A letter to my only child.

I had you when I was thirty.  Your arrival was a source of great joy,  as I had recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and never thought I’d be well enough to be a mum.

As you grew from baby into toddler, I knew that  it was only a matter of time before  people would start to ask when I was planning to have another baby.  Daddy and I had decided that due to my health and a few other issues, it wouldn’t be wise for us to have a second child.  At times I felt sad about this, but I always reminded myself how  blessed I was to have one healthy child.

One day, I was chatting with another parent, when the conversation turned to how many children we wanted. When he discovered that I wasn’t planning to give you a sibling, he looked horrified and told me that  I was selfish and that he “could never do that to a child.”  I was so shocked that I couldn’t find the words to explain why  I had made such a difficult decision.

For a while, I was haunted by this conversation and started to believe that I was indeed a failure for having just one child.  All of my friends seemed to be having second and third children and I longed to do the same for you. But as you grew older and your personality began to shine, those feelings were dispelled. I realised there are good things about being an only child and that you seemed happy, independent and generally excited about life.

When I was young, I don’t remember ever feeling lonely and holidays are definitely more fun when there are two of you to build sandcastles.  My worst fear was and still is, that you, my only daughter, will experience lifelong loneliness. I  worry that as daddy and I grow older, you won’t have a sibling with whom you can share your concerns and eventually, your grief . We hope and pray that you will build  loyal friendships and that you will meet a warm, supportive partner with whom you can share your life.

I’ve always tried to prevent you from feeling  lonely by giving you plenty of chances to mix with other children; but as a sibling myself,  I will never know what it is really like to be an only child. However, I do know that I am extremely proud of you, my happy, creative, fun-loving daughter and that I will always do my best to give you every chance of happiness.

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Author: Anna Whitehouse

Copywriter and journalist with a side serving of poetry

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