While it’s very easy to see someone with a newborn baby and daydream that you’re pregnant and ready to deliver another bundle of joy yourself, actually having another baby often requires some serious preparation. The idea of more children is always easy, but the reality is often not. According to Sharon Gilchrest O’Neil, Ed.S., LMFT and author of A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage, there are a whole slew of discussions that should take place before you decide on an addition to your family.
Is everyone in? Having another baby is never a decision that should be made by one person. Both people need to sit down, discuss the pros and cons and decide together if this decision is the right one to make. If both parties aren’t in 100%, having another child will only put unnecessary strain on the relationship.
What about finances? It’s easy to want another child but as responsible parents you must always ask yourselves if you can actually afford another child. With the cost of daycare averaging around $768/month, the cost of diapers averaging $72/month plus all of the little extras like formula, clothing and basic needs, Babycenter.com estimates that most parents spend about $10,158 just in the first year of raising a child. Take a careful look at your finances together and see where you might be able to cut corners. If at the end of the day what you make just can’t seem to cover what you’ll be spending, you may want to hold off on having another baby for a while.
What does another child mean for you?In this day and age, most parents are involved in far more than just the average 9-5
job. Many are back in school furthering their education, and some will not even have the chance to begin climbing the corporate ladder until the children they already have are little older. Keep this in mind when discussing the possibilities with your spouse. If one of you or both of you are in the midst of pursuing a better career or if your jobs already make the work/family life balance difficult, this is probably not the best time to have another child.
Do you love being a parent? No doubt most women reading this think the question is absolutely insane at first glance, but after you’ve recovered from the initial shock really ask yourself, “do I actually enjoy being a mom?” Just because you’re a great parent doesn’t mean you were meant to have more children. Some parents adore the child/children they have but would feel stressed out and overwhelmed if they had another one to care for. Think about your child/children. Are they easy to raise? Do they cause you much stress? Are you still able to do the things you need and want to do while raising them? Do you ever find yourself regretting having had children when you did? If your answers point toward a common idea that you love being a mom and the more children the better, than you’re probably in the clear. However, if you have any doubts about adding to your clan (and the stress that comes along with it), then perhaps now is not the best time to have another baby.
Why do you really want another child? This is among the most important of conversations to have as having a baby for the wrong reasons can be detrimental to your relationship. If you’re thinking of having another baby because both parents are ready, you’ve always wanted a big family or you just feel that biological clock ticking and you’d both like to have another before the alarm goes off, then by all means go for it. However, many women tend to believe that having a baby will improve their troubled marriage or fill a void within themselves. While having a baby can bring much joy, it is never a solution to a problem and will only be likely to cause additional issues if done for the wrong reasons.
So ladies, before you jump into the decision to have another child, take some time to really think it through. Schedule some time with your partner and dig deep into the conversation. Weigh the pros and cons, sort through the possible issues and get to the root of how each of you truly feels. If at the close of the conversation it really does seem like a decision that you’re both excited about and ready for, than having another baby is a great decision. However, if doubts are raised, finances are stressed or either of you don’t seem to be on board, then hold off on the decision. Having another child can be a beautiful addition to your life, but only if both parties are willing and ready to welcome it.
For more information on Sharon Gilchrest O’Neil visit, A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage