Pros to Raising an Only Child

Pros to raising an only child

only child

Choosing to have a child is a big decision to make. It doesn’t matter if it’s a first, second, or seventeenth child, you should make that choice because YOU actually want that child.

I want you to note that I’m talking about purposeful procreation, here. I understand not everyone “makes” this choice for a variety of their own situational reasons. Sometimes the baby making isn’t consentual. Sometimes, like my friend, Alea found out, your birth control doesn’t work quite like you were hoping it would because of medications taken, or another reason. There are also religions that deny birth control measures (which also don’t always work) in their faith that God should be the one to decide when life is created.

But in the event that life hands you no surprises, the decision to have a child should be yours (and your partner’s), and no one else’s. Right?

Not everyone agrees, I suppose. I’ve received many a comment, often from complete strangers, who feel that they know better than myself what it is that my family needs. (I went on a bit of a rant about it here.)

Right now seems like prime time for many of the families who had their first alongside us to start planning for their second child. It’s so wonderful seeing these new smiles and excitement and baby bumps parading around. I have to admit, I’m a little bit envious. I’m one of those women who LOVED being pregnant. I felt pretty amazing and super healthy, most of the time, and would love to be pregnant again… if there was no recovery and no more babies to come out of it.

Before our little one was born, I was adamant that yes, we did HAVE to have at least two children. You simply could not have an only child. You HAD to have a sibling.

At that point I wanted two (or maybe three) children in our family, and my husband wasn’t completely against having two. (Three on the other hand…)

Now my outlook has changed. My whole idea of family and what that means has developed into my own personal experience of love, laughter and frustration.

Pros to Raising an Only Child

Family is a personal experience. It’s so different for each little (or large) unit.

In our own little nest our intentions have changed. Certainly part of this is to do with the whole unfortunate cesarean (non)recovery. So many parenting decisions are made by looking at risk vs. benefit, and for us it’s a bit of a scary gamble.

But the big thing is just the way we feel.  Now our family feels complete at one.  It feels whole, and our vision of the path ahead seems clearer.

The three of us make a very happy family, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

There are definitely some cons to this only child scenario, too, and I’m sure I’ll find some of them as we go along. But for every challenge, there will be a solution. With friends and community, I believe little Z can be raised to share, socialize, and communicate just as well as a child with siblings.

In the mean-time, though, for myself and any other parent out there that has made the decision to raise an only exclusive child, I have written up this list.


Pros to Raising an Only Child Exclusive Child


only child
Hanging our cloth diapers to dry. Any interest in trying cloth? Read this post here on what it’s all about and how to get started.


1. No more diapers. I’m not going backwards in the potty training department. Once little miss is using the potty consistently, I will be done with diapers, and I’m not looking back.


Traveling with an only child
Little Z on her first plane ride, heading to New York City!


2. Travel. Seeing all the wonderful places to find in the world is a big part of our dreams. With one child, yes – it will still be expensive – but one extra airplane ticket is a lot more achievable than two. We could travel with Baby Z, and share the world with her. I think it could be fantastic to experience so many different places and cultures as you grow up. (If family travel is on your list, too, check out these tips on plane travel with a toddler.)


MyMayu waterproof boots for toddlers
We love our MyMayu boots, but they were just one of the many purchases that we made to equip our little lady with what she needed. It all adds up!


3. Speaking of affordable, how about only buying one lunch box. One bike. One bed. One car seat. One backpack. One Pirate Pack (or your local child-sized dining experience). You can’t cut the cost of raising two children completely in half when you have an only child, but it is a heck of a lot cheaper.

By the way, I used to say to my hubby pre-pregnancy that “babies don’t (have to) cost anything”. Unfortunately I get that rubbed in my face fairly often. I may have been a little off in my estimate.


Pros to raising an only child
Little Z giving her good buddy a friendly hug.


4. No sibling rivalry. What’s that? Your kids are at eachother’s throats, or constantly getting themselves into more trouble as a team? Tell me again that I “need” to have more than my one and only child, while your little duo tries to poke each other’s eyes out.


Only child

5. I get to play the savior. Being the only kid around, even if your parents are involved with you, could be lonely. So I don’t mind having another little one in my care when needed, and we’ll make a point of allowing our little one to invite a friend along on fun outings, trips and even just over to play. This means that while my little one is learning important lessons about sharing and friendship, and being entertained with her friend, I get to look like the good guy for taking the kids for a while.


6. One RESP. One child means focussing on saving for and supporting our spawn through one post-secondary education. Which isn’t cheap.


raising an only child with her own room
These banners I made decorate the room our little one will have, all to herself, for as long as we live here. I had so much fun decorating and filling the room with useful and beautiful things (which is often too messy to take a good shot).


7. Bigger housing options. One child means one bedroom. One bedroom means the even in a 2-bedroom home we would each still have our own rooms.  Not that siblings can’t share a room, but there comes a point where two children (especially different genders) will want their own room. Our home is fairly small, and we love it. We’re not interested in moving somewhere bigger in the foreseeable future.


8. Avoiding the mini-van dilemma. With one car seat in the back of our SUV, we could either take one adult comfortably, two adults copied up, or one more car seat, with me and my baby-daddy up front. If we had another full-time car seat back there, that’s it for carpooling.


I know there are a lot of wonderful people out there planning for and enjoying their multi-offspringed families, and I’m very happy for them living their own unique versions of life. But a family is a family on their own terms, and for us, we’re content to be three.

Whatever your situation, you have your own pros. Go find them and let those be your focus.

Are you raising an only child? What do you love about it, and what makes it harder for you? Share in the comments below, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

11 thoughts on “Pros to Raising an Only Child

  1. Brandee

    Great list! I have never understood why people think it is ok to comment on how many children you have. Yes, I am absolutely ruining my son’s life by giving him time, experiences and opportunities he simply wouldn’t have with a sibling. 😉
    PS. It is an awesome ferling to be done with potty training and diapers forever! Ha.

    1. Hannah Post author

      Thanks, Brandee! Sometimes it’s hard for people to see that their realities are not for everyone. If everyone’s happy and not hurting anyone, awesome! We’re happiest this way.

  2. Jennifer

    Thank you for your post. We had our little girl later in life due to fertility issues. I was 37 at time of birth. Everyone is pressuring me to go for number 2 quick as I am 38 and she just has to have a sibling. While I am feeling blessed and happy with my one little miracle who I can devote myself to.

    1. Hannah Post author

      I understand how hard it is, when someone else (many others) are telling you you have to have another. That’s so completely untrue. Pros and cons to both sides, and in our case, I couldn’t be happier with our family of three (even if I was set on three babies originally). There’s just so much more we can do with one child!

  3. Melissa

    There’s tons of things that are great about only having one child! A few from my view (daughter is 7 & just started 3rd grade): never being out-numbered by my kids, and not having to split my time – I can *always* sit in my daughter’s bed for bedtime and come to her in the middle of the night if she needs me, I don’t have to go to a different classroom or make one sibling hang around while the other has an activity, and I don’t have to worry about being “fair” which means that sometimes I splurge on buying her nicer things than I could if I had to buy for 2 or 3 (and it doesn’t matter if it’s baby girl pink because it’s not going to get handed down to a younger brother).
    A few things I feel bad for her about: not having anyone to play with while on vacation, or during the summer when friends are away, that she will have to make all the decisions herself when we get old/need care (though this is also good as she won’t have anyone to argue with).
    Having a second child was in our plan too, but that changed when we were in a car crash when she was 5 months old that sent us into depression, anxiety and physical pain which took 4 years to recover from. There was no way we were going to cope with another baby so we decided to just stick with our exclusive child (love that term!!)

  4. Ann-Marie B. Zammit

    I was set on having four(!!!!). Had my daughter via C-section and as they lifted her from my body, I decided I was done with one. And the backlash from family, friends, and strangers continues to this day (she is 5 years old). “Oh but you make such beautiful children, what a shame to stop at one!” “You need to try for a boy to carry on the family name!” “She will be so lonely! That’s cruel of you to deny her a sibling.” I wish people would mind their own business. Our little family is happy and healthy and that’s all that should matter.

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  6. C. B.

    Thank you so much for this post!! I have an amazing 5 year old son and we always planned for a second but with secondary infertility and multiple miscarriages I do believe that we are finished – even though I never really got closure that having an exclusive child was a decision I could make.

    I agree with all of your points, it is wonderful being able to give him my attention and we have been blessed to be able to travel with him and do many things that we may not be able to do with multiple children. I love him and we are like the 3-amigos who do everything together. I pray that this will continue when he is grown.

    I do struggle with the fear that my son will be lonely – because I am not one to have a giant social circle and I find I have to push myself from my more introverted comfort zone. I also struggle when my unknowing 5 year old asks why his friends have siblings but he does not. It is just really nice to know that I am not alone.

    1. Hannah Post author

      It is nice to know you’re not alone! Thank you for your comment. I try to be honest with my 5-year-old and we talk openly about our lives, so she’s never actually asked why she doesn’t have siblings. Although… you never know what’s coming out of that little mouth next.

  7. The Kebbeh Family Has Arrived

    I’m late to this post but agree 100%. I am 42 and mother to an 8-year old. I decided after he was born that I was done. I struggled with pregnancy discomfort, threats of miscarriage, failed induction that ended in c-section, postpartum depression and a partner that spent weeks on the road for work. In order to have SANITY, I decided one was enough. My partner, however, did not share that. He wanted at least one more. It took years for him to accept my decision. And yes, it was my decision because it’s MY body. I told him that we could separate so that he could pursue his dream of additional children. I wouldn’t dare try to stand in his way of seeking happiness. But as I see it, if I was supposed to make a decision solely based on his desires, I shouldn’t have been given a brain of my own. To this day I don’t regret the decision and believe I am better off emotionally, mentally and financially because of it.

    1. Hannah Post author

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I am sad for all the pain that separating must have brought, but so glad you stayed true to yourself and your body for what you as a human being needed. Sometimes being strong for ourselves is being strong for everyone around us. I’m sure things would not have turned out positive if you went along with his needs and disregarded your own. Sending love to you.


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