It was never going to happen to me like it did with those parents who hit the one-year mark, watch their little baby toddle around and say, “Oh… I want another one!” After a terrible pregnancy that ended in an emergency C-section, I decided I was done for good. Or at the very least a good looooong time. I wrote myself letters throughout the pregnancy to remind myself that YES it was that bad, the same way I kept track of the (still ongoing) night wakings, issues with breastfeeding. Finances have been kept under strict supervision, and baby expenditures can be easily totalled.
I know logically, what with a toddler running around and my partner and I still feeling like overwhelmed new parents, this is not the time for another baby.
But for the past few weeks, every time I see chubby cheeks or a gurgly smile: BAM. I WANT ONE! I want another baby so bad I can feel my fingers itching to hold it, cuddle it, coo at it… what the hell now?!? It’s like my brain takes a break from remembering that all that cuddle cooing comes with a lot of laundry, exhaustion, lack of sleep/sex/time, and financial stress.
So if you are in my situation and feeling those pangs but know damn well it’s not time for another one, here is my list of how to fight the baby crazies:
If you are in a relationship where getting knocked up is “easy” (meaning does not need outside help), make sure you are on some serious birth control.
No seriously. MAKE SURE. Because sexy times can betray logical thinking in a quick minute. “Condoms are such a pain, maybe we’ll just skip it this time?” That is baby crazy-you talking, and they are not to be trusted. Talk to your partner about your pangs and remind them that they need to be on team “Let’s not have a baby right now.” That way they can help defend themselves against sexy time-you if it comes down to it!
Write a list of “things we want for a another child.”
Having a first child, we were focused on getting all the “things” you need for a baby. What we would want for a second child is very different. For example, we want to live in a place with outdoor space attached to it. A washer and dryer in our living space that is not coin operated. A dishwasher. A third bedroom. These are not “needs” but a list of things that you can see making a second child doable. Making that list reminds me of how stressful it would be to bring another child into our lives at this moment.
Focus on the child(ren) you have now.
Focus on the precious moments you have together as just a small family with one little child to focus on. As my husband put it, “I can’t imagine not having time to look at something she is excited to show me, because I am in the other room with a dirty diaper.” Take the time to watch them closely as they move farther and farther away from being a little grub in your arms to being the brave flying butterfly they will be.
Offer to take care of babies for your friends and families.
This gives you adorable little baby time while also reminding you of the energy it takes to juggle two or more children. After enjoying another little bundle for a few hours, I am reminded that my little lady still wants ALL of her mom’s attention and love, and that she is still just a baby too!
Plan a “before we have another one” trip.
A vacation somewhere that before you have another one, you will do. Maybe a weekend away with your little one(s) at the grandparents’/aunt’s/friend’s (because they are finally ready for a night away from you!). Making that a goal will give you some other awesome thing in the future to plan for before another little one makes it difficult to do so.
Have a frank discussion about finances.
Can you REALLY afford another child? Keep track of all your spending for two months and see where your family sits financially now. Then look at those same numbers and see how they would change if you were on maternity/parental leave, if only one of you was working, if you had to pay for fertility treatments, if you have to pay for legal fees for adoption. Could you still afford it? Figure out how much you would need to save for another child and how long it would take to get there. These sometimes sobering numbers can have a strong effect on your desire to add to your family.
If you still have a young child at home, start flexing your freedom muscle.
It may have been a long time since you went out for a drink and dessert with friends or gone to see a movie on your own. If you haven’t already, try enjoying your child’s growing independence by carving out more time on your own or with your partner.
Let yourself indulge a little.
Keep a list of possible future baby names. Look at adorable baby photos. Think about decorating another room. Just keep it to no more than 15-20 minutes a day. Then move on to something more immediately awesome — like planning that trip or taking pictures to document the little one you have right now!