Are you ready for a second child?

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Your answer is NO. On Monday.

By Thursday you’re leaning toward Yes but perhaps not until…

Well, let's face it, there’ll never be a perfect time to make this decision.

Life’s always full of surprises, with it’s fair share of ups and downs. If you wait for all the stars to align, you’ll be waiting for a reaally looong time.

For example, my husband and I are in a comfort zone right now. Peace is part of our house again and we feel that we can conquer the world with our 4 year old by our side. It took us a while to decide if we should reset the button. But after reviewing it from different angles -many times- we’ve decided that Yes! we’re ready to do it all over again.

We'll address this question: Are you ready for a second child? — from the mother and father’s point of view.

Hopefully, the items we cover will help you decide whether it’s truly not a good time to expand your family. Or whether it’s only a bit of uncertainty and doubt.

This post is a counterpart to my husband’s post Are you ready to be a Father, Again? His post is written from a father’s point of view.

Things to consider as a Couple

Prepare for the unexpected

Even when you’re under the impression that everything’s perfect, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility that things may not turn out as you’ve hoped.

For example, if you want a boy, it could be a girl. You may also expect a similar personality as your first child. But the little being on the way might be just the opposite. And while you may now have some parenting tricks up your sleeves, what worked with your first child may not apply to your newest family member.

The baby’s health is another item that may take us by surprise. Probably because it’s the last thing a pregnant woman wants to worry about…

I’m not going to delve into this subject but even if the baby is born with a disability, the couple should still be ready to give their all for their new family member.

Money

Possibly the most common concern. And with good reason. A new baby means having to buy diapers, clothes, toys, furniture, etc.

While some expenses might be offset by hand-me-downs from your oldest child. You’ll still have to take into account long-term costs like health care, babysitter/nanny, pre-school and higher education.

Space

You may also need more space. Where are you going to put the crib and playpen? Will you need to do some spring cleaning to make room for baby clothes? Might you need to move to an apartment or home with more room?

The good news is you’ll have some time (at least 9 months) to get things squared away. And who doesn’t work harder when there’s extra motivation? :)

Time

If one kid keeps you busy juggling between child, spouse, work, home and some me time. Can you imagine your schedule with a new member in the family?

Chores like laundry, kitchen and house cleaning in general will double. Requests will be constant: milk, diaper changing, cooking meals, play time, reading and snuggling. So of course your time will be affected.

This is a question to really consider as a couple. Are we ready to change our lives again? Can we spare some work time to spend with our family? How are we going to handle each child’s needs?

Family & Friends

So when are you going to give him a baby sister?

A common question from family and friends as my son started getting older.

However, pressure from family & friends should be the least of your concerns.

Adding a new member to your family should be a decision between you and your spouse (and your youngest child to some extent).

Don't have a second child for these reasons:

  • My first child needs company. Bringing another life into this world to keep your firstborn company is not a good reason.

    There are other options. Enroll your child in a pre-school so he or she can start socializing with other children. Even if it’s just part-time.

    Another option, that will involve a bit more work (but not as much as another child) is to get a pet.

  • All of my friends have brothers or sisters. While the love between siblings is different from the love you feel for your parents or spouse. For example, I’ve confided things with my sibling that I couldn’t easily share with others.

    But again just because all your friends and family have more than one child doesn’t mean you have can’t be happy as a family of three.

  • It will bring a new opportunity to our relationship. This isn’t true. A child will not save your marriage. If you and your spouse aren’t currently happy; a new responsibly isn’t the answer.

Firstborn’s reaction

Regardless if your older child is rough, shy, loud or sensitive; a younger sibling is one of the best gifts they’ll ever receive.

Of course, you’ll have moments of:

  • Experimentation. How hard can I poke her nose before she'll wake up.
  • Confrontation. That’s my toy!
  • Jealousy. Mom and dad don’t have time for me anymore.

And you may even hear phrases like: Why did you have to bring him? I don’t like her. Or even: I don't love you.

In the end though, big brother or big sister usually becomes their younger sibling’s champion.

What’s the best age difference?

When your firstborn is between 3.5 and 4 is a good time to have another child.

Because now your oldest child:

  1. Will more easily understand if you ask for silence.

  2. Will be glad to help with the new baby since they’ll now be big brother or big sister.

  3. Can enjoy the whole process of infancy. From when the baby’s in the belly to playing games of peek-a-boo.

  4. Will probably be attending school. Which will give you some dedicated time with the new baby.

  5. Is more independent. They can dress themselves, are potty trained, can serve themselves juice or grab snacks.

Just for the Mother

Body Changes

After probably having shed the baby fat it can be hard to think of lugging around that big belly again.

Though if you breastfeed for at least 3 months (I breastfed for 18 months); it’ll help you burn off those extra pounds faster.

Age

The best time for a women to give birth is between the age of 26 and 31. After the early 30s, the possibilities begin to reduce, though it’s not impossible.

I’d prefer to have another child before 32 because:

  • I’ll still be young enough to have a good amount of energy.

  • When my children are teenagers, I will not be so out of touch with any new things (technology, music). Nor will I be too old to guide them through those bumpy teen years.

    I know of some cases where the age difference between parent and child is too great. It’s tough for older parents to relate with their teen kids.

  • I will be still quite young (late 50s) when they’re on their own. So I can enjoy retirement with my husband.