Up until last week, I believed that one kid was the way to go. Every time I have to run after him to feed him, dress him, put him to bed (the list is endless), it reinforces my belief that one kid is enough to keep my maternal instinct busy. If you're a mum dealing with the terrible twos and threes, I bet you're nodding your head in agreement. "I'm good, thanks," is what I say everytime someone asks me about when we're planning a second baby.
But I'm not so sure anymore. Both my parents come from large families. Dad is one of six kids and mum is one of seven. Basically, that means that if my clan was to live in one house, we'd need a house the size of a small country. Lots of kids means lots of responsibility, lots of expenses and lots of time spent on parenting. Sure, parenting is a full-time job whether there's one kid or six, but imagine dealing with six adolescents in one lifetime. Unimaginable. I wonder how my grandparents did it.
But expenses, responsibility and time aside, a sibling means a support system for life. Last week my grandmother fell critically ill and had to be hospitalised. Only one out of dad's five siblings lives in Mumbai. Grandma was taken to the hospital at 9.30 in the night. By 2.30 am, four of her kids were in the city. By 7 am, all six of them were outside the ICU, each one a rock for the other. I saw my father crumbling at the thought of losing his mother. And no matter how much anyone else empathises, it is a pain that can be shared and understood by only a brother or sister.
As a young, educated and intelligent woman of the world, I believed that I had most of the answers. I thought I was keeping up with the times, that I was qualified to make better choices than our previous generations had. Now, I'm not so sure. I know I have a sister who's got my back no matter what happens in the future. I know I won't be alone even if, god forbid, something were to happen to our parents. All of us with siblings will agree that this knowledge is extremely comforting. Do I still want my child to be an only kid? I don't know.