02/06/2015 8:24 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Must I Really Have A Second Child?

Mother and child
Cristian Sabau via Getty Images
Mother and child

It is a fact universally taken for granted that any married woman with a child who has crossed two years of age must/should be looking to produce another offspring. This, at least, has been what I have experienced ever since my little one turned three.

As much as I love my little girl, she has been a tough child to bring up. At the cost of sounding like a pessimist who is forever cribbing as to what a mammoth task it is to raise a child, I will say that the last three years of my life as a parent were not a joy ride. Of course, there were moments of absolute bliss taking shape in the form of a sweet kiss, a little hand clutching yours for comfort, unbridled peals of laughter, mommy-daughter bear hugs and so on.

But the hardships too were numerous. It has not been a smooth road. There have been days when my patience level reached its saturation point, when I have asked myself whether I am not a good enough mom for my child. Then just as my life comes to a sort of normalcy and when I can see an iota of independence peeping through in my little girl, I am thwarted with another piece of "advice" from society at large. It literally pierces my spirit.

The advice that comes to me from all nooks and corners is, "Have a second baby. Your daughter is now three." Well, yes my daughter is three plus, yes she is beginning to be a little independent. But, no, I do not feel the calling to be a mom yet again. Am I being selfish in depriving my child of the joys of having a sibling? Am I being selfish if I feel that I would not do justice to the second kid because my frustrations would spill over and my children would end up bearing the brunt of it? Am I being selfish if I feel that I should now do something for myself after a long spell of being with my firstborn around the clock?

Most mothers face this dilemma and many end up succumbing to the pressure. I believe that though it is indeed wonderful for your child to have a sibling, it is equally imperative for the parents, most significantly the mother (as we are the ones who have to actually bring forth the new life) to be absolutely certain of what she wants. There is no evidence to back the theory that a single child becomes a loner, is spoiled and lacks social skills. If anything, research shows that single children are happier (and happiness declines the more siblings there are), and in fact enjoy an advantage in school and extra-curricular activities. Ultimately, it is you and only you who should take the call. After all raising a child is the most difficult job in the world. Isn't it?

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