Deciding whether you want to expand your family is one of the most significant decisions you will ever have to make; whether you’re deciding on having your second or your fifth child – it’s the same decision, ultimately. It is every couple’s dream to have children; when and why seem to be the most common questions parents have when it comes to making a decision on whether to have more children, and more importantly, when to have the next.
Deciding on whether to have another child or not is entirely up to parents to make. Every person, and certainly every couple, is different. Knowing if you should or shouldn’t have another child is much more complex than simply answering with a yes or a no. And every parent or couple’s situation is different. Parents will know when they are ready for an addition to the family. However, if you are truly struggling to make a decision, you can always ask yourself the following questions. They will help you cover the basics: are you ready, emotionally and financially, to have another baby?
Why do you think you want another baby?
If you are thinking of having another baby already, you might just be ready to have one! The first couple of months after giving birth are the most difficult time for first-time parents. Why? Because of adaptation. The life these new parents used to know: waking up whenever you wanted to, coming and going as you please, running to the shops to pick up some stuff – this life is gone. They now have another life in their hands – a responsibility that should never be neglected. Suddenly, it is all about the baby. No sleep-ins, no late night parties, no irresponsibility. If you are thinking about having another baby, you have accepted the adaptation and change, and you have implicitly decided to have another baby is much more rewarding than sleeping in or partying until the wee hours of the morning. However, you might be going through a phase: hormones are unpredictable.
Are you financially stable enough to have another baby?
Babies and children cost a lot of money; this much you are no doubt aware of. So before you decide to have another baby, make sure you are financially secure enough to do so. Sure, many families are more than willing to make a few compromises financially, but be realistic. Sit down and work out if you can afford to spend double of what you are already spending on your first child. This should give you an idea of where you stand, financially.
Do you have the time to take care of another baby?
Raising a child is an enormous responsibility. There is no on and off switch to being a parent. Will you have the time and patience to have another baby?
How does your firstborn feel about having a brother or sister?
Babies or children have an effect on the entire household. Ask your firstborn if they want a brother or a sister and see what their response is. Most children, especially firstborns, would love to have a sibling to play with.
How does your partner feel about having another baby?
Are you and your partner on the same page when it comes to having another baby? The two of you will need to sit and discuss your thoughts on having another baby and if you are ready for such a change in your lives, again. Make sure you are both happy.
Is it the right time?
All of the above are questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are ready to have another baby. The next step in the process is deciding on whether it’s the best time to have another baby. Consider the impact time has on a pregnancy: research has shown that waiting at least 18 months before conceiving again, gives you the best odds for a healthy pregnancy. Also, consider the age gap between child one and child two. You don’t want them to be too far apart, but also not too close together. Both situations have advantages. You also need to consider the biological clock – are you too old to have another child? Will you be too old when you are finally ready? Timing is of the essence.
Last but not least, what is in your heart? Your answers to the questions above may all be negative, and this might make you think that you’re not ready. But if you feel in your heart that you are, these questions won’t have an impact on your decision, because you will already know what your decision is.