Shortly after I had my third child, I figured out what I thought was the ideal time between pregnancies— 18 months. I used flawless logic. I validated my position to my husband proficiently with a perfect balance of fact and opinion. He then turned all my effort on me neatly when that 18 months mark I set came around and the word baby still made my uterus shiver. He wants a football team of offspring. I want to be sane when I’m 30. We did decide to try for another baby a few months later, and successfully conceived gremlin 4.0 with a due date of March 17, 2015, however, we learned there is far more to be discussed than just how long the ideal time between pregnancies is when deciding whether or not to have another baby.
Why do you want another baby?
The number one question couples considering another baby after any length of time should ask is why. Why is it you do or don’t want another child? It’s important to really dive into that subject, get down to the dirty truth, and then clean past it. You’ll likely find you and your partner have different motivations. You may even find you had motivations you didn’t know were there. You may find some you thought were there were just shadows pretending to be statues. The point is to really sit down with your mate and discuss what you both want and why.
Can you handle it right now?
Second, if you agree you both want a child, I want you to visualize. Right now if a newborn dropped in your lap could you handle it? Consider all of the little aspects of parenthood as well as the bigger things. While you may not actually have a newborn for at least 10 months, it’s important not to rely on how you hope things will have changed by time you have the baby. I caught myself rationalizing that when our third child was conceived, our second would be as old as our first was then. He’d be easier to handle so I could handle another, but realistically I didn’t know that. My second could have been nothing like my first. He could have been problematic and mischievous until he was 18 for all I knew. It’s logical to view the worst possible scenario and ensure you are prepared, even if you are still hoping for the best.
Can you afford it right now?
Lastly, the ultimate bubble popper for many couples, can you handle the financial responsibility of another child? Before having any baby, no matter what number this is for you, you need to stop and consider your budget not just now, but in five, 10, even 20 years. Can you afford to give this baby the things necessary in life? What those things are, outside of food, shelter, and clothing, is going to vary from couple to couple. It’s simply important to be realistic and not view things with rose-colored glasses. If you skew your own facts to validate your own decisions you’re only lying to yourself, and in this case it won’t hurt just you.