Baby, Parenthood

The Decision To Have Child Number Two Or Three

When is the perfect time to have a second or third baby? How long is a piece of string right? It is an intensely personal decision that only the individuals in question can make. Naturally there are a number of factors that may result in parents feeling under pressure when it comes to making these decisions. Perhaps a friend or family member has taken the plunge and is coping really well? Perhaps people are making comments about how lonely your one child might be? Or maybe the issue is your biological clock?

For many people the decision to have more children is often a case of timing. Sometimes couples meet at a later age and the process of building a family is one that simply has to happen quicker. Considering the fact that age affects our ability to procreate is a very real concern for many couples.

Finances are another huge factor when making this decision. The transition from one to two children may have come about in a lovely natural way, but adding a third child may change your lifestyle completely. For many couples a third child means less holidays or a required car-upgrade. Perhaps your home has enough bedrooms for two children. Of course they can share, but the upheaval and change in dynamic is likely to affect the other children in a big way also. Some of these reasons are emotional while others are simply logistical.

Oct05-Feb06 103I am the eldest of five children therefore having many siblings around me is total normality in my world. I loved the fact that we always had a friend beside us. We may not have travelled the world or always had the top-of-the-range toys or clothes but we were always very happy children. Some of my fondest memories simply involved playing with my brothers and sisters. As we have all become adults the bonds have only grown stronger. We socialise together and have a really great time at all occasions. With so many personalities and opinions there is also never a dull moment. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

On the contrary, it is not always this easy for every family. One of you may have spent a long time pursuing a career or profession. Years of study and a huge amount of money may have been invested in your future in that role. Having a second or third child may require you leaving work to be a stay-at-home parent due to childcare fees. This is a very real obstacle for a lot of parents.

Guilt can be another concern for parents. The addition of a sibling may cause their child to feel upset or pushed to the side. Dr Sears has some good advice on this one. He recommends including your child in as much of the pregnancy and birth as possible. He recommends foreshadowing the arrival of the new baby by explaining to your child that tiny babies need to be held, cuddled and fed a lot when they arrive. This will help your child to imagine what is coming. He also suggests replaying memories from when your eldest child was a baby. Showing photographs and talking about when they came home from the hospital, fed, bathed and slept will help your child “be prepared for the new sibling”.

There is no denying it, adding a new child to your family is a massive decision. Sometimes the decision is taken out of your hands, sometimes the course is changed by a “surprise”, but as always communication and honesty is key when making these decisions as a family.