After you brought home your first baby, you adjusted to the joys and challenges of new parenthood. You got to snuggle them as they fell asleep in their arms and watch their first smiles. You also lost sleep because of their feeding schedule and got frustrated when you couldn’t figure out how to make them stop crying. At some point, it all faded away as your child grew, and now you’re wondering if it’s time to get pregnant again.
When you’re not imagining ten tiny little fingers grasping your thumb or big eyes looking up at you in wonder, it’s smart to think realistically about expanding your family. Check out the pros and cons of having a second child to discover if this is the right time to introduce another baby into the world.
Even though having your first baby introduced many new joys into your life, it also makes parents imagine new worst-case scenarios. What happens if you pass away and your child is alone? What if they grow up as a lonely kid because their parents both work full-time and there’s no one home when they get off the school bus?
Having a second child means there’s a better chance of your children always having family around. If something were to happen to you or your partner, they’d have each other to get through the tough times and enjoy life more.
Newborns are sweet, but they’re also a lot of work. When you’re raising a newborn and a toddler, you’ll experience a new kind of exhaustion that you’ve never experienced before. After you’re up all night feeding your new baby, your toddler will still need you to help them get ready, eat breakfast and stay entertained throughout the day.
Double the kids means double the responsibilities. Whether you’ll raise them alone or with your partner, prepare for less energy after sleepless nights and busy days.
For most women, their second pregnancies are easier than their first. You know what to expect this time, which makes everything less stressful from the start. Labor may be different as well. Second-time moms spend an average of six hours in labor compared to first-time moms, who deal with contractions and push for an average of nine hours.
Another member of your family means you’ll have to split your time differently. Your first child may get jealous of their little brother or sister as they get used to not being the center of attention. You’ll also have less time to devote to yourself and your hobbies because two kids require all of your attention.
Many marriages also report experiencing rocky periods as their families grow. You and your partner may deal with increased stress over parenting preferences or how little time you get to be alone. If you have these issues too, give yourself grace. As you form new routines and talk through new challenges with your partner, you’ll figure out a new lifestyle that works for everyone.
Freshly wiped and powdered baby butts are adorable, but no one wants to feel stuck in the diaper days forever. If you wait too long, you may have to go through years of diapers as your kids grow up. Having a second child while your first is still young will limit how long you deal with wipes and rashes. Plus, they’ll have a buddy while they learn about the world of potty training together.
Another kid means you’ll have hospital bills and doctor’s office checkups to pay for. You’ll also have to put more money aside for their college fund or even private grade school fees if that’s what you choose to do for their education.
In the U.S., it costs around $233,610 on average to raise a child, which doesn’t include the price of sending them to college. The financial obligations that come with a bigger family are sometimes the most significant factors when parents decide to have their second child or not.
As you watch your children grow up, you’ll make more memories you’ll treasure forever. You’ll snap pictures of them doing things together, hear them laughing while they play by themselves, form inside jokes together and experience twice the love.
On the flip side of all that love, you’ll become the household referee. Introducing a new sibling opens a future of arguments over everything from sharing toys to making weird faces at each other. Part of parenting means sometimes you’re the good cop, and other times you’re the bad cop. You’ll get a crash course in learning that you can’t make everyone happy all the time, and that’s okay.
Getting pregnant again is a big decision to make. Take your time weighing these pros and cons, plus any others specific to your situation. You’ll come to the right conclusion and enjoy a bright future with your family either way.