Everyone knows that having a child flips the world upside down. If you already have a child, you know this well. But what if those difficult, hazy, sleep deprived early days are now a distant memory and you’re considering having a second? There are many pros and cons to having a second child, but it is not a decision to be made lightly. Carefully considering all of your options realistically is an important part of deciding whether or not it is time for a second pregnancy.
Can your body and mind handle it?
It is important to remember that every pregnancy is different. If you had an amazing pregnancy with baby #1 that does not mean that you will have the same experience with the second pregnancy. Many women describe their pregnancies as completely incomparable experiences. So don’t bank on repeating the same nine months as you did the first time!
It’s important to consider how different pregnancy will be while caring for a toddler. During your first pregnancy you were able to rest when you were tired and occasionally take a nap during the day. With the added responsibility of caring for your child, these opportunities greatly diminish. Second pregnancies tend to be less full of relaxing bubble baths, daytime naps and time spent elevating your feet!
Also, let’s not forget the reality that a second pregnancy leads to a second baby! Caring for a newborn while caring for a toddler is not an easy feat. With the second baby you won’t have the opportunity to sleep when the baby sleep, because your newborns naps will be precious alone time with your toddler. Physically, the second child can be even more grueling mentally and physically—but not always! Some parents confess that everything seemed easier with their second, simply because they had already done it before! Many moms experience greatly diminished anxiety with their second child. With the first child parents worry if their baby has slept unusually long and they are tempted to wake them up! This is a rarity with the second baby.
Can your finances handle it?
Having children is expensive. Not only are there pregnancy and birth related expenses but once the child is born there will be an ever growing list of needs for your child. Some parents count on baby #2 being cheaper, but this is not always the case. You can’t count on having the same gendered child so many of the pink princess onesies from baby #1 won’t work for your future son!
But sometimes the cost of the second child can be greatly reduced by reusing many of the baby items you already have from your first child. Also, as an experienced parent you know what baby items are true necessities and not just unnecessary expenses. You will be a smarter shopper for baby #2.
There is also the question of resource and space. Is there physical space in your home for the second child, or would having another baby require you to move? Is there enough space in your day for another baby? Some children are more demanding of their parents time and some careers are more time consuming than others. It’s important to consider whether a second child would require you to drastically sacrifice any nonnegotiable aspects of your life.
Can you family handle it?
Having another child will dramatic change the dynamic of your current family. Your first child will go from being the center of attention to sharing the lime light. Whether your toddler is still in diapers or you have a school aged child, it will still be a big transition. Your spouse will also have to share your attention with another wonderful little human being. Knowing the temperament of your child is important when considering making them an older sibling. Just because it might be a rough transition isn’t always reason not to it—but it is an important factor in deciding the timing. Maybe your child would probably adjust better when they’re a little older? Or maybe having them close together will foster a doubly close relationship?
Recognizing that having another baby will drastically change your life all over again is an important part of considering a second pregnancy. If you take into account the various physical, mental and financial impacts that baby #2 will have on your family will be better equipped to make the right decision. Giving your child the chance to be a big brother or sister is a wonderful gift. Adding another bundle of joy to your family unit might just be the best decision you ever make!
Featured photo credit: Ben Grey via flickr.com