You know when you read a quote in a newspaper or magazine, and think “That could have come straight from my mouth”? Well, I felt exactly that way this week when I peeked at an interview with actress and producer Drew Barrymore.
She features as the cover star on the September issue of In Style magazine and declares her intentions to have more children, siblings for her daughter Olive who was born last September.
“I was an only child, and it was lonely,” she says in the article that accompanies her 7th cover shoot for the magazine. “Some people love it and thrive on the independence, but I want my kids to have other kids around. Maybe two kids so they can run around life together, roll their eyes at their parents together like Rusty and Audrey Griswold from [National Lampoon’s] Vacation. So however that’s going to come about, it’s gonna happen!”
Like Drew, I’m an Only and I was determined that no matter what, history would NOT repeat itself — that if I was lucky enough to have kids, there would be more than one. After my son was born, I started to think about baby #2 and broached the idea with my husband. To my horror, he wasn’t initially that keen. “Are we having another kid just because of your issues with your childhood?” he asked. “Is that a good enough reason to have another child?”
I wanted to scream “YES! Of course it is.” But maybe he had a point. Was I being selfish?
I should add that I come from a broken family. My parents divorced when I was 3. In fact, I never lived with them together as they split up whilst my Mom was pregnant with me. As they got back together and broke up (several times before I even reached double figures), I dreamt about having a sibling to share all this with. Every letter to Father Christmas featured “I would love a sibling” at the top of the list. I just wanted someone to understand what I was going through and to tell me things would be okay.
So why do folks have more than one child? After all, you only need one kid to experience parenthood. A quick poll of my friends suggested a variety of reasons: “I want my kids to experience a big family, especially at Christmas”; “Two can play together and keep each other company”; “I want my kid to have someone else from their era to grow with and have around when we die”; and finally, “Family members told me it was selfish of me to have a only child — to put my child and his need for a sibling before my own happiness.”
But does having more than one child actually put more stress on our marriage/partnerships?
According to Robin Simon of Wake Forest University, it sure does. She surveyed well-being data from 13,000 respondents, and in a 2005 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, published her findings that adults with children experience depression and unhappiness in greater numbers than non-parents. However, a quick Google search shows that for every study that states that parenthood and marital satisfaction decrease with each child born, there is one stating that people are happier after the birth of their second child.
At the end of the day, it is simply a personal choice. I can’t really explain why I was so intent on having two children, just as I can’t explain why I would be horrified to get pregnant again, as I know I simply couldn’t cope with 3 children. What works for one person would be a nightmare for another. Sometimes circumstance is the reason: marriages break up before parents have another child (as my parents did), or parents cannot afford the cost of another baby.
More and more I see friends who are having only one child, and yet they have to defend this choice to everyone. Even strangers will comment on the fact they should really have more. So whilst I wish Drew all the best with her growing brood, I thought I’d celebrate parents who chose to have an Only. Whilst it wasn’t what I wanted for my own childhood, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had had siblings.
Check out the slideshow below of famous stars and their own children. Their Onlys look pretty happy, don’tcha think?
Drew Barrymore on the cover of the September issue of InStyle Magazine. 1 of 11
Drew talks about motherhood, approaching 40, and gracing InStyle's cover for the 7th time — more than any other star!
Photo credit: InStyle
Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise 2 of 11
Suri Cruise is the only daughter of actress Katie Holmes and Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise (although she does have step-siblings). She was born in 2006 and her parents split up in 2012. Suri, known for her fantastic wardrobe, lives in New York with Katie.
Kate Beckinsale and her daughter Lily, with Kate’s husband Len. 3 of 11
Kate Beckinsale is a mom of one. In 1999, she gave birth to her daughter, Lily, with her then boyfriend, actor Michael Sheen. She went on marry director Len Wiseman in 2004. She is pictured above with her daughter Lily and husband Len, all dressed up to celebrate Halloween.
Kate Moss and Lila Grace, with Jamie Hince. 4 of 11
Kate Moss, pictured above with her husband Jamie Hince, had her daughter Lila Grace in 2002 with her then boyfriend Jefferson Hack. While the media constantly speculates that Kate might be pregnant again, so far she has only the one child.
January Jones and Xander 5 of 11
Famously, January Jones has never revealed who the father of her gorgeous son Xander is. He was born on September 13th 2011.
Courtney Cox and Coco 6 of 11
Coco Cox Arquette was born in June 2004 to Courtney Cox and David Arquette. Her godmother is none other than Courtney's BFF from Friends, Jennifer Aniston. Cox and Arquette seperated in 2010 and divorced in 2013. Both share joint custody of Coco.
Jenny McCarthy and Evan 7 of 11
The View presenter Jenny McCarthy married John Asher late in 1999. They had a son, Evan Joseph, born on May 18, 2002, who was diagnosed with autism in 2005. McCarthy and Asher divorced in September 2005. McCarthy went on to date actor Jim Carrey, but they split in 2010. Rumor has it that she is now dating Donnie Wahlberg.
Christina Aguilera and Max 8 of 11
Songstress Christina was married to music executive Jordan Bratman for 5 years, and their marriage dissolved in 2010, but they share joint custody of their son Max, who is 5 years old.
Liv Tyler and Milo 9 of 11
Lord of the Rings star Liv Tyler married Royston Langdon of band Spacehog in 2003, and they had son Milo the following year. They broke up in 2008, but through representatives stated that they remained on good terms.
Calista Flockhart and Liam 10 of 11
Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart adopted her son Liam as an infant in 2001, shortly before she started dating actor Harrison Ford. She and Ford married in 2010 and raise Liam together.
Michelle Williams and Matilda 11 of 11
Michelle Williams famously met Heath Ledger on the set of Brokeback Mountain. They fell in love and had daughter Matilda in 2005, with co-star Jake Gyllenhall taking the role of Matilda's godfather. The couple broke up in 2007, shortly before Heath Ledger tragically died in January 2008. Matilda lives with Michelle in New York.
All photos credited to Pacific Coast News, except where indicated.