Last month, my husband, kids and I attended my mother-in-law’s 75th birthday party. We sat next to his brother’s baby and preschooler. As parents who are well finished with the diaper stage in parenting, we were enthralled with the kids. My husband began to reminiscence about when our kids were babies and for a minute (and I mean a teeny, tiny few seconds) I considered what life would be like to have another.
It’s such a tempting fantasy to imagine the little baby feet, the delightful powdery smell that you can endlessly inhale, and the sweet chuckle that comes from a first laugh. It’s also so incredibly easy to get caught up in the sweetness of a new baby, but before deciding on another child, there are some concrete and practical things to consider…
Are you willing to handle another pregnancy and baby?
A first pregnancy can be hard enough but when you have another child to care for, it can mean less rest and recovery time. If you’ve already had a difficult pregnancy, you might want to reserve some extra hands to help care for your first child on days when you need extra rest. The same goes for after the baby is born because if you are feeling overwhelmed from the constant demands of caring for a child, adding another child to the mix can be feel like the equivalent of adding ten on some days. And we all know every pregnancy is different. If your first was a walk on easy street, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your second one will be just as carefree.
Are your finances are in order?
Let’s face it. Raising kids is incredibly expensive. Making sure you have enough money allotted for everything from food and clothes to college will make growing your family more enjoyable and less stressful.
Are you and your spouse are both on the same page?
If one of you does not want another child, it’s never a good idea to have one. Sure, they may change their mind when they see the little bundle, but they may not. In the worst case scenario, they may grow to resent the child… and you.
Will you regret not having one more child?
When my oldest daughter was potty trained and talking, I missed having a baby in the house. More than that, I wanted her to have a sibling. We had another daughter and they are best friends even in their tumultuous teen years. We went on to have a son after that for a total of three. I’m sure I would have regretted not another child after our first daughter.
Are you trying to fix something?
How many times have you heard someone say they wanted a baby so it would strengthen the relationship? If anything the opposite is true. Late night feedings, constant crying and nights spent inside tend to dampen already troubled relationships, not make them better.
In the end after my baby induced fantasy was over, I quickly realized how much I am enjoying where I am in the parent world. I can shower and sleep uninterrupted. I don’t have to change diapers, do midnight feedings, or listen to screams and wails anymore (well on second thought, I do have teenagers so I should scratch that). But I also have more time for me and I relish the quiet time I now have to write and read and think and form coherent sentences and listen to music. It’s quite a nice break after so many years of always having a baby in the house.
Are you ready for another baby? Or are you finished and how did you decide you were ready for another? Or are you content with one child?
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