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Yes, I Know My Daughter Needs a Sibling

19/04/2016 17:41

But thanks for pointing that out to me. Again.

What reaction were you anticipating? Do you truly imagine I've not considered it? Or, perhaps, do you think I have - but clearly a nudge is in order, and you're the right person to give it?

What if I've deliberated, but ultimately decided against it? Are you the right person to convince me I'm wrong?

I used to be of the naïve assumption that once you'd had one baby, there'd be little holding you back from cracking on with the next. But I now know better; and, having had children yourself - perhaps you should too.

Image source: Pixabay, CC0

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I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, and writing this to show you some of the very legitimate issues only-child families may be contending with:

I'm Traumatised
Throughout my first pregnancy I was scared of giving birth. However, I allowed myself to believe that maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be quite as horrendous as I feared. But it was worse. Everything went wrong and my baby was in danger. The pain was indescribable. The very thought of wilfully putting myself through it again is enough to induce sweaty palms and near-hysteria. Quite simply, I can't do it.

I Can't/I Just Miscarried
I'd love nothing more than another baby. I'm ready; and you're right - my toddler needs a sibling. So imagine my immense heartache and despair that I can't give it to her. Each time you repeat your assertion, it's like scratching at a wound which refuses to heal. My partner wants it too, but [insert reason] is preventing us from having a second child. I'm utterly bereft, and too emotionally exhausted to want to share that with you.

We're Broke
I'm desperate to have another baby, but we've done the sums and they don't add up. Would you have us put ourselves in debt? We have to consider the best for the child we do have, and right now that means being able to afford to put food on the table and keep a roof over her head. Naturally, we'd be thrilled to accept your benevolence should you wish to gift us the cost of a sibling for our daughter, but until that day arrives, your ill-thought words feel callous.

I'm Scared for My Health
Following the birth of my daughter I was affected by a mild case of Postnatal Anxiety. I say mild because I beat it alone, without medical intervention - but make no mistake: it was a dark time. I am terrified of returning to that place, and that the additional responsibility of baby number two could be what would send me there. I cannot risk a second child healing me for good; because equally, it may be my undoing.

I'm Scared for My Daughter
I have a high needs daughter. For those unsure of what that is, it basically means she requires lots of love and attention. I'm grateful that right now, if my daughter requires something from me, I can give it to her. I can't bear the thought of being needed that way twice over, and being unable to provide either child with what they need from their mummy.

Image source: Pixabay, CC0

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We're Struggling
You want the awful, humiliating truth? We're not having sex. Having a child has been the equivalent of throwing a stick of dynamite at our marriage. What was a previously unbreakable union has become a desolate, lonely place. We initially blamed sleep-deprivation and fatigue. But eventually the fuse burnt out and now we must face the reality: we've grown apart. And I'm in despair.

My Partner is Abusive
In another lifetime, I'd be blissfully happy and planning my next pregnancy. Alas, when it's impossible to tell which moment will be the one to set him off - I can't risk it. I need to consider the child I have: we need to leave. But it's not that simple. However, it's not too late to protect my child's sibling: simply by preventing his/her conception. Be under no misapprehension, this is an appalling position for our family to be in, but right now it's the best I can do.

I Just Lost My Partner
We started creating our family; but we'd not finished. Of course I'm grateful for the child he gave me before he was wrenched from us. But I'm also flailing; I'm so eaten up by the unfairness of it all. I don't want my daughter to grow up in a home shrouded in bitterness and grief - that's not the childhood I foresaw for her. Yet forcing smiles when my husband - her daddy - should be here, gifting them to me, is an indescribable anguish. I'm not only mourning my best friend; I'm mourning the second child we will never have together, and the family we'll never be. I'm doing my best, but the next time somebody asks me when I'll be having another baby, I might just fall apart.

We Don't Want To
We're deliriously happy: our family is complete.

I shouldn't have to justify our position, but I shall nonetheless. We'll be better able to provide everything she needs emotionally and financially if we accept ours is a unit of three. Our daughter has wonderfully close friendships and cousins; but most of all - she has devoted parents who cherish every moment with her. So - thanks for your concern; but, as her parents we feel we're best placed to decide whether siblings are a necessity. And in our daughter's case, I can assure you - they're not.

Image source: Pixabay, CC0

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At least one of these applies to me; I dare you to ask which.

Our Truth
As it happens, it is on my radar - in as much as it weighs heavily on my mind. But I have no intention of sharing the very personal components of our decision-making. Perhaps there will be an announcement soon; perhaps not.

I know you're trying to impart your insight; but please credit me with the wisdom to make the right decision for myself, and for my family.

And those reasons above that are not applicable to me? They may well be to someone else. I urge you to consider all the many, many potential implications of your words. Because without any malice or cruel intent, your impertinence could very well be splintering somebody's heart.

Kate also writes at The Less-Refined Mind, where the full version of this post was originally published. Join the mischief on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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