Deciding whether or not you are ready for a second child is a big decision. A REALLY big decision. Regardless of how you’ve pictured and planned your life, when it comes time to make it happen, there are some major factors to consider before you know you are ready for a second child. Among them are how it will affect your health, time, finances and existing family dynamic. We’re exploring each of these aspects of being ready for a second child today.
Even if you have children close together, by the time you consider having a second child, you are a little older and your body has been through at least one pregnancy already. Each pregnancy is different so even if your first was easy, your second could be laden with negative symptoms or even bed rest. Think about your personal health and whether or not you can handle carrying another baby. When you are mulling over the possibility of another child, consult your physician for a medical opinion.
Also, consider the research regarding the age gap between your children and how it may impact your health and that of your baby. A second baby born within 18 months of a first or beyond five years of the first is more likely to be premature than those who wait longer. The healthiest period between babies is two to three years, which gives your body time to readjust and your baby will probably have the best outcome too.
Time and Lifestyle
Once you figure out how to juggle your life with one child, you’ll have to think about how a second child will impact your time and lifestyle. If you have returned to work, you may feel even more torn between work and family with a new baby at home. You may be enjoying hobbies again or spending more time with your partner, which will probably have to take a back seat when you are managing the constant care of an infant. And don’t forget the sleep deprivation too. Weigh these lifestyle factors with the joy and fulfillment you would get from having a second child. If you choose not to take the plunge, don’t feel selfish. It’s better to have truly thought through your desires than to jump in blindly.
As you already know, having children can be expensive. You and your partner must consider how a second will affect your bank account. Hopefully you can reuse many of your baby items and you know more about which ones are important or not. But some items will need to be purchased or replaced and there is the cost of childcare too. Also, think through the space you have in your home and the cars you drive. If having a second child will cause you to need to move or get new vehicles, those are major extra expenses.
The intricacies of every family are different and only you and your partner know whether a new baby can fit into yours. Besides thinking about everyone’s personalities and emotional needs, also consider your values. If you are a traveling family or always on-the-go, a new baby may slow you down a bit or could just make your adventures more interesting. It all depends on how you look at it.
Studies show the ideal times for having a second child based on family dynamics are either before your first is 1 and can really understand what’s happening, or around 4 years after the first when your older child can fully grasp the concept of a sibling but also has his own life established. Remember, just like pregnancies, every baby and child is unique. Your first may have been an easy baby and a calm, obedient child but the opposite might be true of your second. Don’t count on anything working out the same when you are considering how a new baby will change your family dynamics.
We hope these factors help you as you decide whether you are ready for a second child. There are also many fun quizzes you can take online that may bring up some questions and topics you had not considered. Take one with your partner as a basis for the second child discussion. Good luck!