Dear Rookie Moms, Should I have a second child?

We received this letter and thought our readers could extend some empathy and perspective to “Kate”, who is having trouble deciding if another child is in the cards for her and her husband. I wrote her a note below, but I hope you’ll respond as well.

Dear Rookie Moms,

My little girl is turning two this month and I’m starting to process the idea of having a second child, but not feeling like I come to any good conclusion about what to do. Growing up I always assumed I’d have two kids. I held onto that thought until I gave birth. Then, my immediate reaction was, “No way am I ever doing that again!” That feeling has faded, but the challenges of juggling work, home, parenting, marriage, friendships and family relationships has not. Some days I feel like we get through better than okay and have a great time. Other days I want to walk out the door and never return.

So, I find myself wondering the following: Can I handle having a second child and stay sane and like my life? And, how do I make that decision?

Any input from other moms on how you made the decision to have or not have more kids would be very welcome!

Thanks,

Kate

Dear Kate,

“Will I like my life?” is a powerful and important question.

Although I personally felt no hesitation in having a second child, I have absolute respect and understanding of why you do. (P.S. I was totally compensating for being an only child myself, so my motivation was transparent and unwavering.)

I know that Heather waffled for a long time on a third child and made a pros and cons list in addition to using a Dr. Phil-inspired exercise of embracing the intention NOT TO for one week and seeing how that feels… and then the following week, embracing the intention to GO FOR IT to see how that feels. I think that means saying things to yourself like, “When the baby comes, we’ll move near my mother/buy a ski house/work an extra job” or “When Eve goes to elementary school, I’ll invest in my brother’s company/get a dog to keep me company/plan to spend summers in Europe.”

I would also think about what each unit of five years might look like with or without another child – the under 5 years, elementary school, high school, college – because it’s easy to focus on having another “baby” and forget that you’re signing on for another person in your family.

Other questions to ask yourself: How will you feel if you were surprised by a pregnancy? What advice would you give to someone else who asked you, “Should I have a baby at all?”

Cheering you on,

Whitney

We would love to hear from other women who planned their childbearing thoughtfully and what swayed you to have a second child.

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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