GUEST COLUMNIST: Reah Marshall decided on only one child

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We have decided that our son, Luca, will not have a brother or sister.

People usually have plenty to say when you mention this. I have heard numerous opinions from people stating that raising an only child will result in them being spoilt, isolated and emotionally stunted - as they do not have a sibling to play with, look up to, learn from and grow up with.

The ’only child syndrome’.As some of my readers will already know, both my hubby and I found the first year of our son’s life quite difficult. We experienced various complications (albeit minor in comparison to some) at the beginning; the lack of sleep, lack of help and the usual illnesses that all new parents experience. But without any help, it took its toll on us.

My hubby and I have only had one night out since Luca was born (my son is nearly 3 now) because we don’t have the hands-on, family network needed to support us. But it’s not all about the nights out or the spare time, it is also about receiving guidance and help.

This could just be someone popping round to offer a hand as you’ve had no sleep all week or the offer to sit with your child whilst you have a much needed shower. The reassurance of ‘it’s perfectly normal, don’t worry’ would also have been invaluable during the scary first few months.

So the decision process to not have a second child came down to the ‘triple f’: fear, finances and family.

We also wondered whether the stress and anxiety we might feel with a new child could affect our time with him.

Luca is the most important person in all this. Fortunately, he has a lot of friends at nursery and my friends have children he loves playing with - and we endeavour to give him all the love and attention he needs.

So our decision wasn’t really as difficult as we’d first thought.

We made the decision based on our family’s needs and our quality of life.