Having a child is an amazing journey filled with great joy and a fair amount of stress. Once you have one child, it’s natural to contemplate having more (or not). For some parents, this is a straightforward decision and they know how many children are ideal for their family. However, the majority of us may be on the fence about having another child at some point.
Deciding whether or not to have another baby is deeply personal and incredibly emotional. Every family is different and they have to decide what’s best for them. This list is by no means exhaustive but these are several important questions to consider when thinking about expanding your family.
Is your partner on board?
It’s absolutely essential for both parents to be in agreement about family expansion. If your partner isn’t ready to have another child (or is uninterested all together) you must respect their feelings. Parenthood is stressful and each child comes with a lifetime commitment. If you pressure your partner (or worse yet, intentionally try to get pregnant) they are likely to get resentful. Give it some time and re-visit the issue later.
What does your financial situation look like?
Raising children gets expensive rather quickly. While you don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest of everything, having another child will innately cost more in the form of food, medical coverage, and childcare, just to name a few.
Financial stress is what prevents many potential parents from having children in the first place or delaying it longer than they might have otherwise. This makes sense. As a parent, you want to provide for your children. This usually involves non-necessities like toys and experiences, in addition to the basics.
How will having another baby impact your health?
It may not be fair but it’s a fact of life. The older we get, the harder it is for women to conceive. And while there is certainly more than one way to build a family (surrogacy, adoption, etc.) if you want to conceive and carry a child, there are certain things that have to be considered. This includes the mother’s age. Once a woman reaches 35 years old, fertility will start to decrease.
You also need to consider the mother’s overall health, including previous pregnancies. While no two pregnancies are alike, if you had certain conditions, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, you are at a higher risk of developing those conditions in subsequent pregnancies.
Do you have personal or family goals that could be impacted?
Children are wonderful but babies, in particular, are very labor (no pun intended) and time intensive to take care of. If you, or your partner, have your heart set on gaining additional education or scoring a big-time promotion, do you have a plan on how to accomplish this whilst potentially sleep deprived and recovering post-partum?
Additionally, your family dynamic will change if you plan on adding another member to the family. If you are comfortable and enjoying your current family dynamic, are you willing to go through the change brought on by adding a baby to the mix?
Things like vacations, activities around town, or the occasional weekend family trip will have to take a backseat and it could be a while before your family is able to enjoy those things again.
Can you identify the underlying reason for wanting another baby?
What’s your ultimate reason for wanting another baby? Perhaps your heart feels that it has more love to give and your family is not quite complete.
Maybe you would like to give your child a sibling and you always wanted more children. Some people have religious beliefs that include having multiple children. These are all valid reasons for wanting to have another baby.
Alternatively, some reasons may require a bit more thought. Have you been seeing babies around and are nostalgic for those times again? Be careful following this path. You should be able to (metaphorically) see your family with this additional child long-term and not just the ‘cute’ baby phase.
If you want to have another child hoping it’s a specific gender, that seems a little risky since you have roughly a 50/50 chance and even then, their gender doesn’t really dictate their personality.
Finally, if you think having another baby is going to fix any relationship issues between your partner and yourself, it’s very unlikely. If anything, having another child will put more strain on a couple’s relationship.
Ultimately it’s up to you, the parent (and your partner) to decide if you should have another baby.
But here’s the thing, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a finite decision. Assuming there are no permanent interventions, you can always revisit the idea later.
Who knows what your life, and your decision, will look like a year or two from now?