We Have Another Baby?
By Elizabeth Pantley
whether to expand your family by one more whether this would be
your second child or your sixth is one of the most significant decisions
you will make in your lifetime. There is no crystal ball to show
the consequences of your decision in the future. A great number
of variables come into play here, and the answer to the question,
"How many children?" is vastly different for every family.
questions to ask yourself
The key to making this decision is to ask the right questions, and
to take the time to search your soul and figure out the answers.
There are no "right" answers here, because we are all
very different human beings.
do I want another child? Reasons may run the gamut from wanting
a sibling for your child, to simply loving to raise children. Consider
what you know of yourself, your view of family life, your own upbringing
the countless reasons of the heart. If it's the amazing experiences
of pregnancy and childbirth you miss, remember that your commitment
only begins with these and continues long after the baby's arrival.
If you're considering another child due to pressure from your parents,
in-laws, other relations or friends, tune their voices out for a
bit and listen only to those of yourself and your mate. This decision
must come from the two people who know your situation best, and
who will have to live the day-to-day realities of another child.
will another baby change our economic position? Are we willing to
make that change? You'll note that the question is not, "Can
we afford another baby?" The issue runs deeper than that, because
many families are more than willing to make the necessary financial
compromises. You need to be realistic: Adding a child does add expenses.
But "economics" addresses resources beyond the strictly
financial. You also need to consider your time, your patience, and
your attention all essentials that will have to be divvied up among
more than one child. Most people find that there's plenty to go
around because of one related, easily renewable resource: love.
will life change, and are we ready for that change?
Since you already have a baby, you know how much time a new baby
demands in his first few years. A second (or third or ninth) is
no different and will tug at your hours along with his siblings.
While you shouldn't base a major life decision on the next 24 months,
you do need to remember that one year follows another: each year
builds on the one previous. So make a realistic assessment of how
this will change your lives both now and in the future that follows.
will a new baby affect the lives of your other children?
Babies have an effect on the whole house, not just mom and dad.
How a new sibling will affect the child you do have isn't a reason
to have (or not have) more children, but the unique characteristics
of the child you already have should factor in to your decision.
you and your partner on the same page?
The two of you must discuss your thoughts about another baby and
come to an agreement, one way or the other, that both can be happy
this a question of when? Perhaps you know that you want another
child, but you're not certain if now is the right time. Here are
some points to consider:
The impact of pregnancy. Studies demonstrate that waiting at least
18 months between pregnancies gives you the best odds for a healthy
pregnancy, delivery and baby. This isn't a guarantee, of course,
and many women who have babies 10 months apart have normal pregnancies
and healthy babies. Generally speaking, however, ample time between
pregnancies gives your body a chance to recover fully.
The waiting time for adoption. Depending on the situation under
which you adopt, a long period may elapse between when you first
make your decision and when your new baby actually joins your family.
The age gap issue. How far apart in age should your children be?
No perfect answer there either
I've experienced both sides
of the issue: My first three children are all two years apart, and
then there was an eight-year gap before my fourth child arrived.
I can clearly see that both situations have advantages. The bottom
line is that the personalities of your children and your family
patterns will have more to do with their short- and long-term relationships
than anything as simple as the number of months or years that separate
The biological clock and fertility issues. In today's world, many
couples are starting their families later in life. If pregnancy
is your route to your next baby, you'll certainly want to investigate
the factors involved in conception. While women can have babies
in their forties (my son Coleton arrived when I was 41), fertility
rates drop dramatically after the age of 35. Achieving pregnancy
(and finally meeting that new family addition) may take longer than
in your heart?
If you've thoroughly examined all the issues involved in adding
another baby to your family, and your heart and soul continue to
have an empty spot that craves another child (or conversely, the
doubt and fear are overwhelming), then perhaps you already have
Pantley is the author of Gentle Baby Care and The No-Cry Sleep Solution.
This article is a copyrighted excerpt from Gentle Toddler Care by
Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2006).