One Bump or Two? - Deciding Whether to Have a Second Childby Sarah Hurst
It’s a question that many parents, or parents-to-be are faced with at some point during their journey to parenthood: Do we go again?
Respectfully, we appreciate that this isn’t always an option for many parents – but for those who are considering whether to have a second child there are a few things to think about…
Do you have the space?
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to fit another child into your current space when you have to - or at least at the beginning. For the first 6 months (at least) your baby will sleep in your room and so working out extra bedroom space isn’t always an immediate issue. Young children can also easily share a bedroom, which is what we have chosen to do with our children. We bought a mid sleeper for our older child, and chopped the legs off a toddler bed to make a floor bed for our youngest child underneath.
If your eldest child is big enough to not need a pram, but still struggles to walk longer distances - consider getting a buggy board or a seat rather than a double pram to save on space.
Think about your transport - do you have room in your vehicle for 2 car seats?
What age gap will you have?
This is more of a consideration as to ‘when’ rather that ‘whether’ to have a second child. Mother Nature of course doesn’t always fit into your plans - but there are pros and cons of smaller and larger age gaps.
Children close in age can be trickier when they’re small and both are so needy in terms of how much help they need from you as a parent. It is common for smaller children to fight for attention or for their needs to be met first, but as they grow and develop the close age gap means that they are able to play together easily and share similar toys and resources at home.
Children with a larger age gap in between have the benefit of the older child being able to ‘help’ more with the new baby. They may also already be in school which gives you some 1:1 time with your younger child during the day.
How old are you?
Are you at an age where you still have plenty of ‘time’ and energy to take another child through to adulthood?
Statistically, couples are waiting longer to become parents than they were 20-30 years ago, which can have a knock on effect as to how many children you choose to have an within which timeframe.
Will you be able to afford childcare for 2 if needed?
Once your child reaches 3 they will be entitled to 15 free hours the term after their birthday, and 30 free hours if both parents are working and earning above a certain amount - but this will still be subject to top up fees and won’t include wrap around care before 9am and after 3pm.
Equally, if childcare does prove too expensive, can you afford to get by on one salary whilst a parent stays at home and looks after the children?
What if it’s twins?
Speaking as a non-indentical twin, this is a very real consideration! Female non-identical twins are MORE likely to have twins themselves as the tendency to release more than one egg during ovulation is passed through the female side. This is something my own twin sister found out herself, and perhaps her twin girls may also discover for themselves one day too!
It’s not a reason not to have another (twins are brilliant!) but do consider the practicality of twins and make sure you have a little bit of a plan just in case.
What are your child’s needs?
Does your child have any additional needs that require extra care, time and attention?
Having another child really does change the dynamics within a home and it can be a constant battle to meet the needs of both children instead of one. Add in sleep deprivation to the mix with a new baby and your patience and resolve can quickly wear thin. Make sure you have planned in some additional support should the need arise.
Are there any risks?
Pregnancy and labour is never without risks anyway, but for some parents this can be increased to above average if there is a past history of situations such as ectopic pregnancies, haemorrhaging and loss. It’s always worth speaking to a professional first and weighing up the risks and putting a plan in place for all eventualities.
If you require a c-section, then the standard recovery time is around 6 weeks and within this time you shouldn’t drive or lift heavy items. Vaginal deliveries can also have a similar recovery time if you suffer a tear or an episiotomy is required...but other bodily changes can take much longer to heal too, such as Diastasis rectii or weakened joints and mobility from SPG/PGP.
I found myself in a tricky situation after the birth of my second child following a 3rd degree tear with stitches that wouldn’t heal and a lively 2 yr old toddler being at home with me all day for the summer holidays...which brings me into my final point....
Do you have a good support network? This is by far the single, biggest consideration when deciding whether to have more children. Even the best parents will struggle alone and having the help of friends and family around can make a huge difference to your parenting journey, and ultimately whether you feel able to go ahead with having another child.
Finally - if you find yourself pregnant with number 2 already, then none of the above really matters. You will make it work, and whatever happens, it WILL be worth it x