This post is by regular contributor Tricia Hogbin of Little Eco Footprints.
My husband and I recently decided to give up trying for another child. Building our family hasn’t been an easy journey. With my 40th birthday on the horizon we’ve decided it’s time to embrace having an only child.
Calling it a day has been a relief after having spent much of the past eight years focusing on getting pregnant or staying pregnant. I feel somewhat grateful for the experience as I’ve grown to be more compassionate and empathetic. The wellbeing of others and the health of our planet now concern me more than I could have ever imagined.
I am sad that I won’t have another baby and that my daughter won’t have a sibling to share her life with. Having a sister myself, I value the shared experiences and knowing that someone is there for me no matter what. My husband and I have been giving much thought to how we can raise a healthy and happy only child. Below are some strategies we have identified.
- Help our daughter nurture close friendships. We hope she enjoys sibling-like relationships.
- Give foster care a go. We have more than enough space and energy to help other less-fortunate children. We like that fostering can give our daughter the opportunity to share her belongings, home and family with other children.
- Nurture her relationship with her cousins. Her cousins live on the opposite side of the country, so we’ll help her to stay connected with them despite the distance. We have photo albums from our visits that we look through regularly. We encourage her to write to them and more recently we have started using Skype.
- Have friends stay the night. Sleep overs with her friends provide an opportunity to experience sibling- like dynamics.
- Holiday with other families. We’ve learnt the hard way that just the three of us going on holidays can get very ‘boring’. Holidaying with other families gives our daughter a good dose of play with other children and provides time for her to nurture friendships.
Do you have any strategies for raising a healthy and happy only child?