As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. —Hilary Rosen
Motherhood is a phase of life most women look forward to. It is a time filled with several ups and downs, with crazy sleepless nights, emotional oscillations, and moments of reciprocated love between mother and child which most cameras cannot capture. Soon after you have your first child, the social pressures to have the next one start mounting. For many parents, the thought of having a second child stems from a guilt to give the little one a sibling, and complete the family size with the conventional two children.
However, for those parents who think of completing the family with only one child, there are several reasons supporting this thought. If you take a moment and give this decision a serious thought, you would realize that this isn't a selfish thought after all. It is an intention which is quite thoughtful and taken with complete understanding of one's financial and emotional status.
Why Wanting Only One Child is Not Selfish
Today, the role of woman has changed by leaps and bounds. It no longer has a traditional outlook of looking after the family, while the husband earns the bread and butter. It has changed to providing for the family, as well as raising one. In demanding times like these, a woman has to put in more physical and emotional effort than any other member of the family. It is only natural to think that having one baby is enough to complete a family, as compared to the 'a girl for you and a boy for me', mentality. As women are finding themselves pursuing different roles, fulfilling their academic investments, it is only fair to keep the domestic duties from growing further. What counts more than having a big family, is that, a small one grows up to be a happy and united one.
Raising a child comes at a cost that remains only heard of, until you find yourself paying it. The good reality of double income with no kids suddenly comes crashing down when there is a child involved in the picture. When one parent (the mother) needs to take some time off to look after the newborn, only one person becomes the earning member. Of course, the expenses shoot up, and the reserve pool begins to deplete. According to Susan Newman, PhD, a social psychologist, parenting expert, and author of The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide, the average cost of raising a child is $227,000 from birth to college. Now, add another child to this situation, and your cost obviously doubles! If you have a complete understanding and awareness of the fact that bearing this cost would mean a burden, then it makes all the more sense to restrict your family planning to just one child.
A family should be raised with the intent of fulfilling your life's purpose, and not as a bad decision which becomes a burden. Most young mothers also think that having one child would mean that there is more of disposable income for the child, and hence, better facilities can be provided. It is much more plausible to educate a single child at a good school, and give him/her better exposure of various avenues of life with more resources at hand.
Exponential inflation has outpaced the cost of bringing up a child. In times when the economy has no stability, it is unfair to bring a life into this world which will be provided for inadequately. With just one child, it is far more convenient to provide it with better healthcare facilities. At the same time, to have more than one child makes parents stressed out, tired, and irritated. As this begins to take a toll on your health, the responsibility of looking after a family becomes even more difficult. So, why not stop at one, give yourself some breathing space to live healthy, and care better for that little bundle of joy you love so much? When your truest intent is focused at providing the best of everything, judging yourself as a selfish person for stopping at one child is a little too harsh.
Bonding with one child means orbiting around just one responsibility. With several children in the house, it becomes increasingly difficult to find ways to spend time with all of them. Dividing your time with just one child, means that you can devote a little more time to do the things you want to. In families that have siblings, comparisons are a given. However, in a single child unit, there are minimal comparisons, chances for positive motivation to learn new things, and lesser scope of dormant anger arising out of the same. As they learn to be independent at a much younger age, they learn to deal with loneliness in a very constructive way. A streak of independence, as such, makes these children far more mature too. A happy child, which deserves the rightful attention, love, care, and time from both the parents, always renders a meaningful childhood, for both, the parents and the child.
So, is it selfish to have only one child? The answer is an emphatic no. Of course, if you strongly believe that you can afford and give quality time to more than one child, go ahead. A selfish attitude would be the urge to hoard your resources for yourself or blaming your child for taking away your freedom. It is perfectly normal to feel pressurized into raising a child in an uncertain economy and unsafe world. Thinking of having a second child out of guilt, to give your first one a sibling, is not a reason as to why you should go in for a second child. There are social and biological pressures women succumb to while considering a second child. However, above all the pressures, are the simple joys and priceless moments of happiness that are present in raising a healthy child, even if it means stopping at one.