IN PRAISE OF THE ONLY CHILD
Flic Everett is an only child, and so is her son...
If you're asking 'Should I have another baby?' Flic Everett has a strong argument for having an only child...
‘Obviously you’ll be thinking about another,’ people would say, as soon as my son turned one. I was baffled by this. One child was fine by me, because I’d grown up an only child and never for a moment felt I was missing out. My parents were in their early twenties when they had me. They were cool, young 70s Bohemians, so I got used to being put to bed to the sound of Simon & Garfunkel, and meeting all kinds of interesting people when they dropped in for drinks.
My mum was excellent at imaginative playing (lots of dolls’ cafes and hospitals took place), my dad took me swimming and to the park, and for the times when I wanted to be with someone equally small, well, that’s what friends are for.
I watched my mates’ teenage rows with their siblings in horror. Often, it took years for the simmering animosity to die down, not to mention the low self-esteem from ‘not being the pretty one’ or feeling in competition with their brilliant siblings.
The idea of a lonely only, watching sadly as others play, is alien to both of us.
I had my own battles, of course, but being an Only meant nobody could ever compare me with someone else, or pigeonhole me in a limiting family role.
So when I had my own baby, also in my early twenties, I felt perfectly complete. My son has had a mildly chaotic, interesting life and formed very strong relationships with both other children and adults. He never asked me why I hadn’t had another and, after his dad and I broke up, it was never mentioned again. The idea of a lonely only, watching sadly as others play, is alien to both of us. We were a bit precocious, maybe, because we spent so much time with adults. But we’re also very good indeed at entertaining ourselves when we need to. And that’s surely no bad thing.
:: Read Ami Amin's counter piece 'I Am An Only Child and Here's Why I Don't Want To Have An Only Child' here.