Doubling Down: the Decision to Have a Second Child

My husband and I had talked a lot about having children before we got married, and the years following. We waited about three years until we felt we were ready to start our family.

Our initial plan was to have two children, two years apart. We each have one sibling; I am two years younger than my brother, my husband is 5-and-a-half years younger than his sister. Because of the age differences, we grew up with very different sibling relationships. I was very close with my brother, and we would like our children to be close friends as well. My husband loves his sister, but because of their age difference, it wasn’t until they reached adulthood that they were at the same point in their lives.

We decided to plan on two years apart for our two children. When our daughter was about a year old, she was such a handful (but an adorable handful) that we said “Maybe we’ll wait and space them three years apart.” She required so much attention, we absolutely couldn’t imagine having a second child any time soon. We couldn’t be sure how she would be in nine months to a year. Toddlers are very unpredictable.

Once she hit a year and a half old, she was very different compared to just a few short months before. She was communicating with us, holding our hands when we walked, following directions, and learning to be gentle with babies. We started to think that maybe two years (or close to it) apart might actually be doable.

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Big sister practice – feeding her friend

Maybe it was time to try for number two.

But how do you really decide? How can you guarantee it will be ok? And when?

It can be easier on children to be friends and play together when they’re closer in age, but it can be very challenging to give multiple demanding young children the love and attention they require and deserve, and keep them entertained when they are not as independent.

It can be easier on the parents when the children are further apart in age and the older child can be a helper. But then some parents in this situation can feel like they’re starting over with baby stuff all over again, and are challenged to bring a baby along to activities and events for older children.

So how do you decide what’s best for you? Go for it, and be confident you can handle it?

We decided to go for it.

As I write this, I am about 3 months pregnant, and my daughter is two months shy of her second birthday. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but I feel this right for my family. We have lots of support from our families, friends, and neighbors.

We are fully aware that it will be a lot of work to have two children, especially two young ones, especially for the first few months as we all adjust.

Our daughter is growing and learning every day, and I think she is going to be a great big sister. She loves to “help” us, and absolutely loves babies – points them out whenever she sees one, and excitedly proclaims, “bee!!” (Her word for baby)

We’re all very excited for the new “bee”!

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