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Family Dynamics

Are You Ready to Have Another Baby?

Seven questions to consider in making the decision.

Photo by Negative Space / Pexels
Considering having a second child?
Source: Photo by Negative Space / Pexels

Having a second child is a big decision.

Everything changes when you become a parent.

But having gone through these changes the first time around, can we know if it’s the same the next time?

Or should we brace ourselves for an experience quite different from the first one?

While it’s impossible to tell exactly how a second child will change your family (and your life), here are seven questions you could consider in making the decision:

Q1: What’s my main reason for wanting another child?

Do you want a second child to give your first one company? Or will your family ‘feel’ complete when you have four members?

Do you love nurturing a young body and mind? Or do you reminisce your own sibling bond and desire your child to experience it too?

Are you worried that your biological clock is ticking and this may be your last chance? Or do you feel social pressure to have another baby?

Once you’re able to zero in on your primary reason for wanting another child, you’ll be able to answer your should I or shouldn’t I question.

Q2: How does my spouse feel about having another child?

Given that couples report a decline in relationship satisfaction after having a baby, it will be useful to evaluate if you and your spouse are on the same page about having another child.

If you aren’t, it makes sense to take a step back and talk to each other about the reasons you each have.

The more honest you are with each other, the better your communication is likely to be, and the easier your decision may become.

Q3: Am I ready to do it all over again?

Babies (and children) are a lot of work. You probably remember being on duty 24/7, having your schedule revolve around your baby, and your days and nights merging into a blur.

Only now it won’t be just starting over. It’ll be starting over with another tiny human in tow. The decision will also rest on the logistics with regard to:

  • Your health: As you’re older now, it might be more difficult (or take longer) to conceive. If you’re over 35 years of age, your risk of pregnancy problems is likely higher.
  • Your support system: If you have family or reliable hired help, it’ll be easier to cruise through having a baby and another child. But if your spouse isn’t hands-on or doesn’t share the load of housework or if you don’t have much help, it’s likely to be hard managing two children.
  • Your home: Can your home accommodate another baby? Would you have to set up a nursery? What would your sleeping arrangement be? Your physical space and living arrangement would be another important logistic to evaluate.
  • Your lifestyle: While deciding to have another child, it’ll be helpful to account for lifestyle changes. While some changes may be drastic, some may be more subtle. For example, it’ll be harder to just step out for a coffee or movie whenever you like.

The more sorted these logistics are in your life, the more readily you’ll be able to figure out your decision.

Q4: How will my child handle a sibling?

While your child may have a range of mixed feelings—from happy and ecstatic to jealous and betrayed—it’s impossible to exactly predict how they’ll respond to a new sibling.

Whether your child is pestering you to have a baby or simply not be interested in babies, they may still react to having their own sibling.

Regardless of your child’s age, it’ll be important to prepare your child for the arrival of a new sibling if you decide to have another baby.

Q5: Can I afford another child?

Having a child entails a huge financial investment. Apart from short-term costs (e.g., hospital bills, diapers, pediatrician appointments, etc.), there are many long-term expenses as well.

To make the decision to have another child, it’ll help to evaluate your family budget. This will enable you to know if you’re financially ready for another baby now or if you should wait to be in a more financially sound position.

Q6: How will my career be affected?

A second child will bring (another) maternity leave. And while Indian organizations are mandated to give six months maternity leave, a pregnant employee is unfortunately not looked upon as an asset. Other things to consider may be: if you have a traveling job, if your organization provides childcare, if prestigious projects will be taken away from you or a promotion put on hold, and so on.

If you are deciding to have a second child, evaluate your priorities—financial independence? Being passionate about your career or job? Having your own identity, apart from being a mother or partner? Or wanting to be a role model for your child?

Taking a long-term view (“In five years, my kids will be in school, and I’ll be a successful career woman”) is often helpful.

Q7: How will I feel if I don’t have another child?

You may have imagined your life with another child, but it’s equally important to imagine your life without one. Would you feel bad? Regret? Or relief?

Would you feel that something is missing without a second child? Or would you feel that your family is complete?

Exploring your feelings can reveal a lot about what you truly want and is one of the most important (and valid) reasons for having another child.

Pressure from your friends or partner or in-laws, or the society in general, ticking fertility clock, or trying to save a marriage—these might sway you into thinking you might want a second child, even if you may not.

Having another child has its own beautiful moments and exhausting challenges.

Whatever you decide, remember that there’s no right or wrong choice. The only key to raising happy children is a happy mother who makes informed decisions.

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