It seems every day I stumble upon another article touting the “Top Ten Reasons For Having an Only Child.” I also find myself skimming through those other articles–the ones that list all the horrible things that will happen to your child if you don’t give them a sibling. I hate all those articles and how they contradict each other and frankly, make little sense. I keep reading and reading, and searching for some sort of justification for my family’s unconventional triangle structure. Until one day I stop because I realize something.
To all the moms who choose to cap their family at three members, stop stressing about your decision, and be proud that you made a choice that is right for your family.
To all the moms who didn’t choose, who maybe struggle with infertility, or health issues, or financial problems, I hope you, like me, can try to make peace with your situation. Life is messy and sometimes we have no control.
You see, I’m the mom who didn’t choose. My perfect plan for two children was derailed by a crazy life curveball, one I didn’t see coming. I was a mess, a shell of the girl I once was, and most of all I was sad as hell. So I joined the Facebook groups. I read and re-read the articles, trying to soothe an ache for the sibling I would never give my son. When he turned three, strangers started asking questions. Is he your first? Like there should automatically be a second. Doesn’t he want a sibling? I’m pretty sure he just wants to play with his trains. When are you going to have another? I’m not. I shouldn’t. I kind of can’t.
My head spun so much that I got dizzy. But with time, I stopped caring about the questions and started feeling grateful. Like I said, I realized something.
In the deepest sense, it doesn’t matter if a child is an only, or a first born, or a middle child, or the baby of the family. Birth order doesn’t define us. Siblings don’t define us. It’s our interests and passions and the connections we make in this world that define us.
Love defines us.
So, as Mother’s Day approaches, let’s stop stressing about the stuff we can’t control. Let’s stop comparing our very personal family choices, because everyone is different.
Life is complicated enough without worrying about birth order and siblings, or lack thereof. To all my fellow only child moms out there—or any other mom who feels shamed by the size and shape and hue of her family— let’s embrace what we have.
Let’s stop obsessing about the pros and cons and just soak up the love from the very special tiny human who calls us mom. Let’s love them back with everything we have and help them reach their potential as human beings, day by day. No shift in sibling structure would change any of that.