Maybe Another Baby
Are you ready to be parents again?
Questions to Ask
“There are several factors to weigh when you’re trying to decide whether or not to have another baby,” says Ann Douglas, author of The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby and mother of four children. She offers the following tips for deciding if you’re ready for another child.
- How stable is your relationship? Having a baby won’t “fix” a broken relationship.
- How steady is your job? Consider postponing another child if you or your partner will be unemployed in the near future.
- How healthy are you? For example, diabetics will want to time pregnancy so that blood sugar remains in control. Significantly overweight or underweight women may want to target a healthy weight before attempting pregnancy.
- Are you physically and mentally prepared? Do you have the patience and energy required to care for another child, especially a baby with a fussy temperament or medical challenges? Not all pregnancies end in picture-perfect happy endings.
Couples with stable marriages, health, and finances are ideally ready to consider pregnancy. But how far apart should baby number two, three, or more be? “Couples need to be realistic about how much time and effort each partner is prepared to put into parenting,” Douglas says. “If one partner tends to have a ‘hands off’ attitude toward childrearing and/or puts in a lot of hours at the office, the other partner needs to assume they’ll be doing the lion’s share of the baby care—in that case they may want to postpone the birth of a second child until the other child is more independent, 3 years of age or older.”
Kim and Maukka Arminen of San Diego, California, both work outside of the home and share the responsibilities of raising 1 1/2-year-old Alexa. “We weren’t exactly sure about spacing but we didn’t want the siblings to be too far apart,” says Arminen. “I had no idea how much work one child is and we’ll probably stop at two.”
Tina Boland of Laguna Beach, California, mom to teenage Andrew, remarried and decided to have more kids. “My husband, Tim, and I really wanted children,” she says. “Family is important to us and having children together bonds us in a very special way.” The Bolands had three children in four years. “Some would look at the ages of my kids and say I am crazy!” she says. “However, having children close in age was extremely important to me, no matter what the workload.” She and her five siblings (all very close in age) are devoted to each other, and Boland wants her kids to have the lifelong, tight-knit sibling relationships she enjoys.
During her second pregnancy, Boland worried how Andrew would react to a new sibling, even though from ages 3 to 11 Andrew blew out his birthday candles and wished for a brother or sister. Still, Andrew had been an only child for almost 14 years when baby Kiara was born. “Jeff and I spent a lot of time with Andrew during the pregnancy talking about the baby and how he or she would change our lives forever,” she says. “We talked about all the care and time babies need.”
Andrew adored his baby sister, Kiara, and the additional siblings that came along later. “Andrew was and still is a loving, kind, and gentle big brother,” Boland says. “Kiara especially has stolen his heart. She refers to him as ‘my Andrew.’”
Number of Children
Sometimes couples differ on their ideal number of children. “This is a very difficult situation,” says Douglas. “The more strongly couples disagree on this point, the more likely it is that they’ll need to work with a therapist to resolve the issue.”
Todd Templin of Pembroke Pines, Florida, knows disagreeing on family size can be frustrating. “My wife has urges to have a third child and probably would do it if I signed off,” he says. “I want to keep the family the size it is because I have one boy and one girl and feel that’s the prefect combo.”
Both Templin and his wife work, and he feels an infant wouldn’t fit into the family’s active lifestyle. Finances also come into play. But his wife was an only child and Templin understands her urge for a bigger family. For now the couple remains at an impasse.
Deciding to have another child or not will impact the rest of your life. Discuss options with your spouse to determine the family size that fits best with your expectations and lifestyle.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN