“So, when are you going to give your daughter a sibling?” If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me this question after giving birth to my first child 20 months ago, I would be able to actually afford giving my daughter a sibling. But all jokes aside, baby number two is something that I have been thinking about regularly over the last few months.
My daughter will be 2 this coming July, and the thought of how much longer I want to wait until starting to try to have another baby is a one I wrestle with daily. There are many topics to think about when having children and building a family, and with my Type-A personality, these thoughts can be overwhelming at times. I am sure that I am not the only one who has had these thoughts when it comes to growing a family, and I hope other moms don’t feel alone in the anxiety of this either.
The first thought I think most people who are wanting to expand their family wrestle with is timing. I am going back to school to get my specialist degree this fall, and it is a two-year program. If we choose to wait those two years, that means my daughter will be starting kindergarten by the time the next baby gets here. Do I want my kids that far apart in age? Can I be a mom of two and complete schoolwork at the same time? Do I postpone school until my kids are older? I want to be successful at school and successful as a mom, but just the thought of doing them both simultaneously is exhausting. I am sure many mothers struggle with this as well: doing what is best for them, but also wanting to keep their family first always.
Another thought I know many women struggle with is whether they will have a harder time getting pregnant the second time. There is no fool-proof plan for how to get pregnant with 100 percent success rate for every person. I know many people who got pregnant with their first child so easily, but then took years to get pregnant with their second. What if this scenario happens to me? I had some complications giving birth the first time and worry that they could have caused issues with fertility in the future (this has never been diagnosed by a doctor, just a personal fear that I have).
Financially, two kids are going to cost so much more than one did. If we choose to have them closer in age, that means two in daycare, two in diapers, two sets of doctor visits, the list goes on and on. Are we financially ready for that? Can we manage our budget with two kids, or should we save longer to prepare ourselves for the financial hit? The sooner we have another baby, the sooner we will get out of the stages; however, the expenses will always be there, they just change as children get older. Some would argue they get exponentially more expensive as they get older because they start participating in extracurricular activities and want fancier gifts and eat WAY more than ever before. But are finances really a reason to wait?
The last and biggest fear of mine with having another child is the stress of two little humans to worry about. I am constantly watching my daughter. I see her daredevil stunts of trying to climb up on to the kitchen table and attempting to open doors and jump off the couch. How am I going to be able to monitor her and another baby? It seems almost impossible. If one needs my attention, how will I be able to comfort the other? What if my daughter starts to get jealous of the new baby? I will not be able to give her my undivided attention anymore. She will have to learn to share and become more independent. Will she be able to handle that transition—she will have to learn these life lessons eventually, right?
As all of these thoughts come in and out and I start to feel overwhelmed, I stop and think of the love I have for my daughter and the thought of that love growing and watching my daughter become a sister melts my heart. Seeing my daughter play and socialize with friends who have recently had their own children brings me so much joy. Of course, the thought of loving another person as much as I do my first child is always scary, but having a baby to love and watch learn and grow is such a rewarding feeling as a parent. I know parents with multiple kids say their heart doesn’t give up some love from one child in order to shift it to the other; instead, it just fills more. Incomprehensible yet reassuring at this stage of parenthood.
There is never going to a good time to have a baby—or another baby. There will always be life events, set-backs, and reasons to wait, but knowing how fortunate my husband and I would be to have another child will always exceed my doubt and worry. Whatever is supposed to happen will happen when it is supposed to for our family.