There it was. You saw someone with a cute, snuggly infant from across the room. You tried to ignore it. You excused it away. But there, at the bottom of your stomach--at the tip of your heart--was the quiet yearning for another baby.
Perhaps it has been years and years, just a few months, or somewhere in between. Inevitably the words settle in your mind, reach your lips: Are we ready for another?
Start simply enough. Do you/y’all want another baby? On the fence might be worth the gamble, but if one of you involved is an adamant “no,” then perhaps other internal processing is in order.
How old are you? I don’t mean to sock you in the uterus with the ever-nagging clock, but I don’t have to. Even if you have the access to and resources for fertility treatments, age does have its limits sometimes. Be aware of additional risks for later maternal age as well. This isn’t a judgement--my doctor called me an "older mom" when I was pregnant at 32. ZING! I feel ya. This is more of an encouragement to be aware of the particular concerns before you take the plunge.
Career matters. Work, especially if you have multiples, is also hard when you juggle what will eventually turn into the life of a minivan chauffeur. Some dodge this bullet, but I have begrudgingly come to embrace it. At the same time, I did not foresee the additional effort of working. The time to pump for a nursing babe, the travel time, getting in and out of the childcare setting, packing lunches, unpacking the daycare bag, and more.
Money matters. Childcare is no joke, especially if you have more than one very young one. Infants are usually more expensive to care for than toddlers, and toddlers more than preschoolers. Across the board, it is expensive. If you choose or need to stay home instead, money becomes an issue in your budget as you have less coming in. The costs of additional beds, clothes, and supplies must be factored into your budget.
Time matters. You have at least one already, so I’m not saying anything new, but still consider what time you have and what you will need in order to make room for a baby that…well…takes time.
Sleep or other life necessities. I don’t mean to get dramatic here, but if you are at the absolute end of your rope… if you and your partner are arguing and stressed and tense because you are still grappling with managing your other child(ren)...adding another will most likely not make that struggle disappear. Life is never in perfect order, but be weary of bending so far that you break. Attend to the needs in your life that will create a stable environment for you and your family.
School and other age logistics. Often if you think about having the babies 18 months apart you immediately focus on surviving to preschool. Take a breath to consider when they are 15 and 16, 18 and 19, etc. No matter what your age situation (1 year apart 15 years apart or anywhere in between or more), your kids will have unique benefits and challenges to their relationship. They’ll also have unique needs. Take a moment to consider those, even if only for a moment.
And last, take heart. You’ll hear pros and cons of each and every family situation. There's never a "perfect" time, and maybe not even a good time, to have a baby. In the end, many families have come before you and they all made it. You will too.
Lynette is a mom of three children from ages 2 to 6. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.