My parents chose to have one child for several reasons. The main two:
1. Money. They barely had any as is. More mouths to feed would be an impossible feat.
2. DNA. Both sides are not exactly models of genetic perfection. Considering some of the stuff floating around within the last couple generations, they felt almost lucky that I got away with an allergy to sunlight, mild IBS, and anxiety.
My dad said “She’s got ten fingers and ten toes and doesn’t get sick much and does well in school. Let’s not roll the dice again.”
3. Stress, this going also with #1. My parents do not always handle stress all that well and they like their quiet time. (Is it any wonder where I got it…)
From my POV: (more data, if you’d like it, though I know you’re one too)
Being an only child was good. I don’t feel I was spoiled because my family had no extra resources with which to spoil me, but I do feel that my parents are not the big family type and would have struggled much more. I would have lost a lot of opportunities. Never been able to learn a lot of the skills I got to learn because while resources were basic, I never had to compete for them. I feel better off because of that.
I am a socially anxious introvert, but I know people from massive families who are the same, I suspect I would have been an introvert one way or another, and being an only child was much less stressful than I think having siblings would have been, given that. There’s something about knowing that what’s yours is yours that does not soften you, but in fact makes you more confident and secure, in my opinion.
I know people who have great connections with siblings but are basically unable to entertain themselves and become miserably bored every time no one wants to hang out with them. I have no such difficulty and am very choosy about my friends as a result – they have to be better than being with just me, which is pretty good.
I had a few close friends that taught me all the stuff about sharing and whatnot you’re supposed to learn from siblings, I don’t feel like I missed out at all. My best friends are like siblings I chose due to awesome ness, and from whom I can get away if I want to.
I feel like interacting more with adults than people my age for large chunks of my history made me more eloquent and curious.
Yes, I had an imaginary friend. Secret? I still do. 100% beneficial and awesome. I almost feel bad for people without them.
The main downside is I can’t handle yelling. In a small family, yelling is always serious, there’s no “yelling just to be heard” and I am naturally sensitive to start with. This has been an issue with FH, as he is one of 7 and will yell at the drop of a hat because it’s just normal. That freaks me right out.
Anyway I’m quite happy and well adjusted, if a bit odd to some, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. If I weren’t childfree, I’d probably be having just one, because I thought it was awesome.