I’ve recently started receiving a lot of questions about having an only child, whether I worry about my kid not having siblings of her own, how I handle people’s questions etc and I felt like I can finally talk about this here maybe. So if you have an only child for whatever reason, this one’s for you. And for everyone else this is for you too because maybe we need to have a talk, lol.
Let me begin by being honest with you guys. I think most people might not realize but for us this isn’t a choice we made ourselves. Honestly, I have struggled, still do sometimes with this. I just love being one of three sisters (and my husband one of five mashallah) and never imagined that my kid might not experience the same. BUT not all things in life go according to our plans. After many conversations with my husband and my best friend, I have learned to accept, make some peace with it; mostly for the sake of my kid. Alhamdullilah, I am so so thankful to be mom to such a bright, smart, sensitive little girl. We are blessed! Over-obsessing on the fact that she doesn’t have siblings isn’t helpful, not to her or to myself. I want her to grow up as the confident, happy kid that she is and for that I need to get past this in my head first! Thankfully my mom, my nani are the biggest examples around me of being just one, and doing it well.
Do I worry about her not having siblings when she grows up? Of course I do, it makes me so so sad sometimes if I think too much about it but I tell myself that having siblings is not always a guarantee that you will have someone by your side. Sadly, I have personally seen siblings making life hell for each other, or not even being in touch for years. I do pray endlessly that Allah always surrounds her with wonderful people around her. I also remind myself that just like there are disadvantages to any situation there are advantages too. The kind of focus and attention (emotional, financial and physical) that you can give your kid, it’s not possible with multiple kids. Even the bond that my grandparents & my mom share is one that would not have been possible if my mom had siblings. It’s so beautiful mashallah!
I also love to follow along others (here is my favorite most) who do this raising-one-kid thing so well. It helps me to look at it with excitement instead of coming at it from a place of “why us” or “poor her”. I just don’t like living with that kind of a mindset!
About people’s comments? I’m going to use this post as just another reminder that we don’t know how our supposedly harmless comments can hurt others. Whether people have kids or not, how many kids they have, it has nothing to do with the rest of us. Suffering from infertility is a lonely place, a place full of shame despite how common it actually is, and if you can’t be there for the other person, don’t make it worse. I know people don’t mean harm, but there are so many better things to talk about than possibly reminding them one more time of something they are struggling with.
If you’re having a hard time handling people’s comments, change up your responses maybe. Over the years I’ve found myself responding a million different ways, from dodging the question, having a comeback ready, and recently just being honest whenever I feel comfortable enough (don’t do this if you aren’t prepared to handle even more questions though). I also think it is totally okay to tell the other person that you’re not comfortable with their questions. ALSO if you’re going through a particularly vulnerable time and if it’s possible, just maintain a distance from such people. We can’t change people but maybe we can just change our interactions with them!
You do get stronger over time and learn to handle it better. It doesn’t really hurt me as much as it used to and maybe part of the reason is that I have worked on my inner self over this.
Sending prayers and good vibes your way!
Lots of love.
You are so creative I always love getting your perspective on difficult topics like this.
You consistently bring your all. Thank you so much for sharing such a masterpiece.
Thank you so much for the sweet note Sara! Means alot ❤
I’ve been asked a million times what it’s like being an only child and it’s not a disadvantage as some people think it to be. An only child can experience the perks of being the eldest, youngest and middle child! And like you said, having siblings does not guarantee that you will have someone by your side.
Thank you for writing this. As mother to an only child, not by choice though, I have also fielded unwanted questions, battled with regret and worry but like you said, people need to be mindful and as for us, we need to be honest when we are able to be and also to call out such people and let them know that intrusive questions are hurtful and disrespectful. We all have our journeys and our choices.