For some families, it’s easy to decide when it’s time to have another child: they are financially set, their only child is about to start kindergarten, and they are at what they consider the perfect age. For other families, the decision to have another baby isn’t so cut-and-dried. Michele Pickel from the Anaheim City Mom’s Blog writes that just being asked when she is going to have another baby gives her anxiety.
It isn’t an easy decision to make. Many factors should be taken into account when you and your partner are trying to decide whether you are ready for another child. Here are a few things to consider:
Are you on the same page? Is one of you adamant about having another while the other is wishy washy? Is one partner completely against it, but the other wants to at least consider it? Whether you and your partner are on the same page or not, it’s important to have multiple discussions about it. Mother’s Circle suggests that you each share your feelings and fears. Ask questions, listen with an open mind, and really hear one another. Create a safe and open space to share what having another baby, or not having another baby, means to each of you.
Does your age matter? There are a few different ages to consider when trying to make your decision. How old is the mother? According to Melanie Pinola of Life Hacker, it’s important to take into consideration whether you’re older than 35 or you’ve had any previous complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Although there might be more risks with having a baby in these cases, those are just things to discuss with your doctor. Pregnancy and childbirth are naturally stressful for the mom, even when everything goes smoothly.
What are the ages of your other children? For example, are you having a difficult time right now having four children under the age of six? (In that case, you probably aren’t even considering another child right now.) Or are your other children already in grade school? Considering these types of questions can help you and your partner come to a decision.
Your family dynamic: Obviously, each new child will challenge the relationships and the routines you’ve already established in your family. What are you ready for? What is your family ready for? It’s important that you consider your kids’ personalities and your own.
Finances: Perhaps this is the most obvious question to ask. Money’s not the only consideration, but it is one of the biggest. As a parent, you know how expensive kids are. Some expenses are lessened with an additional child because you already have baby gear, but other expenses, like daycare and lost work time, are the types of things that you’ll have to plan for.
Adding another child is going to mean more work, but more children can enhance your family as well. The payoff is in more laughter, more surprises, and more love.
If you and your partner are having difficulty with making a decision, therapy can be beneficial for the both of you. A therapist can help you communicate effectively and come to a decision that honors your partnership.