Having a baby is a monumental decision, one that most people make after a lot of consideration. It changes your life completely, in every way possible. Yes, becoming a parent is wondrous and amazing. But it's also incredibly hard and expensive, and you can't just undo it! But once it's done, once you've ripped off the bandage, it just feels ... right. You get used to all the "negatives", like no sleep and no money. You find joy in places you never thought to look. And one day, you wake up and realize that you might want to do this all over again. But there's a lot to consider before having a second baby.
In many ways, adding another child to your family is harder than deciding to have a baby in the first place. You've adjusted your life in so many ways, and are finally in a good rhythm, and now you're going to shake things up all over again. Will you be able to manage two kids, one being a newborn? Does your heart get bigger, and will there be enough love? How can you be sure your first child will be excited and welcoming to their new brother or sister? There are a lot of decisions you need to make before having a second baby, and this list can help.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, it now costs over $233,000 to raise a child from birth to through the age of 17. That's ... a lot of money. Now double that, and that's what you're on the hook for when you have another child. It's just the upfront costs that you have to consider, like medical bills, diapers, formula, and daycare. You have to look at the big picture and consider how your family will budget when you have two kids in school and sports and (gasp!) college. Not being ready financially isn't necessarily a reason to never have a second child - it just means that might need a bit more time to save and get your finances in order.
This seems like a pretty obvious one, but you'd be surprised how many couples don't necessarily agree on when the right time is to grow your family. Not being on the same page can lead to some pretty big disagreements down the line, and add a lot of stress to an already stressful situation. Have the conversation early and often, and make sure to have an open mind when listening to your partner's pros and cons.
Remember, your first child has been your world since the moment they came into it. And adjusted to having a sibling around isn't an easy thing for a lot of kids! It means sharing mom and dad's time, attention, and affection. It can mean big changes to their routine and comforts, and it's not uncommon for the adjustment period to be very rocky. The age of your oldest when the new baby arrives can play a big role. Older kids are likely to be more mature and emotionally ready to weather the changes a new baby can bring. If you want your kids close in age, you may be in for a difficult transition. Make your oldest a part of the conversation, so they feel involved from the very beginning.
Listen, there are plenty of reasons to have another baby. And the majority of them are the right reason! Maybe you want to give your other child a sibling. Perhaps you want to do the early months and years again (some people really do love the baby stage!). And maybe, your family just doesn't feel quite ... right. A lot of parents express feelings of their family being incomplete until they had their second child. But for every pro reason, you likely have a con. Weight those within yourself, and figure out what your top reason is for having a second baby, or not having one. When you're able to narrow it down to one reason, you've likely found your answer.
The discomfort and fear during pregnancy. The pain of labor, and long postpartum recovery. The sleepless nights, and sleepless days. You JUST moved past all of that, so you might be wondering why the hell you'd want to do it all over again. It's hard! So very, very hard. But, for as hard as those first weeks and months are, they're also beautiful and amazing. Just remember, not only will you be caring for a newborn, but you'll also have a toddler or older child to contend with. Think long and hard about whether or not you're ready for that.
Will you be OK if you don't have a second baby? Or does the thought of not adding to your family fill you with sadness or dread? That right there might be your answer. There are not many obstacles you can't overcome once you decide that you want to have a second baby. And there are plenty of ways to rationalize not having one! But your happiness and the happiness of your family is the most important.