I remember the time we spent in SCBU at the start of last year, while Mara was in her incubator we were there almost 24/7, and during that time in between visits from family and friends, doctors and nurses, I vividly remember being asked on more than one occasion when we were planning on having our next child. I remember thinking "Can you not see what we're dealing with here? Is that an appropriate question to even be asking us right now?"
Even now, I get really irked when people give it the old "tick-tock, get a move on, you're not getting any younger. Mara would love a wee brother or sister..."
It's like we're suddenly part of the Bridget Jones brigade.
For all the women who have gone through child-birth, some like ours who have had a pretty traumatic birth, it must make them so annoyed. As a dad to our amazing little girl, it's starting to verge on rudeness. It's like we're being asked if Mara isn't enough for us.
As much as I love Mara, should we be fortunate enough to have another baby then great. If not, then it doesn't matter. Siblings ain't all they're cracked up to be anyway, and Mara is more than enough for me. I'm not going to put any pressure on Caroline to have another kid. IF it happens, then it happens. The questions are thrown at you disguised as harmless banter, but are fuelled with culpability and feelings of inadequacy.
Please don't think of this as a rant, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with only having one child. Or six. Or choosing to have none for that matter. Every single one of us has our own path to follow littered with choices, work, commitments, personal life, social life... Nobody should have to follow the same trail as everyone else. To quote Cat Stevens, not everyone has to "Find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry."
Nowadays, it seems more socially acceptable to have no children at all, rather than 'only' one.
You can 'only' have one glass of wine if you want to and no one will judge you - my friends might, but that's because they all like a drink! They're more likely to 'only' have one bottle!
But can you really 'only' have one? In short, yes.
There is something remarkably special about only having one kid. It means that you can give them your full attention and not have to share it amongst others. It means your life, your career, hell, even your relationship with your partner is not put on ice for any longer than is necessary. You are everything to that child and everything he or she wants you to be. Their mummy, daddy, buddy, playmate... the list goes on, and that unique connection is something you can really only have with 'only' one.
To anyone we know who have no children, one child or more, those choices are yours and yours alone, and as it stands right now we are more than happy with having 'only' one.
After all, our 'only' is our everything.