Four reasons having a single child is good for you

I had two children really quickly. They’re 14 months apart and boy, was it hard. It still is even though they are well out of their babyhood. And sometimes, because both are demanding and sensitive, emotionally, it becomes hard for me to give of myself as much as I feel is adequate or satisfactory.

Now, in this situation, once in a while, when one of my children goes to a sleepover, or is at home sick while the other one goes to school, I discover a whole new side to me — a side that I enjoy immensely. I discover a mother in me that I really like, that I enjoy as much as I enjoy my kid. She’s bright, patient, not anxious, makes decisions based on considered responses and doesn’t parent reactively. She is an ideal mother. And she immediately disappears when there are two children together to parent. So what happened? I don’t know and maybe as I grow as a parent, I will understand why I am a better parent when only one child is around — doesn’t matter which child that is. But there are a few other things I’ve learnt while watching this behaviour of me and if you’ll allow me, I’ll put it down for you.

  1. You have more of yourself to give: It’s all very well to say love is not divided but multiplies. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same thing for patience, tolerance and other resources that you need when you are a parent. Two or more kids means that you are stretched to your very limit, stretched so thin that you could snap. With one kid? You can give ALL of yourself willing and lovingly. This is hugely important in order for you to feel like an effective parent, not just be an effective one.

  2. You have more practical resources available: Two kids (or more) means that much more money for their schools, medical expenses, holidays. And everything is super expensive these days, schools included. So when you have more than one kid, and unless you’re making money by the pot loads, you invariably compromise on the school that you want your child to go through, the vacation you want to take, the expensive thing you want to buy for your child, and consequently, those increased expenses chip away from the other, bigger things you could buy for yourself. It might seem selfish to see it like this but then, tell me, what in life do we not do that is not selfish? A single child means lower expenses and maybe the opportunity to not compromise on the quality of life you want to give her.

  3. Your body is ravaged, once more: Pregnancy and delivery is very hard on a woman’s body — from appearance to actual situations like incontinence, perineal tearing, and lifelong back problems are only some of the things. You put yourself through it once, why would you want to do it again? Take care of your body. Your only role in life is not to be a vessel of reproduction. And it’s perfectly okay to diss the idea that an ideal family is two kids or more. No one else is going to carry your baby and deliver it — unless you go the surrogacy or adoption route — so why let someone else have a say in what you do with your body? Popular culture and society hide the facts about natural delivery and pregnancy well enough for women to continue wanting to give birth. If you’re happy with your one child, don’t feel the pressure to have a second one.

  4. Your only child is not lonely: In fact, an only child is a happy child says research. So why do you want to give her a sibling? Especially when experts have proved that having a second child for the sake of your first one is futile? That only children don’t feel lonely or are not spoilt, as is the popular misconception. In fact, some of the best people I know have all been single children and are far more fulfilled than those friends of mine who had siblings.

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