional stress of waiting for test results – being afraid to even breathe for fear that it wouldn’t be real.

If you have the financial resources, and you desire another child, go for it. Most of all, enjoy every day with Easton – she will be fine either way – family isn’t always the people you share genetics with 🙂

mahajanssen on

I am glad to read that I am not the only one here with an only child and I am further relieved to read that I am also not the only one who doesn’t want another one. When my daughter was 2, my husband and I began discussing about having another child. I had had rather bad post-natal health problems but I was ready to take it on again. Like most people, I didn’t want my daughter to be ‘lonely’ and though I have a lousy relationship with my only sibling (younger brother of 6), I was convinced my daughter would be different.

Before I could even begin thinking about conceiving again, I was struck with infections that lasted until she turned 5 1/2 (the culprit was my tonsils which the Dutch doctors regularly dismissed as normal flu’s). By the time I got my tonsils out and fully recuperated, I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted and couldn’t imagine myself having to start from square one again.

In the meantime, I had heard dozens of horror stories about sibling relationships gone wrong and I was afraid that it could happen to my daughter too. I wanted another child for myself but naturally, I wanted the child for my daughter too. On hindsight, perhaps it was a selfish reason to want another child because it was more for my sake than the child’s.

My fragile health was the nail in the coffin and if I fell sick again (I have epilepsy), I’d have a harder time caring for two than with the only one I have now. Maybe I will regret not pursuing a bigger family in the future but all I know that if I want another child, I should have one for all the right reasons, reasons I don’t have at the present time. Best thing I can do is appreciate what I have now and love my already existing child to death and leave the other child for someone else to have.

Chloe on

This article interested me, not from the IVF perspective as such (though whether it might concern me in the future or not I don’t know – maybe. I’m 23 and don’t plan to have children for a while yet.) but because I am an only child.

At the end of the day, like you said, being an only child isn’t a bad thing. It often seems like it is made out to be and people certainly have their stereotypes of only children. The amount of times I have been asked “So are/were you spoiled?” after saying I’m an only child kind of shocks me. What kind of rude question is that? Most of my friends with siblings had far more toys and material items than I did so I was always confused by this as a young child. I always answer I was spoiled in terms of attention if I wanted it but like Elisabeth wrote, I was usually more than happy to play alone.

Sometimes I wanted a sibling, but usually the thought didn’t really enter my mind. It never bothered me but it might bother some children. Maybe you should ask your daughter what she thinks?

Overall, my opinion (and that’s all it is), is that it is a decision you need to make for you (both parents) and not because of an existing child. You are the ones who are really having the baby and will be looking after it. If you want it and are prepared to go through the IVF process, then I would say try. If you decide not, then your family is simply already complete. The hard bit I would imagine is trying to decide which of these you are.

K.W. on

We’ve had five children – four are here with us and one is in heaven. Our oldest is 9 and the youngest 2 1/2 – every single day is complete chaos. I can’t imagine my life being any other way 🙂 The son we lost was our second child, we’ve had three sub babies after his passing – Maybe the pregnancy fears we had after his loss can relate to the infertility / IVF struggle – I knew I was ready to “try again” when the absolute desire / need to have another child out weighed the fear of what may or may not happen. And I completely agree that you don’t regret the children you have – only the ones you don’t.

Lisa on

I’m confused–in her March 10th blog she states “I was very lucky that I only had to attempt IVF twice”, but in this entry she says she got pregnant with her daughter on her first IVF try. I’m not familiar with IVF–is there a first phase you can do twice, but then move on to the pregnant part?

april on

It sounds like you are ready. If doing IVF again worries you, would you consider adoption? That’s a wonderful life-altering experinece of a different kind.

s. on

I am an only child who is an only parent of an only child.

There is nothing lonely about it — being an only child is the greatest (among many) that my parents gave me; I have given my beloved daughter the same gift. She has my complete attention, my whole heart, my forever love. I will show her my strength, my confidence and my independence all of which are because I am an only child who was listened to, loved and cherished.

alysaa on

GO FOR IT!!!….i had my first daughter in AUGUST 2006 and thought there is no way she is being raised as an only child, I have an older brother and i was quite content with that.DECEMBER 2006 i got pregnant again..turns out the girls had the same due date just a year apart,.what are the odds??… my Second daughter arrived SEPT 2007 ( 1 YR 2 WEEKS APART)… my life was perfect..or so i thought….JANUARY 2009..oops!! pregnant again with a boy… now they are almost 5,4,2 and although my house is chaotic and stressful with crayon marks on the walls,spills on the floor, the pink dog we now own thanks to crayola and my 3 yr old…there is no way i could live with just 1 child. I WOULD MISS THE CHAOS!!

emm on

There must be something wrong with me. After I had my daughter I had no desire to have another child. Just dealing with one kid is exhausting enough as it is. Plus I love that I don’t have to divide my time and resources between more than one child. And I agree with Elisabeth, there’s more flexibility and free time with just one (travel is easier and cheaper!). I really love the amount of “me” time I get compared to some of my friends and family who have more than one kid.

But I want to point out one thing I take issue with in this article…having a sibling doesn’t guarantee that your child will not grow up lonely or have someone to lean on when you pass away or become ill. I have several siblings and I was never close to any of them growing up. As an adult, I very rarely talk to them and they’ve only seen my daughter twice in her entire life. When my mother died we did not console each other either. I have a friend in a similiar situation regarding her siblings.

Marky on

Relationships with siblings is a 2-way street, and isn’t always the same every day. My sister and I are 11 months apart, and sometimes we have been extremely close, and sometimes not so much. The thing is, we have a knowledge that the other will always be there even if we are mad at each other. Good times and bad, thick or thin, we are there for each other. I have 2 granddaughters who are several years apart, but they are wonderful sisters who are loving and caring, and as different from each other as can be. If you want another child, try, if you don’t feel that hunger for another child, don’t.

The other reason I chose to have another child is that my “only” hated being an only child from age 2. He begged and begged for a sibling, and his first real memory is the day she came into our family. Because of secondary infertility, she was adopted at age 11 months, and later there was a surprise pregnancy. He loved his siblings dearly and played with them incessantly. My nephew was fine as an only child, though my sister would have loved to have another and couldn’t. The best reason to have a child is if you want one; if I hadn’t wanted one, I would have found another way to be sure he had playmates and close friends, I’m sure.

laila89 on

I don’t have children yet, but I do have a younger brother and sister. And speaking on behalf of the oldest sibling (which Easton would be if she has a brother or sister) I don’t know what I would do without my siblings. I think I’d go crazy without our fights, and laughter, and arguments, and hanging out time. And as children, they were my closest and best friends, and they still are. There is a 2 1/2 year age difference between each of us, which is perfect. And even though that makes a 4 year difference between my brother and I, we still get along so great. I can’t imagine growing up as an only child. And even when I do have kids, and even if I just want to have one, I won’t because I want my child to have a sibling. I think it’s important to have, or at least that’s my opinion based on my experience.

Alia on

I haven’t read all the comments, but related to Pamela who has one child and says it’s a very “Three Musketeers” feeling. I also have only one and the closeness is very special, along with more calmness and less chaos as others have mentioned.

Like others have said, I think you should try to have another child if you and your fiancee WANT to, not because you think Easton will get lonely. I think without siblings, the parent-child relationship is closer, or at least the parent has more time for the kid, so I think parents along with cousins/friends/etc. can make up for siblings up to a point. I know it’s not the same, but you probably understand my point. And when he grows up and loses you both (the parents), he will have probably a signficant other as well as close friends who can help him through. I know many only children who have extremely close friends as the result of not having siblings…friends who are to them, like siblings. So I’m sure he will be fine.

That means the decision should be if you and your sig. other want another child. If so, then go for it! If not, then trust that this is the plan God has for you.

Holiday on

Alia if you have just one kid how the heck would you know how close a mom can feel with her 2 kids. I have them both in my lap, we all hold hands or I hold my young daughter and my son holds her hand. It is sooooo special having 2 kids because your heart gets 2 times as filled with love!!

Christine on

A word of caution regarding your dream of having a sibling/lifelong partner for your daughter: There is no guarantee that she and your second (or third…) child will even get along and have the kind of relationship you imagine for them. I have a sibling (sister) who is 5.5 years younger than me, and we neither speak to nor see each other, not even for holidays.

The reasons we are not close are the age gap and our vastly different personalities. The reason that, as an adult, I have no relationship with her is that my (divorced) parents let her significant emotional needs dominate our family. The experience has scarred me deeply and continues to prevent me from being very close to my parents or other members of our extended family – and I have a harder time forming personal relationships in general.

I am the exception, not the norm, but I just wanted to note that a sibling does not always equate to familial bliss.

stephanie on

The BEST advice I was ever given when we were thinking of having another baby was this …… you will never look back and regret it or wonder “what if” – if you have another baby. But will you look back and regret or wonder “what if” – if you don’t?

AM on

I am an only child too. Very interesting to read Elisabeth’s take and the comments of other only children. Clearly, we are always having to answer the question: weren’t you lonely? The answer for me was NO. Not in the slightest. As someone else pointed out, when it’s all you know, there is nothing to miss. That’s how I often explain it. Yes, I did spend time by myself, but it wasn’t an issue. For example, I read voraciously, and I still do. And I always had lots of friends and activities.

The main caveat I have for current/future parents of only children based on my own experience is that only children can sometimes receive too MUCH attention. I felt tremendous pressure as an academically successful teenager and young adult to live out my parents’ extremely ambitious hopes and dreams as there was no one else to do it. When I chose a different and less prestigious career path than they’d envisioned (yet the right one for me), my parents were disappointed. When I moved across the country, my parents were wounded. And if I remain uncertain about getting married (I am in a happily unmarried heterosexual life partnership), well, you can only imagine. And because there are no other siblings to get married and and have a big wedding and give them some of the things they’d envisioned/expected, it’s a source of guilt I’ll always carry.

So, what I have to say is – if you have only one, please be conscious of this issue and allow your child to become who they’re supposed to be, not your vision of who they’re supposed to be. Please don’t burden that one child with all of your hopes, dreams, expectations and careful blueprints. It’s a lot to take on. That’s really the only negative I can say, and it comes more from my parents having big aspirations for me (and only me) than anything to do with loneliness as a child.

Canada on

Great blog, as always. We have 3… Girl, boy, girl. After my son, my husband wanted to stop, didn’t want to push our luck, let’s be thankful for our healthy boy and girl. I knew we weren’t done. I felt someone missing, someone else needing to join our family. One was blissful, two was blissful, but crazy, three is downright insane, but I love that little girl and can’t imagine my life without her. It must be so hard to go down that ivf road again. Best of luck. You’ll do what’s right for you.

ALR on

I love your blogs, Elisabeth! I feel like you are always writing about something that I am also going through, or thinking I will be going through soon.

I’ve not had to use IVF, but I am contemplating having another child. I currently have 2 boys (27 months and 6 months). I have one brother (15 months younger than me) and I always felt like that wasn’t enough. I wanted a huge family! My husband has 4 younger siblings. We always said we would have 3 or 4 kids. Since my youngest son was born, we are really questionning whether that is still what we want.

I always thought that more kids would mean that everyone was closer. I loved the idea of a big, chaotic family. However, my husband harldy talks to any of his 4 siblings; none of them seem to have anything in common. On the opposite end, my brother and I are extremely close. So the number of kids in a family seems to have no bearing on how well they will get along.

We got really lucky, I feel. My sons seem to adore each other. Two of my friends recently had second babies and say that their oldest children are unhappy with the new additons and they both seem to wish they hadn’t had their seconds when they did.

I’ve now altered my thinking of having another child just so that my sons will have another playmate. If we do decide to have another, it will be because we want another child.

I also wanted to mention that even though I didn’t need IVF to conceive, I still do worry about “pushing my luck”. I miscarried my first ever pregnancy, and though the next two went well, I still sometimes wonder if that was just a fluke. I have 2 beautiful, healthy children and I sometimes catch myself thinking that should be enough, we should just stop while we’re ahead.

I do love the idea of kids having siblings, but I think that there is so much more to consider when thinking of having another child (whether it’s a second, third, or even sixth). Good luck. I hope that you can come to a decision that leaves you feeling happy and at peace.

madylane on

It is such a personal decision that any advice or musing I offer are totally just my thoughts. I am an only child for my mom. I am one of 2 for my dad. My mom and half-sister were very close. I was lucky in that, not ever really living with my sister, we didn’t really have the usual spats and are very, very close friends although about as different as two people can be.

That said, I HATED being an only child of my mom. She was a single mom, my dad bailed when I was one, only saw my sis when we could afford to visit. I so badly wanted another sibling. Then my mom and dad both got sick and passed away within 3 years of each other. While my sister was and is a great shoulder, I honestly wanted nothing more than a sibling raised all the time by my mom as I was so I could say to them- hey remember when Mom said this or did that? That and so many other things that I wanted a sibling around for when I lost her.

My mom chose not to have another child because of finances and not finding a relationship after my dad in which it would have been an option. I have lots of great qualities from being an only child. I, too, can entertain myself for hours, eat alone with a book, etc.

But I have vowed that no matter what – now realize i do not have any kids yet so watch me change my tune, hah!- I WILL have more than one child. Given my genetic history I want them to have each other if I end up passing away early as my parents did. I want them to remember their fights and their adventures together and hopefully love each other even after my honey and I are gone.

Whatever choice you make will be right for you and your family. I wish you the best of luck with whichever decision you make.

BMK on

For me, the struggle was wondering if I could possibley love another child as much as I did my first. You feel so totally bonded to them, you don’t know if there’s room for another little person in there. But then that 2nd one arrives and they don’t have any of those insecurities. You are their family and that’s that. They’re basically like,”Move over, I’m here now. Somebody get me something to eat.” And then you realize that you only THOUGHT your family was complete before they got there. But now that they’re here, it really is.

Lisa on

I am the mother of a (so far) only child. She is a beautiful 3 1/2 year old and she is amazing. I thought that my husband I would be pregnant with our second by now, but financially it is not an option right now.

I am 37 and have no issues with fertility (not yet any way). So I do not think that would be a problem for us. The problem is: money and do we want to have another child? My husband and I work full time and he works different hours than I do, so it is difficult already in that respect.

My sister has a 22 month old son and just had a baby girl 2 weeks ago. I pray that she does not lose her MIND. I wouldn’t be able to do it. I do wonder every day if we are good to go with just one child? She has 3 cousins she is with alot and goes to pre-school. She has lots of friends and is way more outgoing than I ever was. So socially, I am not worried about the “only child selfish” thing.

BUT I do woyry that the clock is a ticking and is this something we can do? Or want to do? One child is alot of work, I can’t imagine two. I never thought I would feel this way, but I am torn. So we will see, time will tell. I think in this economy, there are going to be many single child homes. Probably more than ever, so if she is an only child, there will be many just like her!!

Good luck to you. Lisa

Jodie on

I have 2 girls 4 and 1. We often had the only child discussion but I had always wanted at least 2. At the same time I was terrified because I didn’t know how I would have enough love for another. Our world completely revolved around our oldest daughter and even when I was pregnant with the second I was afraid I wouldn’t be the same for her. Now that I have her there are no words for how much I love her, both of them, and that sisterly bond. Life is more complicated in the early stages but now in a lot of ways its easier and more entertaining. If you want it go for it. Those what if’s will work themselves out.

Susan Newman, Ph.D. on

Check out the book: The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide and you will be able to figure out what is right for you. Or take a look at the Singletons blog on Pyschology Today.com

Sprite on

“Onlies you swear its a bad thing to have a sibling but it really is sad you do not get to experience that kind of relationship.”

Holidays, I feel sad for you since you feel that the only kind of special relationship are ONLY with siblings. It’s sad and kinda ignorant that you don’t see the beauty and specialness of friends, spouses, cousins, aunts, uncles, kids, and parents. You can also have a special relationship with your godsibling, stepsibling, or sibling in laws. Not everyone views siblings as the ONLY special relationship to experience.

Please, don’t be selfish with your love, friendship, or affection.

Sprite on

“I always wondered what it would be like being an only child, but the truth is I can’t, because I’ve been always surrounded by people.”

Brittany, you can be an only child and always be surrounded by people. Siblings are not the only people in the world. Most kids live with at least one parent. And I’m assuming you go to school, where you will be surrounding by people at school. Some only kids might even live with their parents and grandparents or an aunt. On the other hand, you can have siblings and not always be around people.

Also, I’m assuming that when you become an adult, you won’t always live with your siblings or always be surrounding by people. If that’s the case, then people who grow up and don’t live with their siblings are an only child. I guess living with your spouse means you’re not around people. Apparently, only siblings quality as “people” in your opinion.

Sprite on

“Friends can be disloyal and betray you, but your sisters are always there for you. “

And some siblings can be disloyal and betray you (and much worse), but your friends are always there for you.

Some siblings are disloyal, and some friends can be disloyal. On the other hand, some siblings can be very loyal, and some friends can be very loyal as well. I know examples of loyal siblings and loyal friends, and I also know examples of disloyal friends and disloyal siblings. It works both ways.

“Friends cannot take the place of siblings.”

Kate, Sometimes, friends can be better than siblings.

Also, some people are a lot closer to their friends than their siblings, and their friends treat them a lot better than siblings, without all the baggage such as competition, childhood issues, grudges, favoritism, sibling rivalry, and resentment. So, apparently, siblings cannot take the place of friends. Friends can be better than siblings, in a lot of ways.