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Have another baby?

Peepa

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 21, 2007
Messages
352
Please share what in your opinion are pros and cons of having one child vs having one more.

My thoughts...

Only child pro:

1) All the attention from mom and dad
2) All the resources from mom and dad

Only child con:

1) Loneliness?

Siblings pro:

1) Built in playmate

Siblings con:

1) Attention/resources divided
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Only Child:
Pros:
- attention and resources going to one child
- opportunities available due to resources that may not be available to more than one child.

Cons:
- may feel they have missed out by not having siblings - DH and I are each 1/4 and so there are a lot of cousins around, we also live in London so she shouldn't lack for friends but she might be jealous that all the others have siblings.
- no-one to bitch about her parents with!
- no-one to share the memories with once we are gone
- I panic endlessly that something might happen to our daughter, if it did then that would be our life as parents over, I might panic less if there were two (or maybe panic more, who knows!)

I am very torn on this subject and my personal arguements are:

Pro:
- we make nice kids and would be fun to see what the next one is like.
- would be nice for DD to have a sibling
- the other factors mentioned above

Cons:
- we could only afford a big enough house and a 2nd child by making significant changes to our lifestyle. Since we don't exactly buy designer clothes or go on exotic holidays there isn't that much to cut. We live in a very expensive city and moving away or further out would be pretty much impossible.
- the public schools in our area are grim and so if we can we want to be able to afford at least private secondary school education and we could only run to that for one child.
- if we did have another I would wait until DD goes to school in 2014 to get pregnant again - so that if we do have to run to private school fees we won't be paying for two at the same time and because I would want to be able to give the new baby the same kind of attention as I did DD. I would be 42 by then which carries it's own risks.
- By the time I'm 42, I may not want to take the time out of my career to be a parents from moment one again.
- I hated being pregnant.
- I very nearly died having DD and the chances of having a second haemorrhage are vastly increased. DH is worried that I will die and he will be left without me... and holding the baby...

So a gazillion cons, plus I don't have even a touch of baby fever but I also hate the idea of saying that that is it and I'm done...
 

Lanie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,793
I have an interesting perspective since I was a "pleasant surprise" in my family. When I was born, my sister was 12, my brother was 10, and my other brother was 8. My sister got married very young, my middle brother went to a boarding school, and my brother closest to me stayed at home until 18, and then moved to Germany. When they all left the house, I was 10 years old and so so so sad. It was very hard. I would spend car trips in the backseat all alone with my books. My parents were awesome parents, but they were older, so I pretty much entertained myself. I got to see what it was like to have siblings and to be an only child.I would never in a million years have just one child. There are too many good things about having siblings.
 

megumic

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
1,647
I'm one of two and I wish there was a third or a fourth...

DH is one of two and he feels the same way

We plan on having 3 to 5 children.

ETA: financials and attention are not factors that we are willing to consider, so my opinion may count for nothing.
 

stephbolt

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,072
I am one of 3, DH is has 3 much older half siblings, but is his mother's only child. We want more than one child, provided everything works out. Even though my siblings sometimes drove me crazy, I'm so glad to have them.

DH's mother has had some health issues over the last few years and that really highlighted that the burden of care for aging parents is hard for an only child. Even though she is doing better now, she depends on us to travel 200 miles to her house to take care of a lot of home maintenence, and we worry about being near her if she were to have more health issues. On the flip side of that, my mom is one of 4, but the only girl, and the vast majority of the care for her ailing mother (and father, when he was alive) still falls on her. So having more than one child isn't a guarantee they will help each other out, but it's better than nothing I suppose.
 

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 26, 2007
Messages
3,081
I am one of four girls. There were certainly times in my childhood that we fought and wanted to be rid of each other, but I can't imagine life without each other. Now we are best friends.

FI has one older sister who is 4 years older and I've heard the stories of how they drove each other nuts. As adults they have been on more than one vacation just the two of them, and we visit her often.

I also can't imagine having kids and them not having aunts, uncles, or cousins.
 

Tacori E-ring

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Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,039
I am one of three and my sister and I fought SO bad when we were young. It was horrible! A sibling does not mean they will automatically like each other. I think there has to be stronger reasons to have another child than that personally. I remember having this conversation with someone I know. She is older and told me even though she has several siblings, she is the only one making decisions for their elderly parents. Again, siblings do not always mean allies.

I go back and forth on the idea of another child. Part of me would like to have another and experience all those firsts again. I think my daughter is at an age where adding another child into the mix would not be as overwhelming than if she was a toddler. But, I also like that she is outnumbered. I like that she gets so much attention. It truly is a personal decision. I know 2 would be my max.
 

NewEnglandLady

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Jul 27, 2007
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6,299
I am not an only child, but my husband is.

We are undecided about having one or two. Originally we planned to have 2, but now we've decided to play it by ear.

My husband does wish he had siblings. I obviously love my husband, but I think having a sibling would have benefited him as well. Even small things like sharing seem to come hard for him. Also, he feels a lot of pressure to care of his parents (not so much now, but in the future). This has been a factor in our relationship--one of the reasons we live in new england and not the midwest (where I am from) is because he feels a strong obligation to be there for his parents as an only child. If he had siblings, I don't think he would feel the same obligation. I think our experience will be similar to Stephb0lt's with D bearing the weight of an aging parent, whereas I am one of four (also like Stephb0lt), and I feel like we can more easily share responsibilities.

I can obviously see the pros about having one as well--but I think it's interesting how much his being an only child affects him even as an adult.
 

DivaDiamond007

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Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,828
I have only a sister and my husband is one of six. We briefly thought about only having one after our son was born and for a bit didn't know if we'd be able to have another due to my health conditions. After a lot of discussion amongst ourselves and with my doctors we stopped preventing and got pregnant with our daughter. Our kids are 2.5 years apart and I wouldn't have it any other way! It is hard at times dealing with a toddler and infant at the same time but so wonderful to watch them grow up together.

Moneywise DH and I both feel that if you wait until you have enough (either for one child or more) then you'll never have any children because there is just never enough. We also live in a small 2 bedroom house and make do with what we have. We figure that if all our kids know is sharing a room then it doesn't really matter. We bought a small house in a great neighborhood with excellent public schools so we don't worry about primary education for our children. We are also very fortunate that we have family available to do most of our childcare as daycare would eat up my pay and then some and I most certainly do not have the luxury to stay home full time (nor do I have any desire to).

I do agree with Tacori though in that just because you have more than one child does not guarantee that they will like each other. My sister and I pretty much got along growing up but aren't close as adults. I matured much faster than she and am at a different point in my life even though we are only 1.5 years apart. It's not that we don't like each other; but rather don't have much in common.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 21, 2006
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DH and I were torn too. Our cons were similar to your list (the obvious - things are manageable with one, more resources, attention, kids fight,etc.). Our biggest con however was our ages, well more DH since he is older than me. That first year with a newborn was tough as 2 working parents -- we could not imagine doubling the trouble!

But as our daughter grew, it just seemed like something was missing. Personally I also felt a bit incomplete with just one, but I would have been ok with it. I was also an only child for 11 years. I loved those 11 years, felt very special and like I stood apart from the others, but I was also lonely at times. This isn't something I was aware of at the time, but my mother has said it and I realize it looking back. My stuffed animals were my best buds! When my sister came along she was so much younger that she was more like a sister-child although we still did fight sometimes. As she got older things evolved and now we are the very best of friends. I can't imagine not having anyone to vent to on mom and dad, my IL's, or to share family obligations/responsibilties with.

So this in part made me decide I DID want #2, at which point I had to convince DH. Surprisingly it took little convicing, like I said above, as he saw our DD grow he says he realized she needed a sibling and had come to appreciate the reward of child rearing,etc. Everyone makes their own choices based on their own situation/gut feelings, but this is why we made ours. DD#2 will be here in 3 months, so ask me again after that, lol.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I look at it from several perspectives. As a daughter, I am very thankful that I have three siblings now that our father is dead and our mother had a stroke within the last year. Dividing caring for her by 4 people is vastly different than leaving that to one child. It would be an incredible burden for one child. I wasn't all that close to my siblings as a child because I was the oldest and none were close to my age. But I am closer to my sisters now partly because of having to deal with my mother's care together.

As a mother of 3, I am thankful for each of my children. In fact, the third child was adopted by choice, obviously. I suppose if we had only had one child, they would have had more material things. But since I don't think true happiness primarily comes from material things, I don't see that as so important. They are not all close to each other at this point, but each has value as a person and are dearly loved. I never considered having only one child.

Lastly, I surely hate to say this but since Pandora brought it up, I will as well. We have friends who at this moment have their 3 year old on life support because of a tragic pool accident. The husband left the wife shortly after this child was born and they also have a 5 year old. I know they are devastated beyond what I can imagine, but this young mother still will have her 5 year old to keep her going. I cannot fathom what she would do if the 3 year old was her only child. I know this is not THE reason to have a second child. But I think it bears some consideration as an extra factor.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,660
We spend a lot of time with my husband's 5 siblings and their families. My kids enjoy spending time with each other and have already made plans to spend holidays together when they have their own families. I wish I had more kids but was getting close to 40 and decided to stop at 2.

I think it's nice to have siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, etc. I vote for siblings.
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
As an only child, I beg you to please have more! :cheeky:

Seriously, though, it was lonely growing up alone. I did have cousins right next door, but it's not the same. If there's anything wrong, there's nobody who completely understands what you're going through. You know how every kid thinks their parents are getting a divorce just because they had an argument? That's how I felt, and there was nobody to talk to about it. I don't know how lonely I'll feel when my parents pass away. I also feel like they're my responsibility alone, and since I live away from them I constantly feel guilty and a burden in my heart making me want to move back; I kind of feel that it was unfair of them to let all the responsibility fall on me.

Also, with respect to the resources thing: if you're like my parents, you won't think "oh, I'll spend all my resources on one child"; they thought "this is what one child gets; if we had a second child she/he would get an equal amount". A crude example is that at xmas I would get ONE gift. I used to be so envious of my cousins next door who would each get a gift and then basically had two to play with.
 

ChinaCat

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Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
1,829
This is one of those things that is just so personal. You can find only children who will say they hated being an only child and wanted siblings, and you can find only children who loved it. And of course there are siblings who can't stand each other, and others that are best of friends. Someone always has a story.

I think you trust your gut. Do you feel done? Do you feel like your family is complete? Would you regret (later) not trying for another? Can you financially and emotionally support another child?

You cannot predict and control the personalities of your children and you can't make them love each other. All you can do is make the best possible choice for YOU and your family. Kids will adapt, either way. For me, I don't feel done with one. However, if we can't have any more, then I will make my peace with that and be grateful I have my son. Yes, I would hate that he's an only child, but that isn't the worst thing in the world. Yes, I will hate if we have another and they don't like each other, but again, there are worse things in the world and they can learn to live with each other.

ETA: I have a sister and a brother and a ton of cousins. I can't imagine my life without them, even though they drive me absolutely batty! So I love big families, but they do come with their own baggage. But I'm a writer and it gives me material, so I'm sort of a sucker for dysfunction. ;))
 

dreamer_dachsie

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NewEnglandLady|1311701344|2977124 said:
I am not an only child, but my husband is.

We are undecided about having one or two. Originally we planned to have 2, but now we've decided to play it by ear.

My husband does wish he had siblings. I obviously love my husband, but I think having a sibling would have benefited him as well. Even small things like sharing seem to come hard for him. Also, he feels a lot of pressure to care of his parents (not so much now, but in the future). This has been a factor in our relationship--one of the reasons we live in new england and not the midwest (where I am from) is because he feels a strong obligation to be there for his parents as an only child. If he had siblings, I don't think he would feel the same obligation. I think our experience will be similar to Stephb0lt's with D bearing the weight of an aging parent, whereas I am one of four (also like Stephb0lt), and I feel like we can more easily share responsibilities.

I can obviously see the pros about having one as well--but I think it's interesting how much his being an only child affects him even as an adult.
I am an only child and suspect my experience has been similar to NEL's husband's experience.
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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24,364
diamondseeker2006|1311704181|2977157 said:
Lastly, I surely hate to say this but since Pandora brought it up, I will as well. We have friends who at this moment have their 3 year old on life support because of a tragic pool accident. The husband left the wife shortly after this child was born and they also have a 5 year old. I know they are devastated beyond what I can imagine, but this young mother still will have her 5 year old to keep her going. I cannot fathom what she would do if the 3 year old was her only child. I know this is not THE reason to have a second child. But I think it bears some consideration as an extra factor.
I have a friend who also shares this notion. She voiced it a little differently, tongue in cheek saying, "I want three kids, that way if one dies and one is a total failure, I have one left to pin my hopes and dreams on." It is a little macabre or maybe... selfish? .. to think this way about your kids, but I think it is a primal sentiment for many parents.
 

basil

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I have a brother 3 years younger...he lives in Europe so I never see him more than once a year, and we talk on webcam about once a month? So I wouldn't consider us to be "close" in that we don't really have the opportunity to socialize or anything, and we don't share details about our daily lives. But there's only one person in the world who will laugh when I say "hey, remember when dad...." or "remember how Freckles used to...." And I would drop anything if my brother needed it, and vice versa. It's not a bond that I can expect from friends. And if my brother ever moves back here, I bet we'd go out for beers frequently.

So knowing that, I think I'd be sad for our kid if he ended up an only child. But DH isn't sure - he has a brother and sister and genuinely isn't close and has little interest in a relationship with them beyond obligations at holidays. His attitude is that family is only family because of a blood relation. So I guess it varies. Right now, expecting our first in a week or so, we're playing it by ear.
 

monkeyprincess

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Nov 24, 2009
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There is definitely no "one-size-fits-all" answer to this question, but I am firmly in the camp of wanting more than one. I am one of four and have never once wished I were an only child. We were all pretty close growing up and still are today. I love that we have big family gatherings now that we are all married and two of my siblings have kids. I really want that for my future children. I've been TTC for about 6 months now without success, so at this point, I will feel blessed to just have one, but if I had my way I would have three. Dh, on the other hand, thinks two would be sufficient.
 

lliang_chi

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I'm one of three; I have a twin sister and 15 month older brother. I'd say that we've very close. We don't talk to each other every day, but we're THERE for each other. The strain/joy of our parents are shared among the three of us. And I'm sure care for elderly parents will be shared among us as well.

My DH on the other hand has an sister that's 3 yrs older. His mother is currently in recovery from medical issues and all the work, decisions, etc is falling squarely on him. She expresses interest every once in a while, visited a few times, but for the most part is not involved. His relationship with her is NOT a good one.

My first choice would be to have 2 kids, who are close and can count on each other. But honestly, I'd rather have an only child than have siblings with a relationship like what DH & SIL have; where their relationship causes only more stress and frustration. Of course no one can predict the future, and I guess the hope is to have good kids and not mess them up too much as parents ;))

~LC
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 24, 2007
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I'm one of two, and my brother and I don't have a good relationship. We basically don't talk. Given the choice, I'd rather have been an only child.
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I personally hated being an only child, so I don't think I can do that to my son. I hope to have one or two more.
 

soocool

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I have a sister who is 2 years older than me and for most of our growing up years we were not really close and did not play with one another. (we each have our own unique personalities). We became closer after she got married (we're both in our mid 50s), but we are not each other's best friend. I have a few friends who know things about me that my sister does not know and vice versa.

My sister has 3 sons and I have one daughter. DD is one year older than the youngest male cousin. The other 2 cousins are in the mid to late 20s. So DD really never played with them, but after the oldest got married DD became very close to his wife even though they are about 8 years apart in age.

DD (she will 19 in December) has told me on numerous occasions that she wishes that she had older siblings (preferably sisters) so we wouldn't have been sso overprotective of her. She tells me that she plans on having 3 kids in her 20s, one right after another. She has 5 years of college ahead of her and knowing DD she always gets what she goes after so no doubt, somehow she will have those 3 kids.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
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Diamondseeker - I am so sorry about your friends. Is there any hope? Thinking good thoughts for them all - this would be my worst nightmare. :blackeye:

I never got on with my sister who is 20 months younger - we started having something in common when my daughter was born, but she has now moved to Australia and so far we have 'liked' each others posts once on FB and I happened to pick up the phone once when she called my parents. My brother is 5 years younger and we got on really well until he met his now wife - I can't bear her and so we now see each other a couple of times a year max. My other sister is 14 years younger than me, I'd gone to boarding school when she was born and so I'm more like an aunt than a sibling.

If we stop at one, I may well try and send my daughter to boarding school at some point. It will kill me to do it but I think it's a good thing to learn to live with others and to share. It can also be lots of fun. Obviously if she hated it I wouldn't, but I am open to it.

One thing DH and I have agreed is that DD is free to live her life how and where she wants. We will put things in place to deal with our care in old age etc, we do not want to be a burden on her or for her to curtail her choices because of us (not that madam appears to be the sort who would anyway!)
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
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Pandora|1311721592|2977441 said:
Diamondseeker - I am so sorry about your friends. Is there any hope? Thinking good thoughts for them all - this would be my worst nightmare. :blackeye:

I never got on with my sister who is 20 months younger - we started having something in common when my daughter was born, but she has now moved to Australia and so far we have 'liked' each others posts once on FB and I happened to pick up the phone once when she called my parents. My brother is 5 years younger and we got on really well until he met his now wife - I can't bear her and so we now see each other a couple of times a year max. My other sister is 14 years younger than me, I'd gone to boarding school when she was born and so I'm more like an aunt than a sibling.

If we stop at one, I may well try and send my daughter to boarding school at some point. It will kill me to do it but I think it's a good thing to learn to live with others and to share. It can also be lots of fun. Obviously if she hated it I wouldn't, but I am open to it.

One thing DH and I have agreed is that DD is free to live her life how and where she wants. We will put things in place to deal with our care in old age etc, we do not want to be a burden on her or for her to curtail her choices because of us (not that madam appears to be the sort who would anyway!)
Pandora, this is great! I wish my parents had thought that way. Don't get me wrong, they've done everything they could for me, probably beyond their means. But unfortunately, they're about to enter retirement with hardly any savings :blackeye:
 

Octavia

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jstarfireb|1311717803|2977361 said:
I'm one of two, and my brother and I don't have a good relationship. We basically don't talk. Given the choice, I'd rather have been an only child.
My experience is similar. My brother and I don't have a bad relationship, though, we just don't have much of one at all. He's like a stranger who just happens to share the same parents with me. Having been an only child for many years before he came along, I preferred it to having a sibling. If my DH and I decide to have more than one child, it will be because that's how we want our lives to go, not "for child #1's sake." However, I will NOT space my kids as far apart as my brother and I were unless it absolutely can't be helped -- I firmly believe that if you're going to have more than one, it's better to do it when the older child is still young enough that he or she won't really remember what life was like before the sibling. There are always exceptions, of course, but most of the people I know who have a 7-9 year spread between themselves and their only sibling (so, no middle sibling) have very rough relationships.
 

janinegirly

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Octavia|1311772553|2977913 said:
jstarfireb|1311717803|2977361 said:
I'm one of two, and my brother and I don't have a good relationship. We basically don't talk. Given the choice, I'd rather have been an only child.
My experience is similar. My brother and I don't have a bad relationship, though, we just don't have much of one at all. He's like a stranger who just happens to share the same parents with me. Having been an only child for many years before he came along, I preferred it to having a sibling. If my DH and I decide to have more than one child, it will be because that's how we want our lives to go, not "for child #1's sake." However, I will NOT space my kids as far apart as my brother and I were unless it absolutely can't be helped -- I firmly believe that if you're going to have more than one, it's better to do it when the older child is still young enough that he or she won't really remember what life was like before the sibling. There are always exceptions, of course, but most of the people I know who have a 7-9 year spread between themselves and their only sibling (so, no middle sibling) have very rough relationships.
It seems that sibling relationships are very individual to each family. As I mentioned before I am 11 years apart from my sister and we've been close from the beginning, even as I went off to college (we wrote letters, I sent stickers, haha, no email/webcams back then). The relationship evolved but never was rough. I don't know if it would have been different with a brother.

Anyway each person's POV is colored by their own sibling relationship, family experiences and their own expectations and resources etc. Of course you have a child IF you want one not purely for #1, but often it is all interconnected - you do things for your child that make your (family) life more complete / fullfilled. This is why we all put so much thought into it BEFORE committing to an arbitrary number. But of course you also can't control life so it's a mix of purposeful planning based on analysis and discussions with your spouse and how life unfolds and our priorities evolve. And even then you can't predict life - but you do what feels right for your family at the time and what you can reasonably expect/hope for your future , and then there are no regrets and second guessing.
 

MustangGal

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We have 1 child now, and I plan on keeping it that way, but DH would like one more. Our biggest cons at this point come down to money and sanity. We both work FT, and there's no getting around that, so daycare for 2 kids would be as much as our house payment. We're doing OK at this point, but having a second would mean some big changes that I don't think either of us is ready to make. We live 4 hours away from both sides of the family, so we don't get much down time away from the kid. Having a second would make that worse, and then we wouldn't be able to afford a babysitter to get the time away that would help us stay happy and sane. I'd rather have one child in a happy household than 2 in a stressed home.

We both have siblings (I'm 1 of 5, he's 1 of 3), but we rarely talk to any of them. DS goes to daycare 5 days a week, where he learns lots of sharing, taking turns, and general interaction with other children. When he gets a older and we go on trips we plan to have him take a friend so he's not alone.
 

blacksand

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It's really interesting reading about people who have different relationships with their siblings. I have one older brother. My parents definitely taught us that we HAD to get along from early on. Not getting along was just not an option. We were good friends when we were very young. In the adolescent/teen years, there were many times I couldn't stand him and I was certain my parents loved him more than they loved me. But we still had dinner together and made nice every single day, that was the requirement! My parents would ask him to help me with my math homework, and me to help him with writing assignments, playing up each of our strengths and reminding us how we complemented each other. We thought it was totally cheesy at the time, and I'm sure I resented it, but by the end of high school I finally had to admit my brother was actually a really good guy. Brilliant, helpful, and really kind. We wrote to each other when he went away to college, though not too often. Now we talk occasionally. It's funny, I wouldn't say we're all that close. We don't go out of our way to hang out together very often, only for special occassions. But we absolutely know we have each other and can call on each other for anything at any time, and that's an awesome feeling. I know when the time comes to take care of my parents in their old age, my brother and I will be in it together, 100%. I know that my parents instilled that in us. Some people might find that meddling, but I really believe they taught us the value of having a sibling and taught us to always count on each other.

Even though I really wanted a sister, lol!
 

somethingshiny

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I don't think in terms of pros and cons with children. I wouldn't have another child JUST to give the first a playmate, and I wouldn't NOT have a child JUST because the first didn't want a sibling.

In my mind, it is simply a question of "Do we want another child?" The planning lies more in the age difference if you have a preference.
 

Puppmom

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I have two children but they're both pretty much only children. I had DD when I was 17 and DS when I was 33. Before having DS, DH and I were certain that we would not stop with his birth. Now that he's here though, it's looking like he'll be our only one. I would LOVE to have another but financially speaking, it's just SO expensive and I'm just not sure we can afford it. For us, finances play a huge role in the decision making process.

I have three siblings. I have two older sisters and one younger brother. I'm not close with either of my sisters. The eldest is 8 years older than me and moved out by the time I was 9 and the middle sister and I just never got along. I am VERY close to my brother and seriously cannot imagine life without him. I talk to him daily and see him at least weekly. Our sons are 8 months apart and I can't wait for them to grow together. Him having a son close in age to mine does soften the blow of me probably not having any more children just a little.
 
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