1. Home
  2. international
  3. news
  4. I was desperate to have a second baby because I disliked being an only child

I was desperate to have a second baby because I disliked being an only child

Janine Clements   

I was desperate to have a second baby because I disliked being an only child
  • I've always felt I missed out because I was an only child.
  • When it came to having kids, I wanted a big, noisy family.

I wasn't always an only child; I became one when I was 4 and my brother, who was 18 months old, died. I was too young to remember him, but I always longed for the brother I didn't get to grow up with.

With the tragedy of his death too much to bear, my parents divorced soon after, and my mom became a single mom. We moved in with my grandparents, and although I adored them, I often got bored and lonely. I did get pretty good at entertaining myself, racing frogs from the pond in our yard, helping my grandfather in his vegetable garden, or talking to make-believe fairies in the apple orchard.

Three of my cousins lived on the farm next door, and I spent as much time there as possible, grateful for the company of my own age. Even when we moved to a nearby town, I constantly pestered my mom to see them. It was way more fun hanging out with them, playing backyard games, and enjoying noisy dinners than when the two of us were in our quiet house.

I was envious that they had each other and knew when it came to my turn to have kids, I wanted a big, noisy family.

My first birth was traumatic

The birth of my first daughter was traumatic as I developed symptoms of HELLP Syndrome, a life-threatening illness considered a variant of preeclampsia. This resulted in me needing a C-section under general anesthesia and a 10-day stint in hospital for both of us. Thankfully, we were both OK.

A year later, I got pregnant but miscarried. After two more miscarriages, D&Cs, fertility testing, and even surgery to remove scar tissue after being diagnosed with Asherman's Syndrome, which is a rare condition that can affect the ability to stay pregnant, it seemed like the odds of having more kids were stacked against us.

"Perhaps you're only destined to have one child," my mother said one day. It came from a good place, as she could see the toll it was taking on me and my husband. Desperate for my daughter not to be an only child, I couldn't give up.

Despite the challenges, I didn't want to give up trying for another child

Three years after my first daughter was born, I got pregnant again, and this time, it stuck. After what happened the first time, I lived in constant fear something might go wrong again. But my fears were unfounded, and we were blessed with a healthy baby girl — and a sibling for my daughter.

I was thrilled, but I wanted more children. However, my husband thought we were lucky to have two healthy daughters, so why push it? For the sake of my health, marriage, and sanity, I agreed we should stop there.

Almost 15 years ago, we moved from the UK to Singapore and then New York. My dad eventually remarried and had kids who are much younger than me, but my mom didn't remarry and lives alone. As the years go by, and she gets older and her grandkids, whom she adores, grow up fast, I feel increasingly guilty that we live far away. Despite the distance, we have a close bond, and I'm thankful for that.

Although I don't love being an only child, it did have some benefits, from always being the favorite to never having to share toys or deal with sibling rivalry. These days, when my kids are driving me mad because they're arguing, getting angry when one takes the other's phone charger, or accusing us of having favorites, I remember how lucky I am to have them and remind them how lucky they are, too.

Popular Right Now