Having Another Child: Is it Right for You?
Choosing to have a second child (or third, or fourth for that matter) is a decision many parents consider. And for some, coming to a conclusion can be even more difficult than it was the first time around. There are many things that need to be factored into the equation, such as your financial stability, job, lifestyle, and of course, the potential effects on your other children.
So in order to make your decision a little easier, we have composed this guide to help you understand what sorts of things you should be thinking about before you decide to become a parent again.
Things to Consider: Your Child
By far one of the greatest considerations you will face in deciding whether or not to become pregnant again is your first child. Here are some things to think about to help you determine if your child is ready to become a sibling.
- Your Childï¿½s Age: Although this is probably one of the most important considerations in choosing to having another baby, it is also one of the most controversial. Many parents have varying opinions on what is the best age to introduce their little one to a new baby brother or sister. According to the statistics, most American families space their children around 30 months apart, which also happens to be what most experts agree is the ideal amount of time to allow the first children to handle the change. Of course, your personal feelings around the issue are what are most important. Donï¿½t let yourself get too caught up in the debate.
- Your Childï¿½s Temperament: According to some recent studies, children are best able to deal with the introduction of a new baby either before 1 year or after 4 years of age, as before one year children are not yet aware enough to be thrown off by the changes and after 4 years they are confident enough in themselves to be able to cope with the change. That being said, if your child is already showing signs that she is confident in herself and is fairly independent, she may be ready even earlier than 4 years of age. Since moms know best, use your own judgment on this one.
- Your Childï¿½s Needs: If your child is developmentally behind or for whatever reason requires extra attention, you may want to consider holding off on another child, at least until she is more independently minded. As you already well know, having a newborn requires your full attention, which could distract from the time your child needs. Donï¿½t be afraid to wait a little longer until youï¿½re confident that your child will be able to handle a little less one-on-one time.
Your Lifestyle: While this may seem rather superficial, having a baby always means altering your lifestyle. Therefore it is definitely a good idea to take stock of your current routine and assess its compatibility with the introduction a new baby. For example, do you have a childcare system set up that will accommodate having another child? Is your other child or children sleeping through the night? How about your work situation? Are you ready to go on maternity leave again?
Your Financial Situation: It is estimated that the average child costs about $10,000 a year to feed, clothe, house and keep healthy. That means you and partner should have a financial system in place that will accommodate the demands of another child. Also, consider the cost of childcare. Many moms decide to stay at home or work part-time to accommodate another child ï¿½ is this realistic for you?
Your Age: Unfortunately, age is a factor in determining when is the best time to have children ï¿½ in fact, it is probably one of the most important. We all know that our age affects our fertility, therefore your age will play a major role in your ability to space out your pregnancies (to learn more about exactly why this is so, check out this article on age and fertility. For example, if you are under the age of 30 and do not suffer from any health complications, you have the luxury of being able to space your children several years apart. If, however, you are 38 or older, time is of the essence, especially for those wishing to conceive naturally.
Your Relationship: Although ideally parents would both be on the same page in deciding when each is emotionally ready to take on the task of parenting once again, in practice this is not always the case. It is important to talk with your partner about his feelings around becoming a father again, so that you will both be aware of each otherï¿½s stance on the issue. And while you may not agree right away, having this type of discussion is the only way to open up the dialogue for consensus in the future.
In the end, however, deciding whether or not to have a child again is not just about taking into account your finances and lifestyle ï¿½ itï¿½s about your own personal readiness. Being in touch with your feelings around entering motherhood again is by far the best way to determine whether or not youï¿½re ready for pregnancy.