Have you ever noticed that once your first child turns two it is like a magical wand has been waved and then suddenly everyone is asking you “when will you be having another baby?” Surely it’s not just me? Clearly that is not the reason to start trying but it does seem to be around this time that parents start to wonder if they should. While I certainly can’t give you the answer, here are a few things that you may find yourself considering….
Money, money, money!
Yeah, that pesky little practical question of money. Same as with the first time around you may be looking at if you can even afford to go again. That may depend on you and your partners income, how long you have been back at work (if you went back), any savings you have or any debts you owe. You may also want to consider the cost of care for two children if you plan to return to work after having the baby and if it would be worth it – you may find yourself at home until the oldest is in school or kindergarten. This may not be the deciding factor but it’s worth having a look at it.
What’s your number?
There are a few numbers to consider here. The age gap you want between your children, how many children you plan to have and your own age.
First, that magical age gap that people love to debate. Just how big should you let that gap be? Well I know people with two under two, I know people who waited until their oldest would be in school and I know people with various gaps in between. You know what they all have in common? Whatever the gap, it has worked for them. You may think that there are pros and cons for each age but ultimately it will end up working out how it is meant to for your family. Aim for the gap you feel most comfortable with.
Second, how many children do you want to have overall? Sometimes we have a number in our head of what we would ultimately like to end up with but you’re just not sure if ‘right now’ is the right time in your life to be adding to it. Which links into the next point…
Third, what’s your age again? You’ve probably been nagged enough about ‘your ticking biological clock’ but I suppose I should mention that you may want to consider your age, particularly if you are approaching 35 (or are older) and had difficulty conceiving your first child. Or if you want a large family you may want to consider the time line. How old do you want to be when you give birth to your last child? It really is such a personal choice. I hear the stories of women who are aged 40 (or older) having children but it can’t hurt to have a chat with your doctor. I love celebrating birthdays but I must admit the last two have got me thinking….
Let’s get physical…
Is your body ready to go through pregnancy again? How soon has it been since having your first baby? Did you have a c-section? Did you know some doctors recommend waiting 18 months – 2 years post c-section before having another baby? Do you feel like you will be able to handle pregnancy and labour? Are you confident you can handle a baby and your current child? If you have any concerns in these areas perhaps start to identify ways to help you manage – while the sub-title may say physical, your mental health is very important too! It’s also recommended to get a general check up and see if there is anything that needs dealing with or improving before you start trying to conceive again otherwise you may have to hold off until after the birth and cause yourself further damage. This also includes dental work so book that check up!
Apparently that’s a thing. Feeling obligated to provide your first born with a sibling so they won’t be alone if something happens to you and so they don’t turn out to be a spoiled brat who can’t socialise with others. (To all the single child families out there I know that you can have wonderful children!) Clearly your parenting style and how you involve and raise your child will have more to do with how they turn out instead of just throwing a sibling at them. It may be nice to have a sibling for them and they may have a wonderful, close, long lasting relationship with them. Or they may end up in adulthood never speaking again – it happens. These little babies turn into grown up people with their own thoughts, values and personalities.
Just because society may be placing the pressure, listen to your instincts and throw the thoughts of obligation aside. No one is obligated to try for a baby so don’t let this be your deciding factor…. unless of course providing a sibling is something that you personally feel strongly about.
Are you even ready to ‘try’ again?
I don’t mean the whole deciding to try for another baby. I mean the actual process of ‘trying’. I didn’t know how draining and upsetting it could be to try for a baby and see that negative each month. The hardest was the month that I went way over and genuinely thought I was pregnant, waiting until potentially two weeks overdue before taking that test, only to discover it was negative. I was devastated. I didn’t know that my body could go what ended up being close to 50 days in a cycle. The next month was 29 days. Turns out I was a bit irregular. This time around I’m prepared for that. But I’m also even more aware of how much can go wrong and how easily you can ‘lose’ your baby. So I’m still kind of terrified.
What if this f***s everything up?
Looking back, I know I had a fairly easy baby with feeding and sleep compared to others (mastitis was my issue) and he was, most importantly, healthy. What if something is wrong with the next one? What if it is super difficult? What if it takes me away from my first child? I already feel super guilty with all these thoughts. I’m so happy with my child and our family – why would I want to risk ruining it?
Here is some more ‘Mum Guilt’ – will I love this child as much as my first? Will my first child now feel rejected? This guilt starts before you have even conceived – well for me anyway! Make your decision as best you can without letting anxiety and the unknown take over.
It takes two to make a baby!
While you are considering all this make sure you check in with your partner! You may spend all your time thinking about it, come to a decision and be upset when he says not yet (or simply, no). Or you may ask with no thought at all and he enthusiastically says yes and you suddenly find yourself not ready. Give it some thought, have a discussion and then think again. Decide this however you and your partner best work things out.
And once you’ve made your decision – another thing to consider!
Everyone is asking you “when are you having another baby?” How are you going to answer this? With straight up honesty, vague answers, creative comments or just tell them it’s not any of their business? You may have different responses for different people. Just make sure you and your partner are both on the same page to avoid any awkward moments.
So what’s the answer?
Look, a lot of these points are pretty much the same as when you started to think about having your first baby. It’s just that now you have another child to consider too. And if you want a third or fourth you will probably visit all these points again. Ultimately we don’t really know how any of this will turn out just as we didn’t know it the first time. So I can’t give you the answer. I can’t even tell you my own answer. But you will probably just know. Good luck!
Comments always welcome!
Are you currently making this decision – is it a struggle for you or easy?
Already dealt with this topic – leave your advice below!
*The information in this blog post is my own personal opinion and does not take the place of any professional advice – medical, financial or otherwise.