Having another baby might seem like a good idea when you’re having that motherhood high from your first newborn. But are you ready for the financial and parental responsibilities that come with an additional child?
Pregnancy and family planning requires many conversations with not just your spouse, but sometimes with other family members, too. It also involves a great deal of self-reflection to if you’re truly ready for the added work.
Here are seven questions you should ask yourself before you start trying to conceive again.
This is such an obvious question about pregnancy planning, yet it needs to be asked. Just because you had your first kid doesn’t naturally mean you must have a second. And just because your friend is having her second child doesn’t mean you should do the same as well.
Think about the reasons underpinning your decision. Certainly, you shouldn’t plunge into this without giving it serious consideration. The decision is yours, after all.
There are plenty of only childs in the world who grow up to be well-adjusted, sociable and happy individuals, without having had a sibling.
Likewise, the same applies to kids who have brothers and sisters. Then there are those with siblings who are fed up with their position in the family.
There’s no guarantee that having a second child will be good for your two-year-old, or that keeping them an only child will make them lonely. It’s something to think about as you do your pregnancy planning.
When the age gap between children is around two years, sibling rivalry tends to be strongest during early childhood. On the other hand, they are likely to become closer during their teenage years.
When the age gap is four years or more, jealousy tends to be less intense because they lead such different lives. But, these are only tendencies, not inevitabilities. Talk this through with your spouse as part of pregnancy planning.
Pregnancy is physically demanding and you have to be sure that you’ve fully recovered from the birth of your first child. Take your general health into account. Your doctor will be able to advise you.
There’s no harm in ensuring that you and your spouse are in good physical condition, get plenty of exercise and follow a healthy diet. No matter how many or few children you have, the fitter you are, the better.
Many parents worry about this more than anything else, and the fact is that raising two children is more expensive than one.
But it rarely turns out to be double the cost, because you have all those hand-me-down clothes, toys and baby equipment from your firstborn, which greatly reduces the financial impact.
Even so, it’s worth doing your income and expenditure calculations. But, in the end, few parents make their choice based on purely financial criteria.
Many parents worry that while they can cope with one child, they’ll struggle to manage two.
Such self-doubt is understandable, but remember that you are an experienced parent this time round, and you are a lot more skilled. Have confidence in yourself.
This is perhaps the most crucial consideration in pregnancy planning. You should weigh all the different factors and think long and hard about them. And, of course, speak in detail with your spouse about whether you should expand the family.
If you both decide that the time isn’t right, that’s fine. And if you feel that you’re ready, that’s okay, too.
Whatever you choose, don’t worry that you should have done the opposite. You’ll make the right decision as long as you decide together.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women’s Weekly.