How did you decide you wanted to have a another offbeatling?

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How do you decide if this is part of your family's future? Photo by robzand, used under Creative Commons license.
I would love to hear from people who chose to have more than one baby about how they decided to have another. My first baby was a surprise (albeit an awesome one) but now that I know all of the work involved with parenting, I am finding it much harder to decide if I want another.

I think only children are awesome, but sometimes I think I want to parent another child. How did you make the decision? Was it logical or did you just “know” one day? — K.P.

Ok, ‘rents of more-than-one: we’re coming up on a new year… how do you decide it’s time to have a new family member?

Comments on How did you decide you wanted to have a another offbeatling?

  1. I always knew I wanted another child. I am an only child. My cousins and best friend are my siblings but I have always wanted a *real* biological sibling. Now that I am married, alll the bumps and bruises from my daughter’s biological father are settled I am ready for another.I am recently married and that was definitely something we agreed upon to do asap.
    And I am happy to say we are now preggers 🙂

  2. Always knew I wanted another, so did my husband. Our pregnancy wasn’t planned- and I’m currently still preg- but it’s a lot of fun (on most days)!
    We want three, and will try for that number, but we figure if we don’t have that many we are lucky we even have one to love!

    • I don’t want to sound like a downer, because I LOVE my child and LOVE motherhood but, I always ‘knew’I wanted two children (at least)until I actually had one. Now I don’t know if I want anymore ever. My current answer is ‘ask me in 10 years’because I’m aware that this intensity of having a child constantly attached to me will wane, and I may want another one at some stage. For now, one is enough. He fills up my whole world.

      My point being, that nothing really prepares you for the reality of motherhood (partly because it’s diferent for everyone) so you can never really know.

      • I am an only child. I am not staying it’s a bad thing but I grew up with kids 7+ yrs older than me that were my neighbors. When my parents divorced I was terribly alone. I would rather have my daughter have a sibling that is 5 yrs apart than none at all. It’s lonely and parents who have siblings dont understand or see the reason to have more. Then there are the parents that were only children who have only children because they had such a great only child experience.
        I love my Bean, but I know she will be even happier with a sibling becuase I see how she is with her younger cousins and my friend’s 7 month old. She will be a great big sister, she cares, buys, and will spend her last dime on someone else.
        I cant wait till she knows who she is being a big sister too 🙂

        • “parents who have siblings dont understand or see the reason to have more.”

          I respectfully disagree. I grew up as one of four, my husband as one of two, and we’re planning for our son to be an only child. I don’t think it’s possible to make a generalization as broad as this — there are way too many different experiences out there.

          • You’re right I cant speak for everyone. My hubs was a child of 7 and didnt want children at all. He would have been satified with being a father to a child that’s not his. I convinced him otherwise. I am now pregnant and he couldnt be happier.

            I reall couldnt see making the decision to keep my daughter an only child. There is no gurantee she will be best friends or even that close but I know how it felt to be alone with no close family and parents who were more interested in their genitial.
            As many ppl I know who have siblings and decide to only have 1 child (to me) dont understand all the implications. But like I said this is me speaking.

      • I agree with this, but personally for me it was the other way around.

        I grew up in a large family (5 kids) and honestly wasnt sure I wanted kids at all as I felt I had been there done that helping raise my siblings. But hubby definitely wanted kids so I bit the bullet and really didn’t think I would “enjoy” motherhood and that it may not agree with me.

        Fast forward, daughter is 8 months and I can hardly believe how awesome it has been for me and us as a couple. Ready to have more!!

  3. I’m in the same boat…our daughter is almost 5 months old and we’re mulling over having another one. Not sure if it will help you, but for me it’s definitely at least partly about the state of our finances and how well we can support another child. We’re doing ok, but I feel forced back into the work world much sooner than I would have liked. If we do decide to have another I’ll want a nice chunk of savings or for one or both of us to have higher-paying jobs. The stress due to money has been very difficult. We got super lucky with our baby so far and even my pregnancy went extremely well…another question is do we want to push that luck? Plus I’ll be at least 38 by the time I have the second if we start trying really soon, so the health concerns start stacking up.

    Thanks for posting this question…I’ll be checking for the responses with interest!

  4. I’m currently preggo with our first, but this is my husband’s 4th! His oldest are in college and a senior in HS, and the youngest is 12, so there is a huge age gap. I grew up as an only child, though I do have a half-sister who is 9 years younger. Given my husband’s age (almost 40! gasp!) and the huge age gap, we’re trying for one more again as soon as my cycles return to normal. I always wished my sister was closer in age, and that I had a sibling to help me through tough times around my mother’s illness and death. Yes, it’ll be rough in the early years, but it’s too important to me in the life long effects to not try.

  5. It wasn’t much of a decision for me to have another child. I was never going to be happy raising just one, because I’ve known too many only children, and because I believe in the bonds that siblings have and how lonely it is to be without them. The decision was when to have the child, and how many. We’re nearly to our second right now, and I spaced them so they’ll be about four years apart. I have dabbled with the idea of a third, but let’s face it, that puts me over my preferred age to be procreating. I think it will depend greatly now on my life and whether or not another child would benefit from being there. The hardships I endured with the first one have been fairly minimal, so working on number two was natural, albeit surprising to much of my family who just cannot look at me as maternal or feminine no matter how much I am. I know that whatever decision I make, it’s going to be okay in the end, and there really is no ‘right’ answer. So it’s up to what your heart says. Mine said ‘thou shalt have at least two rambunctious little monkeys to mold!’ And by gods, I do!

  6. My son was also a super fantastic surprise, and initially after I gave birth I swore he was going to be the only one, however he’s just turned six months and I can slowly feel the voices in my head telling me that it would be unfair not to provide him with a sibling. I know it’s purely and simply a biological urge on my part, but I just can’t shake it…

  7. I was on the fence until pregnant with our eldest. The further I got through that pregnancy, the more I wanted my baby to have a sibling to grow up with. After that, there was just a nagging feeling that we were still missing members of our family. I also had many of my preconceptions about parenthood debunked once I actually was one, and the idea of having multiple children suddenly didn’t seem insane. Add making friends with a couple of mamas with four or more who were more balanced and together than I was even pre-baby, and I couldn’t really convince myself of a solid reason not to have more if we felt like we wanted them.

  8. Why all the hating on only children? China is full of only children. Is it fair to say the entire next generation of China will be self-centered, odd, strange etc? Only children are great. As long as you socialize them, they will be self-sufficient and capable adults.

      • i don’t think anyone’s hating on them, they’re just saying that it can be lonely growing up as an only child, and that’s definitely true. of course there are awesome things about it too, but you have to acknowledge both sides of the coi 🙂

        • OH, I agree with that — but there are large generalizations being made about people who are only children that don’t apply across the board.

        • also, I linked to the article to point out that this conversation has been had — the point of the piece on THIS page is to discuss when you decided to have another one — not whether or not it’s great to be an only child.

    • This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with only children (or at least I hope not since I was an only child!) But growing up I did always want a sibling. I don’t discredit the advantages I had as an only child but instead of having imaginary friends I had imaginary siblings 🙂

      But even in saying this, it’s hard to say how I will feel once my husband and I actually have a kid/kids (we’re planning on trying next year). Who knows, we might have one and I’ll decide I’m completely done. Or the twins that run in my family will show up in my uterus and the choice will be made for me! 🙂

    • I don’t feel like the previous commenters were hating on only children. I think they were expressing their concerns about whether raising an only child is right for them. No one suggested that only children necessarily grow up to be self-centered or odd- and suggesting that only children can be lonely without siblings isn’t being hateful. It IS true that when one has an only child, extra effort must be made to make sure they get the social interaction they need- I think the other commenters were only pointing out that having siblings can help with that particular problem.

      I happen to agree. I think only children can make lovely, well-adjusted adults- my husband is an only child. However, I also know that he didn’t interact much with other children outside of school, dealt with a lot of social problems because of that, and didn’t have any real friends until he was in college. We both agree that having siblings may have helped, and my husband always wanted a brother- so when the time comes, we plan to have more than one child. That is not to say that it’s wrong to have only one child. That’s just to say that it feels wrong for our family. I think that’s all the other commenters were trying to say, as well.

    • Actually, tons of columnists in China have been writing about the effects of this “me generation” of selfish only children (their characterisation) on both society and the economy, some of which are very real. Most Chinese believe it is a problem–people are not exactly thrilled to have their reproductive rights curtailed!
      Anyway, it’s kind of silly to use China as an example of a single-child society doing really well. It creates a lot of problems to have an entire generation of only children.

  9. Ive been going back and forth about this. My husband would love another and I am increasingly feeling like I would want another. But my son was born 15 weeks early and spent 135 in the NICU. I don’t want fear to dictate my decisions but I also don’t think I can handle a long NICU stay in my 30s. My son came at the perfect time for us to check out from the world for five months. Now it wouldn’t be as easy as I’m a doctoral student. Still I have two sisters that I adore and would love for my little bug to have that experience

    • My daughter came 10 weeks early and we did 5 weeks in the NICU so I totally understand. I’m now pregnant with our second, but I wasn’t ready to even consider it until the first was almost 2. I was fully convinced we’d never do it again for some of the reasons you listed. I also didn’t want a high risk pregnancy. Well…obviously we ended up going for it (baby fever hit something fierce right around 2 years out). I’m terrified, but at least we’ve made it past the point in the first pregnancy when my daughter was born. I’m all sorts of high risk, though no signs of preterm labor again this time! If you go for it, I wish you the best of luck and hope everything is MUCH calmer this time around.

  10. My husband and I were in a similar situation. Our first one was a surprise that turned out wonderfully, but we were young and it was very hard. I think because of the situation we were in the first time we were very weary of doing it again — on purpose no less! As much as we loved our son, it was really hard to commit to having another, so we didn’t. Our son is now almost 6 and our situation is completely different. We are married, hace steady jobs, bought a home, and are financially stable… and once all that security was in place, it was like I could hear my clock ticking. We thought about it for 6 months and much to the shock and happiness of our family we decided to start trying.

    So, to answer your question, it was a “knowing” feeling I never expected to feel… but I think it stemmed from a logical place.

  11. i’m the youngest of two, and while my sister is only 2 years older we never had that sibling bond so many people talk about. i’m not sure why, but we’ve never been friends and even though my sister married my husbands best friend it didn’t make our relationship any closer. we don’t hate each other or anything, we just don’t have anything in common and its been that way since we were little. i was a lonely kid, who felt like i went through everything either alone or with my sister antagonizing me. i think siblings who are friends is a beautiful thing, but i just want to caution people into assuming that siblings will be automatic best buds. i understand that no one will understand me the way my sister does, because we shared the same background, but i feel much closer and much more understood by my friends and the family i’ve made for myself then from my older sister.

    • this is such a good point. temperament plays a really big role, not only in how siblings get on with each other, but how individual kids might respond to being only children.
      and you can’t really know how that will all pan out until you HAVE your kids.

  12. We want our daughter to have a sibling. When we die, I don’t want her to be totally alone without any family ties. I am very thankful to have siblings, even though they are much older than me it is a permanent bond. And I figure raising two at a time won’t be much harder than one (we plan to wait until our daughter is out of diapers to have the next kiddo)

  13. Both my husband and I are singletons. We both loved our experiences as only children and never really had that “I wish I had a younger sibling” feeling when we were growing up. We also know our moms’ reasons for only having one child.

    But my husband had a strong desire to have a second child probably around the time our daughter started walking. I’m not entirely sure why. The desire for me kicked in much later — we’d moved away from my extended family in CT back to Los Angeles where we met, and none of our friends in the area had kids (they still don’t). Being that our daughter wouldn’t be growing up around any cousins (or family friends close enough to call “cousins”), I wanted to expand our family and I wanted our daughter to have someone to share her childhood with in an intimate way — even if they end up on opposite ends of the world as adults, I like to imagine that they’d still email each other about how their mom and dad are so corny and square. =)

    So to recap, our daughter just turned four, and I’m due with our second daughter in February.

  14. I would be absolutely fine sticking with just our daughter – she is nearly 3 and an absolute joy. I love our little unit of 3 more than anything!!

    But it just tears me up inside thinking of her alone in the world when we are gone. I have 2 brothers, and though I’m not especially close with them emotionally (physically we live on opposite sides of an ocean) just knowing that they are there in this world, and sharing a similar childhood and experience, somehow comforts me. And I know if I needed them they would be there. Also, I am glad for them, otherwise I would have to take care of my mother one day – in addition to taking care of my Mother-In-Law of my single-child husband… yikes. Thank goodness for spreading the “wealth”…

    We are going to try to get preg in the summer so our second kid will come after our daughter’s 4th birthday.

  15. I grew up an only child and it wasn’t until I had more than one child that I realized all that I missed out on. My second child was somewhat of a surprised but after having her I just knew I wanted at least one more. After my third I was kinda neutral on having a fourth. But I really enjoyed the baby stage and also a little biggish family. To make a long story short I have 5 now and I can’t imagine the fun of having it any other way. By the way I’m 27, I strongly believe if I started older I prob would have just one.

  16. I grew up with my brother only 18 months older then I… my husband was the same. I am super close to my brother and love having someone I can talk to about anything. We had a rocky upbringing, so really only had each other. While we have toyed with the idea of leaving our daughter as an only child (because, well, she’s PERFECT of course and who could compete with that? Lol) we want her to have the relationship that we had with our siblings.

    Also, if you end up with a rotten egg you at least have another shot at a good one 😉 kidding, kidding. But on a somewhat selfish note, it would be nice knowing you have more family to take care of you as you get old, too. As fun as nursing homes sound, the more family you have the more chances that someone will take you in. (Keep in mind, I come from a very pessimistic dysfunctional family so I try to see the functionality in family too).

    That said, while we worry sometimes if we could possibly love our next kid as much as our daughter, we know that we will. I just found out I’m pregnant and our kids will be about 20 months apart, so we’re carrying on the tradition. We were trying, too, and it will line up perfectly with me finishing school and having the summer off with the kids.

  17. I was an only child – I never wished for siblings as I was super close with my mom and never felt the strain of the divorce…. However, I am very aware of the impact being an only child has had on the kind of person I am… I have a very small circle of friends although I get along well with most people. I just don’t trust too many and invite very few “into my Home”. I also don’t share very well – I never had to as a kid!
    as my husband and I start to move into our late 30s, we too are in a place where we just don’t know when or if we will go for #2. Our daughter – who was a pleasant surprise- is 2 and a half. We are so in love and have so much fun with her and her wacky personality; it is hard to think of a different family dynamic. That being said, we always talk about “#2” and have been working under the guise that we would eventually be a family of four. I hate to admit it, but finances are our biggest concern. I think that we might already be preggos if money wasn’t such an issue. As teachers, who are barely making ends meet, it is hard to justify bringing another mouth to feed and body to clothe when we still are basically living paycheck to paycheck. I guess I am waiting for the biological pull to tell me “IT IS TIME”

    I am getting older – 38 this year – but for the next couple of years I don’t think my age will play much of a role in the decision.

    I guess we will know it is time when it IS time.

  18. Sometimes the universe decides for you. I found myself pregnant this morning after a month with a couple, ah, mishaps, birth control wise. So here we are.

    It works out, because otherwise we probably would have hemmed and hawed another few years, and we’re both happy that our kids will be closer together that we originally thought.

  19. Honestly, for my partner and me, the biggest factor in the decision is each other. I came out of (a rather hard) labor saying, “Yeah, I could do that again.” Now, with a ten-month-old, I find myself looking enviously at pregnant women. I know what it’s like to be pregnant, I know what having a little baby is like, and I want to do it AGAIN. Preferably more than once more. I am having so much fun with my little dude! (And, yes, I am perfectly aware how selfish this all is.)

    My partner? “Yeah, two sounds good.” So, it’s up for discussion.

  20. We’re currently deciding whether to add to our family, we have two lovely little girls and they have such a good relationship. Rugz (my husband) and I both had rocky relationships with our siblings from the start that have evened out as we’ve all grown up so we don’t want to mess with how our family is. The girls are asking for another one or two, our situation is such that we can afford another child and so we’re leaning towards a third bio-child in the new year or so, we’ll just see how things work out. Our long term plan has always been that we’ll have our family young and then when they’re grown up, we’ll still be young enough and have enough energy to use our experience to help some foster kids.

    • THIS! I’m current preg with our first, and I’m 23, husband is 27. We plan on having 2 bio kids, and then fostering once the kids are substantially older. Growing up a close friend of mine was the oldest of 7, and her parents also fostered. While she wasn’t so keen on the giant family, she loved that she was able to help kids who hadn’t had the best lives open up, grow and be part of a family. I hope that this is what we can give too.

  21. My partner and I currently have a 21 month old daughter and we too have been trying to decide if we want another. I’ll be the one carrying the child as I did the last and I admit, being pregnant was the most amazing thing for us, I loved every minute. I was blessed with no morning sickness and I only gained 20 lbs and lost it within a month after her birth, but my body wasn’t the same after and it really affects me. I would love to have another child, our daughter craves one and I know she would be an amazing sister but after dealing with post partum I’m not 100% sure it would be good for us. I never had body image issues and now I do, and some days they heavily affect me. I know I am a good mother, but I fear that the stress and my own issues might affect the way I parent. I love my daughter and I especially love the bond we have as a family but I do believe a happy mom makes a happy parent and a good parent. I’m pretty sure we will have another and I really know I won’t regret it, I guess its that underlying worry, am I a good enough mother? will I still give enough love to them both? Will they teach me to let go of my own issues? So many questions…

  22. Our decision to have a second child was an easy one. I wanted our first to have someone to share his journey with. No one else will ever have the depth of understanding about why things are the way they are or why you react to or feel about something as your sibling. They shared the experiences with you and after your parents pass, it’s nice to know that you will not be alone. Friendships, relationships, marriages…these can all end, but the sibling relationship is eternal.
    My siblings are not my best friends in the world, but I know that when I am old and grey that they wil be there with me and that we will continue to share our life journey together. I want my children t have this for their whole lives.
    As to when to have your second child, I don’t think that there is ever a perfect time but I did some research and looked at a lot of studies and decided to space them three years apart. Close enough to be social, but far enough apart that they will never be in direct competition with each other (sports etc). But I had time a fertility on my side…whatever works for you!
    A sibling is a gift to your child! Once you have two or more you will realize that having one child is quite a luxury, things get a lot harder.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do, I wish you and your family well.

  23. I was unexpectedly pregnant for my first, too… With two younger sisters whom I always wanted to mother rather than play with, I just assumed I’d have at least three kids.
    As it turns out, I’m not as naturally mother-y as I thought I would be – it’s often quite tough for me, and I wonder sometimes if having more kids is really a good idea.
    But, above all, I frequently get this sense that there is someone missing from our family. The first time I said as much, the three of us were eating dinner, and I had looked around and thought briefly that we were still waiting for someone. My partner admitted that he often felt the same way. Our son was only one year old then, and now, almost 18 months later, we are still not in a good position to add to our family. But I feel the ache almost every day – when I’m playing with our son, I can’t help but wonder what things would be like with siblings for him. And most people I know say that more kids is not necessarily a lot more work – you really put in the hard yards with the first.
    So I guess in my case, I do just ‘know’. It just feels right. It’s what I want, it’s what my partner wants, and I suppose we’re a bit lucky in that respect. Now if only our situation would be more appropriate for family expansion…

    • My husband said something very similar to me the other day. He said atm we just feel like a happy couple with a baby, and that he can’t wait for another one so we can be a real family. I feel the same way.

      I’m not saying that single child couples aren’t a “real family”, just that for us, ours doesn’t feel complete yet and it feels like someone is missing.

  24. I always thought I wanted two. Then I had Monster. In my first few post-partum weeks, I was all MOREMOREMORENAO! my partner made me agree to shelve the conversation until Monster turned three. That happens in February. While my kid is a joy and I love being HIS mother, I know my own personality. I wouldn’t ever LOVE one more than the other but can definitely see myself PREFERRING one more. I am like this in almost every aspect of my life. That presence often comes out as poorly disguised favoritism. Understanding my own personality (as well as finances, etc) is really the driving force behind our decision to keep Monster a singleton. Unless some kind of epic event occurs causing all precautions to fail, this is my one time through this journey, and, after much time and thought, I’m comfortable with it. Before Monstere, I felt something was missing. Now I feel everything is complete. If I feel we’re a complete family, then I thnk our decision is correct for us.

    • I was really similar — the whole first year of my son’s life I was constantly asking myself and my husband when, if, etc. we were going to have another child. I felt like someone was missing, like another kid was just.. lurking in the shadows or something. Around his first birthday it hit me: we’re a really amazing family as the three of us. I’m SURE we’d be an amazing family as four.. but right now, none of us want to be. My son loves babies, but when I asked him the other day if he wanted us to have a baby in our house, he promptly said, “Nope.” 😉

      Also, I think it’s cool that you touched on preferring one over the other. I read a really amazing article recently about favoritism (or I thought it was amazing.. I grew up as one of four. I knew I was the favorite of one parent, and we all knew my brother was the favorite of the other parent) and how it happens, and that the point is to try to make sure your kids don’t realize it (even thought hey probably will). Not that parents are neglecting one child over the other, but I do think some personalities are more prone to favoritism than others, and I think it’s cool that you recognize that.

      Finances is another big thing for us as well. For the first time ever we’re at a place that we call comfortable. Having another kid would definitely put a huge dent in that place, and I’m not sure that’s something my husband or I want to do. We have our family with our son, and it’s the best thing for us, too. 🙂

      • Ooh, that article about favoritism was really interesting. Definitely makes me feel good about our one-kid plan. Thanks!

  25. I am kind of an only child myself, I have two half-brothers that are 6 and 8 years younger than me. I just want to mention that children don’t have to be close in age too be super close to each other. Growing up we weren’t cause of the age difference, but once I wasn’t “baby sitting the little ones” the relationship morphed into a great bond. My son just turned 4, I definitely want another one. Don’t feel rushed to get the “timing right so they’re close”. Most of the close in age range siblings I know don’t get along nearly as well as my brothers and I do. In fact, they being close in age, don’t get along as we as me and them as individuals do! They’re terrible to eachother half the time! Lol

    • i think the closeness in age caused more tension with my sister and i. my husband’s youngest brother is 7 years younger and they are incredibly close. his youngest brother looks up to him and it’s really touching to see their bond continue to deepen as his youngest brother moves further into adulthood.

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