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 had my first two 14 months apart, and had always wanted to have a huge family. I grew up the oldest of 4, but we were a mishmash of step-siblings, so there was only 2 years between myself and my youngest sibling. So, even though the spacing between my daughter and my son was closer than we would have planned it, it felt normal to me. They are now 2 and 3 and we’ve just consciously made the decision to go for number 3. By the time a baby is born, my son would be 3 and my daughter would be 4 and in full-time school, so we would never have 2 in full-time daycare again, being as by the time my mat leave was over, my little guy would be starting school.

    My husband has older brothers that are 8 and 3 years older than him, and he’s closer to his oldest brother now than he ever was growing up. We both wanted the biggest gap between kids to be no more than about 3 years. My siblings and I always had the same interests – my parents could rent one movie and we would all like it, or we could do an activity for someone’s birthday and we would all enjoy it, whereas my husband’s oldest brother essentially had nothing to do with his siblings, being so much older.

    This way, both kids will be out of diapers and able to help out somewhat with another one, much better than when my son was born and my daughter wasn’t even walking! But they’ll still be close enough together to have similar interests (hopefully) and be in the same general age group.

  2. It seems like most comments are from people who “just know”. I have a 16 month old and I am going back & forth about it all the time. Becoming a mom was a lot harder adjustment than I’d anticipated and I’m not sure I have the energy and sacrifice in me to do again. And since I’m 33, and I know I don’t want to be up all night with a newborn it feels pressing to decide soon. So far I have no clue!

  3. My son is 20 months, and I said from the start I only wanted one. I go back and fourth with having a second. Most of the time I realize that right now, I want a second one because there are parenting and mom things I would like to do different. I wasn’t a confident new mom, and suffered with PPD. My husbands cousin gave some good advice that resonated with me, she has two boys that are a little over 3 years apart. She said to wait until my son was potty trained, once that was over, I would be able to know if I wanted a second. Also, my sister is going to have her first baby in a few months, I figure that will give me a good baby fix and help me make a choice to have more or stick with the beautiful one I have.

    • I have a daughter of 6 and I suffered from PPD,with a feeling of not coping. my biggest fear is that it will happen again if I have a second child… I´m turning 40 next summer so the time is running out… I would like to have a little sister or brother for my daughter, but I think at this moment my fear is keeping me/us from trying.

    • I also suffer/ed from post-partum depression, and part of the reason I want a second is because I now know for sure that I will probably have post-partum depression again, but I will know what signs to look for this time, and I will know how to deal with it. Yes, post-partum depression really, really, really sucks, but once you’ve been through it, you know you can get through it.

  4. My personal opinion is to wait till your heart tells you that you want another. There are pluses (and minuses) on both sides of the 1 or 2 child debate. What it boils down to though is: How do you see your family? and do you want to parent a 2nd child? No one else can answer those questions but you.

  5. I think you’ll drive yourself crazy if you try to logic your way into a choice like that. The fact is that you never know what you’re going to get when you add another individual to your family, so it’s really impossible to plan for. But what you can ask yourself is if you would like to spin the wheel one more time and see what you get? Would you like to go on this adventure into the unknown again? If so, go for another child. If not, then don’t.

  6. I moved really far away from my family (1,700 miles) and my husband’s family, while close (1 1/2 away), has no other children around the age of my older girl. We live in a super urban area where it is hard to make lasting friends. I knew that one day when we are gone, I wanted my older child to have a lifelong “friend” to finish life with. So we chose to have a second child so that the two could be companions if they chose. We have actually talked about a third because I love odd numbers, but that would make everything more complicated than it already is! I am so glad we had our second (they are 3 1/2 and almost 1 year) and they already buddy around.

  7. it all depends on what is right for you & your family. we have one child & that’s just right for us. i knew as soon as my daughter was born that i didn’t ever want to be pregnant again. that was hard for my husband, as he wanted to try for a boy, and our daughter went through a period of wanting a sibling. but we just couldn’t have done it financially at the time. but now that she’s 12 and has friends with a lot of siblings, she’s perfectly happy being an only & having 6 of her friends in the house at once has made my husband realize he’s good with just one as well. after spending a lot of time with her friends who are the older set of large families ( see: one of 4 and one of 9), she told me that she’s happy she doesn’t have to change diapers & that we can lavish on her and that she doesn’t have to share with anyone else & gets all of our attention.

  8. I was an only child and always knew I wanted more than one kid because I wanted a busy house with many people living in it. I look forward to my kids being older and being loud, my house growing up was much too quiet. My oldest daughter is about to turn 5 and I am pregnant with our 2nd now. We have a gap because I was in school when we decided to have my daughter. It was hard but we did it fairly well (pat on own back). I originally wanted to have another 2-3years after her, but we couldn’t afford it and it would have made things like child care, weekends and money way too hard for us. Now that I am working, we figure we are in a slightly better place to afford another one. I think it may have come from another post on this site, but someone once said “it is always a good time to have a wanted child” and I really believe that. If this is the time you want to have another, you will make it work for your family.

  9. my oldest son was a surprise, although i always knew that i wanted to have kids. my number was 2-4 kids total. we just had baby #2 and we’re not sure we want to try for more. although, another surprise would not be unwelcome.

    my kids are 6 years apart because my oldest has a different biological dad. my husband is his real dad and has the adoption record to prove it. today my son was talking about how “when we have another baby, there won’t be any leftover cinnamon rolls.” he loves, loves loves being a big brother (so far) and we knew he’d be great at it, so we weren’t hesitant in that aspect when talking about having a second child.

    part of the choice for a second child was my husband’s drive to leave another generation of his family line on this earth. another factor was that he hasn’t parented a newborn before, he and i didn’t meet until my oldest was 2 years old. he wanted to try his hand at it and see what all goes into shaping another human.

    my older son is a very social being and we thought it would help his boredom to have a little partner in crime. not that he couldn’t handle playing by himself, he has plenty of friends too. but on the long winter of rainy days in the northwest, we thought a little buddy might help enrich his life. and so far, he has!

  10. We went back and forth forever on having our first child and again on trying for a second. One opens one’s self up to so many things one cannot control,. especially if a child turns out to have time-consuming and expensive special needs. In the end, we decided to go for it with number one, and we love our child so so much — parenting is so much better than we ever imagined.

    We put tons of thought into deciding to try for number two, considering so many contigency plans — twins? special needs that now affect an older sibling and not just us? — etc. In the end, our guts just told us to go for it and that it would probably work out well. We also felt we would regret it someday if we did not at least try for another one, and be angry at ourselves for letting fear of change drive our decision.

    It took us forever to get pregnant and some fertility problems popped up that we weren’t sure we would try to treat — because that bit of ambivalence was still there and we are so happy with our child. In the end, we surprisingly got pregnant naturally and so our decision was made.

    Really really important for us, however, was NOT thinking of giving our current child a sibling. We absolutely do not want to make assumptions about what kind of relationship our children will have; we want them to develop their own, whether close or not. Our only requirement will be respect. We have both experienced different levels of pressure from our parents to have certain kinds of relationships with our own siblings and we don’t think that is good.

    Ultimately, we thought of it in the simple terms of wanting another child, another unique individual to love and raise. We are intrigued to watch the sibling relationship and see how our children are different, but their relationship will be what it is. Ultimately, we just wanted one more baby!

  11. I am an only child– and I think as long as finances allow– I’ll definitely have two. Almost all my friends had brothers and sisters, and I have seen great relationships and horrible relationships– but one thing they all have in common is they are close now (in their 20s) It seems like a lost opportunity not to have a sibling.
    I was pretty lonely growing up. It’s hard to go on vacations because you can’t just say “go play with your brother” — you’d be constantly bugging the parents. Board games are terrible because they are designed for 4 people.(silly thing, yes, but when you’re a kid– it sucks.)
    I will never be anyone’s ‘real’ aunt. I’m not competitive at all– probably to a fault. I never felt like we were a ‘real’ family– I just kinda lived with my parents. Christmas dinners with 3 people are just sad. My parents always regretted only having one too. Obviously there are tons of happy only childs… this is just one person’s view.

    • I completely agree with your perspective. I’m in no way saying all only children or families of 3 will feel this way but I had a similar experience. My mother also says she wished she would have had more children.

  12. I was an only child and I was so very lonely. I always told myself that I would give any child of mine a sibling. BUT in retrospect the real reason that I was so lonesome was because my mother was a single parent and she never really made any efforts to ensure that I was socialized and thriving. If you decide to only have one child, THAT’S FINE! Just be sure to give that child a lot of opportunities to be around other children. It’s so important to feel like you have a group of peers that you ‘belong’ to. At this point in my life I still think that having a sibling would be *amazing* BUT there’s no guarantee we’d be close so there’s that.

  13. I am wondering as I’m about 27 weeks pregnant already about having another…. Sometimes I think I will have to, so that she can know the joys..and not so joys..of having a sibling. My other half was an only child, while he had friends that he treats as siblings, but doesn’t know what a real sibling is like. I do. I have a brother who is a year younger than I am. He was my VERY best friend when we were little. If I didn’t have him, I would have had a cousin yes, but there’s something special I share with him as far as bonding goes, that I cant say about even the best friend Ive had my entire life (yes my entire life)

    Im worried about what it might do to us financially, but Id hate to raise her without the joys/terrors of knowing what its like to be a loving, protective, friendly big sister.

  14. It looks like no one has posted about this yet, but I had always thought 3-4 children would be ideal (we’re both from 3 children families and LOVE our siblings), but my pregnancy has really taken a toll on me and I don’t know how many times I could do it again. Since we’ve had such a positive sibling experience in our lives, we’ll probably go for two, but four is certainly out of the question. If parenting is as taxing as pregnancy, one could be the magic number.

  15. Well…We have a 7 month old foster son (planing to adopt) and just found out that we are expecting. This wasn’t in our “plan” but that’s is how things go. We were planning on waiting until our adoption was final.

  16. We always wanted another… I’d have liked a two-year gap, as with my siblings, but because my salary comes to significantly less than two lots of childcare costs, we couldn’t afford that, so it’s a 3-and-a-bit year gap. In an ideal world I’d’ve also had three, but I also wanted childbearing over before I’m 35 (I’ve just turned 34) and there isn’t the time and money.

    Having been all ‘Oh my God, we could never afford three, we can hardly afford two’, my husband now seems to be assuming I’m saying ‘maybe’ to kid three because I say I’d have a third ideally, but the fact is there’s just too many practicalities against.

  17. I was just talking to my husband about this tonight. We always thought we wanted a lot of kids, anywhere from 4 to 7, or more if we could afford them, but now that we have one and I love him so much and he takes up 100% of my time, it’s incredibly difficult to visualize our lives with another baby. However, I do think we will have at least one more baby, simply because I very much want to parent a girl. I don’t know if we’ll get pregnant or adopt, but I know we’ll try for a girl either way.

  18. After an absolutely awful time with postpartum depression, I was thoroughly convinced that my daughter would be my only. I just couldn’t see putting myself or my family through all of that again. But now that I’m a safe distance from that experience, I’m starting to think that I can do it all over again because in the end, the payout is worth the pain. I guess we will probably wait until our finances are more stable as well as until our daughter is able to go to a preschool of some sort so that will lesson the strain of paying for daycare. Or maybe something will surprise us and our “plan” for a second child will be thrown off course because of a surprise! The bottom line is that I don’t think you’re ever really “ready” for one child, the second, the third and so on. It’s always going to be an adjustment financially, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. But when it’s right, I guess we will just know….or it may never be the right time.

  19. I’m surprised that so many people here have said they made the decision based on wanting their child to have siblings. I think that the family of four has become such a cultural norm here that people presume that you WILL have another. I have a 7 month old and a friend who recently had twins is constantly asking me when we will be having our second. I’ve tried to explain that at this point we are only planning on having one, but it seems like people expect us to be NORMAL and have a second. My husband and I have tentatively touched on the question of do we want a second, but it just isn’t an attractive idea at this point. We are a family of 3 and I think that 3 is the perfect number for us. We are a stable family who own a home and have a steady income, but we are a foreign service (Canadian) family who will be going on our first posting in 1 1/2 years. While we know exactly where we will be for the next 5 years career and home-wise, there are so many unknown variables involved. I suppose if we end up having another, we will make the decision the same way we made it the first time. Undeniable baby-lust paired with timing. Canada (and maybe other countries, I don’t know)has a weird rule about hereditary citizenship with no exception for Canadians serving abroad, which has made us decide that we want our children to be born in Canada. So it would have to be while we are posted back here again. It’s nice to know that having a second child is an opt-in decision that we still have years to make.

  20. I was not quite ready to have another one, yet I wanted to be pregnant again. My husband really wanted to get pregnant and have our kids no more than 2 years apart and I didn’t really feel like I had the right to just say no and that be that. So we talked about it and most of my reluctance was because I didn’t want any attention taken away from my first daughter…but my insane amount of attention on her and worry about her has become a really big problem for me (I have a serious phobia of vehicles and such since she was born). So I did it so that I would be forced to relax a little. Now that we are 8 months into our second pregnancy (8 months is a long time!) I’m SO EXCITED! Not just for the reason I decided to do it but because I’m actually READY now…for me…I’m glad I didn’t wait until I was ready ready to get pregnant lol.

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