Saturday, 22 June 2019

Was I Selfish To Have An Only Child Later In Life?

Okay, so the title might be a bit misleading but to me, Tilly is like an only child. There is a huge age difference in the older ones and Tilly and she has taken to asking me lately, why she is the only child. I was very young when I had the older children, in fact, I was probably too young but by the time I was 22, I was separated with three kids. Not the kind of life that you would want to offer kids in the '90s when being a single parent was still a huge stigma, but I pulled up my big girl pants and got on with life. Their dad was (to put it bluntly) a dick! I was the parent that was there for them all of the time and I sacrificed so much whilst I was studying at college and eventually went back to work. You know what I frigging well did it! My kids and I fought against the stigma and they had everything that a two-parent family had - except for the two parents!

So after solo parenting for about 13 years, I started to feel lost. My children were getting older and they needed me less and less. I had always said when they were younger, that I wanted another child when I was older, one that I could actually enjoy and spoil. One that wouldn't be such a hard slog, because three kids in three years was a bloody hard thing to do, Can you imagine what puberty was like in my house? Three kids going through it at the same time. URGH!

I had been in a volatile relationship for a few years, but I loved him and told him that I wanted another child. It was a far from a perfect relationship but I panicked, my kids were 17,15 and 14. I wasn't done with kids. He was okay with it and we started trying. It took 6 months to conceive and at 36, I knew my time was running out. But eventually, I was pregnant...... with Twins. He hit the roof, told me he had changed his mind and still wanted to be with me but didn't want the kids. I knew from that moment that I was going to be doing it all alone again. But I didn't care, it was different from the first time because I had a job and I had my own home so I was financially stable. The kids were over the moon and equally as devastated when I lost one of the babies. We had named the babies Maisie and Daisie, but after we lost Daisie, I couldn't bear to get too attached to Tilly and we stopped calling her Maisie.

I had a troublesome pregnancy from morning sickness for the whole pregnancy to having a placenta abruption and nearly losing Tilly at 19 weeks. But eventually she was born and she was so loved from the moment she arrived. Her sister Beth was with me when she was born and the other two arrived at the hospital pretty soon after. Zach was 16 by now and seeing the love he had for this little girl was amazing and I know he will make an awesome dad one day. But the bond she has with Kim is unbreakable, she is Tilly's second mum and the person who has agreed to care for Tilly if anything should happen to me. Sadly she lost her relationship with Beth and was never able to get it back.

So although she isn't officially an only child, she kinda is. She asked me the other day why I never had another child because she gets lonely sometimes being the only kid. It actually broke my heart, She is surrounded by so much love but still feels lonely. She told me she has nobody to play with and a pang of guilt struck me like the guilt I have never felt before and I have been left wondering if I was selfish to just have one child. I told her that she is lucky because she has older brothers and sisters, but she said it's not the same because she has nobody to play with, although I remember at 18 years old, Zach would sit and play barbies with her!

Was I selfish to have my own wants and needs and not think about the child that I was bringing into the world? Does she miss out on the interaction with other children? Have I deprived her of a close relationship that the others had growing up? And have I left her to feel like she has to go through the whole growing up process on her own. She does have a very close relationship with her older brother and sister but will she be able to confide in them without feeling like they are an adult and going to blab to me, will she trust them as much as a sibling her own age. She has nobody to bitch to when she is having a tough time and I am telling her off. And it has made me think that she is missing out on not having a close relationship with someone her own age.

There are, of course, so many benefits from having only one small child, like days out and treats, are more often. When the older three were little, I would have to save for months to be able to afford a £9.50 holiday in the sun and we would go to Northumberland or Edinburgh to make it a 'real' holiday, whilst all of the kid's friends were going abroad. But they never missed out. Nowadays I take Tilly abroad as much as I can so she can see the world. Something that I wouldn't be able to manage if I had more than one child. She is such a lucky kid and she is so adaptable to what I am doing. She fitted into my lifestyle when she was born, I didn't change it for her. If I had more children, I wouldn't have managed to work - I can barely keep my shit together now to go to work, let alone if I had more than one small person at home! I'm 46 years old now, constantly knackered and usually in bed before her at night time, I had always planned to travel the world when the kids were older and I could be doing that now, but I think I got the best alternative instead. I couldn't ask for a more loving and caring child.

I am so sorry to my child that she feels alone, she is never without friends but she wants the closeness of a sibling. She was something that I yearned for, for so long and I absolutely love her to bits. She has my complete attention in her life and having another child just wasn't meant to be!

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