Single child guilt

A friend of mine recently lost a very close relative. It’s the first time she’s experienced what we all, eventually, experience in some way, thanks to the weird, wonderful and sometimes woeful cycle of life we’re signed up for at birth.

But there’s something in the conversations that she and I had that’s stuck with me. I feel like I'm giving my daughter a destiny of feeling alone, and it sucks. I’ll explain why.

'Destiny of feeling alone'

When my mom and dad died, as awful as the loss was, I did not feel it alone. I still don’t, because I have two older siblings who also lost their mom and dad. There is a weird comfort in knowing that your pain is the same as someone else’s.

With my kid, when I or her dad die (and - life - let that be in a very distant future, where I can be cryogenically frozen and reanimated when appropriate) she will not have that. 

She is, and probably always will be, an only child. Now, there are very specific reasons for this. Mostly, they’re financial (because, honestly, have you seen the price of nappies, recently?) but they’re also emotional.

I've never been entirely sure if I want to reproduce again, and our current family status on it is a firm no. 

A puddle of guilt

Will she berate me for this choice one day? I hope not. But I do know she has a large family of cousins to lean on, who are more like sisters and brothers than indirect relatives. It’s still not quite the same though, because they would lose an aunt, and she’d lose her mother. 

I ended up in a puddle of guilt over this, and I've not been quite able to steer my way out of it yet.

Do I want to have another child? Can we afford it? Do I feel capable? All three questions have firmly negative responses for me but I still can’t escape the inner monologue that says: "You’re leaving her alone one day, you cow".

Most importantly, and this is the abiding emotion I have – would we want to expand our family out of love, or would it be done out of guilt over something I feel might happen in the future? Who would I be reproducing for – me? My kid? The new kid? Don’t we have a global overpopulation problem already?

The only resolution I can find to this weird web of emotion is to commit to making memories with my kid. Whether it’s ingraining a turn of phrase into her life so that she will always feel reminded of me when she hears or says it, or it's a life of photographs she can hold close at night.
I resolved, from the day she was born to write all her life down and give it to her to keep. Because, one day, in a far and distant future nobody ever wants to think about, she’ll be like me, reading letters from her parents, and missing them. 

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Do you have single child guilt? Would you expand your family because of it?
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