Ready for Another Baby? 9 Questions You NEED to Ask Yourself
Deciding to have a second or third child is often more difficult than deciding to have your first. With the first child, you’re deciding to start a family. With more children, you’re switching up the family dynamic and affecting not only you and your partner’s life, but also your current child’s life.
While other people’s opinions and online quizzes might steer you in one direction, only you and your partner will truly know if you’re ready for another baby.
In this post, we’ve outlined 9 questions you should ask yourself before adding another bundle of joy to your family.
Are You Comfortable with More Children Now?
Some parents wish to wait a few years before having additional children because they want to “feel out” parenting first. Having a baby changes your entire life and it takes time to get used to. It also gives you more time to learn parenting lessons that you can pass onto your next baby.
Giving it some time also allows you to better understand how a second or third child will change your life and family dynamic. If you conceive soon after having your first child, you may not have enough time to fully grasp how much work another baby will be.
What Age Gap is Ideal?
How many years do you want between your children? There are pros and cons to having children both close and further apart in age.
Having Children Close in Age:
- Play/ do activities together
- Same schools
- Going through the early parenting stages at once
- Could be too close in age to share hand-me-downs
- Little time in between children to learn from parenting mistakes
- Paying for childcare for both children
Having Children Far Apart in Age:
- Hand-me-downs will save money
- The older sibling can babysit
- Going through the baby stages at different times is less exhausting
- Separate schools
- Going through different parenting stages at one time can make organizing more difficult
When deciding if another baby is ideal, keep in mind the age of your current child and which age gap would best suit your desires or lifestyle.
How Will It Affect Your Relationship?
If you’re already struggling to find alone time with your partner, having another child will pose more of a challenge. You and your partner will need to discuss ways that you can make time for each other while also making time for a new family member.
Parents in rocky relationships are probably better off waiting to have another child. Adding stress to an already stressful situation will likely make it worse. Having a baby won’t magically fix your relationship or be the glue that holds your marriage together. If you’re in this situation, improve your relationship (maybe even try couple’s counseling) before deciding to have another child.
If you feel like your partner isn’t doing his share of the parenting duties, it’s important to communicate and resolve these issues since they will likely persist with another baby.
Can You Afford It?
The good news is that your second or third child costs less money because you don’t have to rebuy expensive items such as a baby crib or baby stroller. Even if you decide to wait a few years, make sure you keep these items to save you money in the long-run.
The bad news is that many of your other expenses will be doubling. Buying extra diapers, food and baby supplies can take a toll. There are also costs to think about down the road, such as paying for daycare for two children. If your hope is to pay for your children’s education, will you be able to save up for both? Would you be okay with letting go of that hope if you can’t afford it?
Keep in mind that having another baby will require you or your partner to take time off work. If you have another child, would you want to be a full-time stay-at-home mother or would you continue working after maternity leave? Anticipating your income will help you determine if another baby can realistically fit within the budget.
If you really want another child but you’re still not sure you can afford it, sit down with your partner and discuss areas you can save money now and in the future.
Can You Afford the Time and Energy?
Let’s be honest: Babies are bundles of joy, but they do take a lot of time and energy.
How busy are you with your current child? If you feel like you’re on top of things and your life is balanced, it could be the optimal time to have another baby.
If you’re constantly feeling stressed out by your growing to-do list or work demands, you may need to prioritize. Are there activities you can cut out? Are there ways to make your work-life easier or can you take a less stressful position?
If you can’t switch around your priorities at the moment, it’s probably best to wait until life slows down a bit. Being pregnant while parenting and living a hectic life may be too much at once.
Will it Affect Your Goals?
Before deciding to conceive again, you and your partner should contemplate how another child will affect your goals.
Perhaps you and your partner had planned to travel before you completely settle down. Traveling with two children can be more difficult. Would you be willing to take on that challenge? Could you put off traveling until both your children have left home? Or maybe you’d rather travel before deciding to grow your family.
You should also consider your career goals. Adding another child to your family will take away time you’d otherwise use to achieve your work goals. Perhaps a family member or nanny could give you some extra time—but if not, are you willing to compromise the goal until after your children have grown up?
Is Your Fertility Gap Closing?
Your fertility starts to slowly decline in your early 30s and speeds up the pace after 35. By the time you’re 40, you only have a 5% chance of getting pregnant each month. For these reasons, it’s important to consider your current age when deciding if you’re ready for another baby.
If you’re in your mid-20s, you still have plenty of time to decide and there’s no rush. However, if you’re in your 30s, your fertility clock is ticking and you have better chances of conceiving the earlier you decide.
If you waited and discovered you could no longer conceive, would you be willing to try other options to grow your family? If you’d consider IVF treatment or adoption, putting off having a child is less risky. You can give yourself the time you need to prepare without worrying that it will be too late.
Why Do You Want Another Baby?
Consider why you want another child. For example, do you want children because your parents had a big family and you feel that’s what you’re “supposed” to do? Or is it because you genuinely feel that having another baby would make everyone’s life that much richer?
If you want more children, you should want them for the right reason. If you’re giving into cultural or family pressure, you may want to reconsider if now is the right time.
Some parents only consider having another baby because they worry that their child would be a lonely, only child. However, your decision shouldn’t be motivated by guilt. If this is your concern, find other ways your child can socialize as they get older. Enroll your only child in an after-school program, sports team or another activity. Set up playdates regularly and volunteer with your child to show him or her the value of sharing.
To figure out if your desire is genuine, imagine and envision yourself with another child. Do you feel excited? Are you happy? If the answer is yes, it’s likely you want another baby for the right reasons.
How Does Your Partner Feel?
Before growing your family, it’s imperative that you and your partner are on the same page. While nervousness is normal, you don’t want to feel as if you’re pushing him into something he’s not comfortable with. If you decide to conceive, both of you should be enthusiastic about a positive pregnancy test.
If you’re ready for another child and your partner isn’t, talk to him about what life may look like when he is ready. Having a timeline for a second child may help you calm your baby fever. For more tips on talking to your partner, read our guide on How To Tell Your Partner You Want a Baby.
Are you contemplating having another baby? If you are, comment below why you think now is the right time. If you have friends or family members contemplating conceiving, share this post with them, too!