Contemplating the decision to have a second child has always been at the back of my mind since giving birth to my daughter. I don’t know what it is about having a baby that literally makes you want to have more as soon as possible. It’s this natural concoction of hormones, a new baby, the beauty of life, and building a family.
Of course, there have also been times when having a second child has been the furthest thing from my mind. I did struggle with postpartum anxiety after I had my daughter, so there were some serious moments where I thought I could never handle two children.
As first-time full-time working parents in our 30’s, my husband and I struggled in that first year with adjusting to the responsibilities as parents, finding balance, and maintaining our relationship. Although having a second child would be on my mind every now and then, the decision to have a second child did not come up as a serious discussion during our daughter’s first year.
After our daughter turned one, everything got so much easier. We were in a rhythm with our schedules, our daughter slept through the night, and we didn’t have any daycare issues. With everything in alignment, we decided to talk about the decision to have a second child when our daughter turned two.
Well, our daughter’s second birthday came around and we started to talk about having a second child.
It was important for me to articulate the reason I wanted a second child. Once you can articulate ‘the why’ and have an honest discussion with your spouse, that helps to solidify your decision to have or not have a second child.
Since I had this innate feeling that I wanted another child, I did have to explore those feelings a little more and ask myself what that was about. There’s also a tendency to feel that you need the perfect reason to have a second child, which is not true.
In the end, the decision is a personal one for your family. Even though it can be tough, it should be made without the pressure of opinionated family members and friends. The only person that needs to know ‘the why’ is your spouse or partner, and maybe your children if they’re old enough to comprehend it.
Factors to consider
Creating another human being and adding to your family will change things, to put it lightly. In your planning, it is important to consider those changes and how they will affect your family unit.
In making the decision to have a second child, these factors were big on our list of things to consider.
Out of everything, this was one of the largest factors we considered in our decision to have a second child. Although we are solidly a middle-class family in America, raising children in this country, especially in metropolitan areas, is not cheap.
Since we knew that our biggest monthly expense for a second child would be full-time daycare costs, I calculated the monthly cost for a second child and took a hard look at our family budget.
We asked ourselves the following questions. Can we legitimately afford childcare for a second child? How tight would the budget be? Could we cut any costs in our budget?
There are other financial factors to consider as well, such as the cost of supplies for a second child, including clothing, diapers, and formula (if necessary).
In our decision to have a second child, we definitely thought about our daughter. The big question was, do we want her to have a sibling? There are many benefits of having a sibling but none of those benefits are guaranteed. Sibling closeness depends on a lot of factors.
One aspect we considered was her age. For us, it was important that any sibling age gap be less than four years simply due to our own experiences. My closest aged sibling is six years younger than me and we didn’t start having common interests until I was in my 30s. My youngest brother is nine years younger than me and we still don’t have anything in common. My husband has similar experiences with his siblings.
On the other hand, how would being an only child affect our daughter as she grew up? We each come from families of four children and have tons of cousins, so raising an only child would be new territory for both of us.
It wasn’t beyond me that I was entering advanced maternal age (AMA) territory. Actually, I passed that threshold of 35-years-old a couple of years ago.
When my daughter was about a year old, my OB-GYN told me that if I wanted to have more children, we should start trying as soon as possible. As each year passes after 35, it would become more and more difficult to conceive. (Source)
Even though many women have healthy pregnancies in their 40s, I knew that I didn’t want to wait that long. So, our ages definitely played a factor in our decision-making.
We purchased our home three and a half years ago. Since then, we’ve made a ton of improvements and absolutely love our house and neighborhood.
When our daughter was born, our second bedroom became her nursery. As I started working from home, we converted our third bedroom from the guest room to my much-beloved office.
So, where would we put a second child? Our house that felt too big when we first moved in was now seriously lacking in space. Would we want both kids in one room? Was I willing to move my office space out into the common living room area to make room for a second nursery?
Moving to a larger home was definitely out of the question as we love our home and want to live in it for at least 10 years. So, your house can definitely be a factor to consider in the decision to have a second child.
I’ve owned a pretty small compact car for the past 7 years. Even though I loved it and it got amazing gas mileage, it wasn’t the most ideal family vehicle. My toddler would kick the back of my seat all the time and my husband would complain that we were crammed in tight.
My husband’s larger truck fit the three of us pretty well, but its gas mileage was horrible and it was starting to become a high mileage vehicle.
So, I ended up purchasing a mid-sized SUV with the awareness that, if we had a second child, there would be ample room for two car seats. Purchasing a new vehicle is more of an issue for a third child, but you may have to consider getting a more appropriate vehicle for a second child too.
- Related reading: My positive Carvana buying experience and buying a car the new way
Luckily, we didn’t have to think about the costs of adding a second child to my health insurance plan. Since we are on my employer’s family plan with one child, any subsequent children would not change the family rate.
It is something to consider if you have a health insurance plan that charges for each child. How much would it cost to add a second child? Are you able to afford the cost and does it fit into your family’s budget?
The decision to have a second child
I know you’re probably wondering if we decided to have a second child after going through these factors. The answer is YES! The decision to have a second child was something we considered very carefully and we decided that having Baby #2 is important for us and our family.
I’m super excited to start this next chapter in our lives. I mean, another human being in our family, that’s huge! So, if you’re deciding whether you want to have a second child, that decision is completely personal and one that should be made with care.
I really hope this article added some insight into making that decision.