I don’t want my daughter to be an only child

Katie Dupuis shares her anxiety over the possibility of her daughter being a one and only.

1OnlyChild-December2013-iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Today’s Parent managing editor Katie Dupuis likes structure and organization. A lot. Now, imagine this Type A editor with a baby. Funny, right? We’re sure you’ll love Katie’s musings on life with Sophie and husband Blaine.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I struggle with health anxiety. I play the “what if” game constantly, which lends itself to a lot of sleepless nights. I’ve learned many ways to cope, including the anxiety journal that I wrote about in the June 2013 issue (you can print off the template here), but sometimes the worry monster sneaks into my head and takes up residence until I figure out how to shake him. (It’s like he knows when I’m busy and stressed out and takes advantage.)

Currently, the worry monster is feeding on my concern for the state of my fertility. Blaine and I aren’t quite ready to go down this road again yet, but the fact of the matter is that I’m notorious for “borrowing trouble,” as my mom would say. I have a problem with things that are out of my control — obviously, this blog isn’t called Type A Baby for nothing, and I sometimes find myself spiraling down a rabbit hole for no reason at all.  It’s a terrible habit, and not something I’d wish on anyone. I end up expending a lot of energy on things that aren’t likely to happen. The present hole pertains to my darling girl and (hopefully) a future sibling.

Read more: Debate: Is having more kids easier than having just one? >

I think this started to happen because many of the women who were pregnant when I was are having second (or third) children. All of a sudden, pictures of two-year-olds holding new little brothers or sisters are cropping up on Facebook (that damn Facebook strikes again!). I expected these images to be a straight shot to my ovaries, but they aren’t, really. It’s more that I worry about Sophie never getting to experience those moments, or those relationships. Maybe the feeling is a direct result of being one of four children, and never needing to wonder if someone had my back. Or maybe I just don’t want her to be an only child.

This post is not a slag against only children in any way. I know many only children who are perfectly lovely, and who don’t act like Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  But my anxious mind goes to a place where, in 60 or more years, when we’re gone, Sophie won’t have anyone to lean on. Sure, she has wonderful, hilarious, delightful cousins, but there’s something different about having a brother or sister of your own. I know that having a sibling doesn’t guarantee a relationship either, but I want her to at least have a shot at one down the road. I think a big part of who I am is influenced by the other three of my fab four — Matt, Becka and Sarah — and knowing that they would come at the drop of a hat is a comfort I wouldn’t trade for anything. (They could also be their own comedy troupe, so that doesn’t hurt either.)

There’s no reason to think Soph will be an only child. That’s my terrible “borrowing trouble” habit again. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (with about a gazillion other women in the world) and we needed a little help the first time around, but it wasn’t insurmountable then, clearly, and I pray that it won’t be again. But if it happens, I will do my very, very best to build her a support system she can count on, so she never knows what she’s missing.

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