Do only children pine for siblings? Most of the parenting world seems to think so. Parent-friends have warned me of the perils of leading my son down the dark and isolating path travelled by the only child. Armed with some incentive to find the truth, I began a very casual and non scientific study.
We had always imagined a family with two children... until the baby blues hit. And then postpartum. I'm sad my daughter won't have a sibling, but when it comes to having a second child, we've decided to let that ship sail. I know my capabilities, and I would rather be a great mom to Maddie than a stressed-out and exhausted mom to two.
Remember that Seinfeld episode where George Constanza learns to leave on a high note? That's what my wife and I have decided to do as parents. This astounds many people -- who often judgmentally tell us it's unfair to our son to deny him a sibling -- despite the increasing numbers of single-child families.
China's 4:2:1 problem is ours, too, just with a different name: A glut of people are growing old and there are fewer of us to pay for their care, while also having to save for our own retirement. At the personal level, there are more of us without siblings shouldering the costs of care for aging parents.