The only child – why I am done
My parents had two. My parents’ siblings had two. My own sister has two. I have one. I am a mother of the only child. The Black sheep. The outcast.
Or am I?
Did I want to have more than one child or the society wanted me to have the standard number? The question I kept asking myself for many years after my little boy Nick came along. The life divided into three phases: before Nick, after Nick, and after Nick got sick ( will expand on the last point in a minute). If you ask me why I have only one child, I will ask you back: ” Why did you have… kids ( insert your answer)? ”
Why we choose to become a ” the only child ” family
We have the only one because my life is comfortable this way. We travel. We homeschool. We spend a LOT of time together.
When we home-educate, I don’t have to split myself to cover each child’s needs for my attention. We are best friends. The three of us. The boys play golf together and I choose to use this time for myself, is it too selfish? I can focus on my businesses with or without him in the room. Could I do it with two kids? Some people do. I am not some people.
The original plan
See, before Nick arrived, me and Steven discussed that we would have two, maybe, or even three children. I really didn’t know why. To this day. I never wanted three kids but I planned them. W-H-Y? When Nick arrived, once I looked at his face, there was an overwhelming sense of harmony. Some unknown emotion that I was craving for. And all of a sudden, it came and I was fulfilled. It felt so natural that I quested myself how I lived without this feeling for so long. I looked into my little boy’s face, the answer was right there, in his eyes – I would never want anyone else. I could not understand how would it be possible to share such deep, almost hurtful love with someone else times and times more. See, I was the second child and apparently wanted. My mother told me that she did feel a burning desire to give birth again after having the first one. I WANTED to feel that desire too, but
I couldn’t. Some little boy stole my heart forever. It was left with NO space for extras.
” The after “we have had a baby life
The after phase involved all things new parents do. Nappies, sleepless nights, missing showers and cold coffees. There was NO room for considering another baby. I was not a lunatic to wish for it! Surviving on a few hours of rest, playing endless peek-a-boos with an ever bored newborn, oh boy, I felt very far from wanting to get pregnant again! Seriously? See, my mother waited for 5 years before she decided on the second one. I thought I had time. I really did. I was young enough. But then the third and most important phase happened. It is called After Nick Got Sick. Why is it the most important one? Well, here it is. Sometimes babies or more precise toddlers get unwell, they get all the attention. The common cure is Panadol and rest. We had a different case. When Panadol would not work.
What happened next
The “After we got sick” phase. I am going to use “we” instead of Nick from here onwards. It affected all of us. Not only him. It turned our household upside down and our hearts inside out. We were kicked in the guts. Soul ripped. Left bleeding. Our gorgeous boy, future sports champion, little Einstein/Edison/Aristotle ( you got the point) got very sick, doctors at one of the best Australian children’s hospital shook their shoulders and heads at us, saying there was nothing anyone could make it get better or even go away. You see, he contracted a viral infection just like any toddler, nothing out of ordinary, it was a perfect childhood cold. Until a week after when the weird symptoms took place, they attacked his perfect baby body in an imaginative way. The rush to the hospital, cat scans, MRI, blood tests. Two days later we were discharged with NO diagnosis. No one knew what was happening. Then three weeks came a letter in a mail ” Your son has a mild case of an acute cerebellitis”. I am sorry….Cerebe…what??? Full stop. No explanation. No suggestion. No treatment. Just a note to book the next appointment in three months to see his progress.
How do you deal with something that even a leading neurologist can not explain? At first, I did not. I resorted
to crying. A lot. It looked more like the end of the world rather than a written diagnosis. I began doing what
I did the best: researching on the Internet. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Not an unusual case, affects mainly children under the age of 3. They are supposed to overcome it in a few weeks and come back to being normal selves. We didn’t. It didn’t take us a few weeks, it took almost two years for his little body to stabilize itself again. All that time those leading pediatric neurologists were observing him. That was it. No treatment. No suggestion. Not even certainty for the future. Free OT and physiotherapy sessions. Wow! My beautiful boy who was the most daring child in the playground at a tender age of 2 needed a PHYSIOTHERAPY! Unspeakable! But that was Before the Infection. It is After now.
The dreams were crushed. More researching, reading, reaching out. More appointments, treatments, speech therapy, OT. We were doing OK but NOT OK ENOUGH. More researching. Looking for other people with the diagnosis. Dead end. NADA again.
Then he started a school. 2 years of an average boy reports. An unsuitable behavior daily. Red and yellow faces
on daily charts. Principal Office. Expelled for a day. Meeting with a special teacher that suggested an IQ test. New diagnosis no parent want to hear. Or read. Or have. Or deal with. Remember, he was born to become the greatest? Do the greatest have such diagnosis? More research. Edison was different. Einstein was different. Turned out all the greatest were different! We had a chance! Light at the end of a tunnel. The hope was born again.
Maybe what happened to my boy was a blessing in disguise. If it wasn’t for the unfortunate event, perhaps we would not lead the life we do now. Perhaps we would be like the majority, having a “secure” life, being trapped in a rat race considering it a normal reality. Fortunately, we had to look for answers “outside the square” which led us to alternative ways in everything we practiced: education, health, living arrangements, travels. Don’t get me wrong, I would give anything for my child to feel like a succeeding tweenager with a 100% healthy brain ( if there is such?). It is not a quick fix for him, it is a long – time progressive work.
At times we all have to look at things from a different perspective. In our family, this “some time” thing became
an everyday reality. We can’t do things normally because they are not. But we are working on them. Chipping away every day as it comes. Finding new paths, new ways to overcome obstacles and come out on the other end in one piece. All are learning curves. Because life is.