As my daughter is now very almost two years old, of course people have started to ask the question of whether – or when – I am going to have another one. This mostly comes from people I know as acquaintances at stay and play groups and childrens centres, but nonetheless those who know my personal circumstances do ask if I would like another child as probably more of a hypothetical question.
It’s hard to know how to answer. My heart screams YES!!! But I know that I would be having another child with another father. The potential negative impact this would have on my daughter, just to fill my own heart’s desire, just seems so selfish.
I have always wanted a large family. I have one sister and was estranged from my Aunts, Uncles and cousins during my entire childhood for various reasons. I craved being in a big family with loads of relatives, cousins, aunts and uncles. And I wanted it to be different for my children. At least I knew I didn’t want an only child.
And now here I am, mother to an only child. I know she is not yet two years old, but I am no longer a spring chicken, unfortunately. And the fact that she might grow up without a sibling is starting to make me feel more and more sad. My dream of having a large family of my own floated away a long time ago. But as much as I love the fact we are our own little team against the world, to think of it her being my only child does make me feel sad.
I feel selfish to think of this. As I know I am so truly blessed with my daughter, and every day I am reminded of that. But I cannot help feeling sorry for her. Having no one to play with – constantly having to rely on having friends round for entertainment. Having to grow up fast as she spends so much time in adult company. Never having that shared experience of the family household. I know when my sister is back for Christmas and we both laugh at little things that our parents do, it feels great to just have someone who ‘gets it’. And when I eventually pass away, I know how hard it was for my Mum as an only child dealing with all the financial and legal matters alone, cleaning out the house without a sibling to assist her.
I can’t really afford another child. But then who can? None of us would have children if we sat down and worked out how much it would cost us. I have never been a material person and I am quite used to never having any money for myself, I think once you have a child that goes out the window! But I do worry that if I had another child, would that mean that I couldn’t do the things that I now can with my daughter? Does that even matter balanced against the benefits of having a sibling to share a life with?
A great deal of my friends and family that were pregnant at the same time as me are now pregnant. And again, I know I am wallowing in selfish self pity, it makes me sad, as it brings home the fact that we are not a ‘normal family’ that can be added to without making things extra complicated.
I would love to hear from other single parents out there who have wished to extend their family, and whether you have struggled with the same conflicting emotions.