Only Child Syndrome

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Interesting factoid about me; I am an only child. Ok it’s not that interesting. But what is interesting, and rather ironic now that I live in the land of IF, is the fact that I was an accident. At best, I was the accidental product of a casual relationship and an unprotected night, at worst I am the product of a one night stand. My mom and dad worked with each other, so they weren’t just a couple of randoms, but I don’t know that they were a couple. They were young, they worked with a lot of young people, they liked to party, and it was the 80’s. My mom has never outright said that he was her boyfriend, but I don’t think she wants me to think I am the product of a one night stand. I think she’s a bit of an idiot for getting pregnant by accident, but otherwise I’m not overly bothered.

My mom was 28 years old when she had me, so she wasn’t an irresponsible teenager. She had a good job, and even though she found herself pregnant out of wedlock, which in that time raised some eyebrows, she knew she wanted me, it wasn’t a question. She told my dad, but he isn’t actually from here, so he went back home to B.C. and my mom became a single parent. Every year at my birthday she loves to regale me with the story of when I was born. My god mom (my mom’s best friend) was her birth coach, and when I came out my mom proclaimed, “I got my baby girl”. She was a proud mama, and supported by all of her friends, family and coworkers.

So, that is part of the reason I don’t talk to my mom about my IF struggles, is because there is no way she could understand. And I may have actually said to her (speaking about a friend of mine), “I don’t understand how someone can get accidentally pregnant?!”. Oops, forgot who I was talking to. I think this makes her feel worse, that I was an accident, and now her accident can’t procreate even under normal circumstances, let alone on a fluke.

My mom never got married, so it was always just her and I. I had a very awkward relationship with my dad. I talked to him around my birthday and holidays. I went to visit him twice, once when I was 4 and once when I was around 13. We didn’t have a real father-daughter relationship. It was more like a distant relative, you know that one that you keep in touch with just because they’re your family and they send you a cheque for your birthday and Christmas. Once I was in my late teens contact started to wane, and now it’s been probably 3 or more years since there’s been any contact. I’m sure he still lives in the same address, and my grandma (his mom) probably does to, but I really have nothing to say to these people that I don’t know.

So sometimes people give me a sad face, or say “aw that’s too bad you didn’t have a relationship with your dad”. But to be honest, I don’t really care. I know that may sound harsh, but my parents didn’t choose to have me, and at the time my dad didn’t want to partake, but my mom did so fine, fair enough. When I was younger my mom and I lived in the basement apartment of my Aunt and Uncles’ two level split house, so we spent a lot of time with them and my cousins. My Uncle was the closest thing to a father figure. He taught me how to drive, he helped me with homework, I went to Disneyland with him, my Aunt and my cousins. They are an extension of my immediate family.

Sadly my Uncle passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in October of 2006, I believe he was 43 years old. I don’t have a relationship with my father, but my Uncle was the closest thing to having a dad around. He has two boys, who are like my brothers, and I was his little girl. When he died it was what I would imagine it’s like to lose a parent. I don’t know how I kept breathing when I found out, my body just made me. Even now, it is so hard not having him around. He would have walked me down the aisle at my wedding, but he wasn’t there. I can only say I am glad he got to meet my husband. He died 5 months after J and I started dating, so they didn’t know each other well. J will never know about my Uncle, and what I loved so much about him, but he knows that he is very dear to my heart, and if we ever have a son, our son will bear my Uncles’ name.

Sorry, I digress, I have to wipe away the tears and continue. So, because my mom never married, or found a serious life partner, I never got a sibling. Which again, people sometimes feel bad for me that I have no sibling, or when they find out I am an only child, they say “really?!” like it something shocking. But again, something I never had, so how can I feel like I am missing out? I grew up close to the daughter of my mom’s best friend as we were born mere months apart. My extended family is fairly small, so I’ve always been fairly close with all of my cousins too. I went to sleep overs with friends, and had a normal childhood. I learned to entertain myself, and play alone. Perhaps it’s why I am a bit of an introvert. Looking back I can see how it would have been nice to have someone to grow up with, but when I was a kid I just saw how annoying my friends siblings were.

Now that I am grown and married, I have siblings-in-law, though I realize it’s not the same at all, they are both awesome and annoying to have. Much like I would imagine blood siblings to be. I can also see there is a sibling dynamic that I will never understand, and that I am different because I am an only child. I didn’t realize until I was in a serious relationship with J, but I did suffer a bit from “Only Child Syndrome”. Growing up on my own has made me a bit aloof, and sometimes anti social. And although I like to think of myself as a giving person, I am still working on being less self centred. I still sometimes suck at sharing, and don’t always like to compromise. It wasn’t until I chose to live my life with another person that I gained a clearer perspective into myself.

I’d like to think that I am not one of those stereo typical narcissistic, attention seeking only children people think of when they find out you have no sibling. I feel that because I grew up in a single parent household, it somewhat balanced me out. I’ll admit I was spoiled when I was younger, but as I got older and cost my mom more money I didn’t necessarily get everything I ask for. We moved to a more affluent city when I was in sixth grade, and this put into a harsher perspective that other kids had more than me. It didn’t overly bother me, and I made friends with these other kids despite our different upbringings. I have worked since the age of 15 and paid for everything I wanted, including putting myself through university. So I became independent early on in life and have stayed that way ever since. I even have a hard time giving some things over to J, because I usually want to do everything for myself.

Since we’ve started (in)fertility treatments, we’re realizing we may not have, or want to pursue having more than one child. At first I didn’t have an issue with this. One child is less expensive, then we can devote our full attention to raising that one child right. But I can see the effect it’s had on me, while not all bad, it would be nice to have two children, so that they have each other. It may not be a dilemma I have much say in if my body is going to be this difficult. J told me after our first IUI that if this is what it took, he didn’t want more than one child (he was being a little over dramatic, we had a bad time that day). But it may be the case. Then I have to try and overcome the Only Child Syndrome in my own child. Is it easier since I know the life? Perhaps. But I guess we have to get pregnant with one first. These are the musings I have while waiting, waiting for my time.

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4 thoughts on “Only Child Syndrome

  1. I have a an older brother and a sister and we were raised by mom who was married to my producer (an alcoholic and I don’t really know anything but that about him) and finally kicked him out when I was about 4. I was always told that I was an accident of some sort, too, and I don’t think that’s good thing to tell any kid. I’m sure my mom didn’t think it would do any harm to me. My mom raised us all by herself and she never remarried nor had a boyfriend ever again. My siblings and I have a strained relationship and it always felt like I was an only child when growing up. I’m a bit of an introvert and anti-social at times myself, but I think that has to do more with how I felt about myself growing up and feeling self-conscious half the time than having been alone like an only child. I think my husband and myself would feel lucky at this point to have at least one child and a puppy at some point. Even when you have an only child you can raise them to be social-able little humans plus they get to do so much more since you don’t have to spend tons of money on a bunch of other kids. So, you see, you are not the only one pondering about this sort of stuff 😉 waiting, waiting, waiting with you 🙂

    • Yeah, I think about these things, but first I have to be able to have one to even consider a second ha ha. I am also a nurture over nature person, I think your biologics will play somewhat of a part in who you are, but if I raise my child to be a giving, caring person then it shouldn’t matter if they are an only child. Hopefully…I don’t think it “screwed me up” but I know I am a bit different than those with sibs.

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