There are many reasons people will give you for planning another baby. They will tell you this is the right time to have a second child. But let me tell you one thing - there is no 'right' time like that. My husband and I were pestered about this starting from the time my first child turned 3. But we took our own time to understand and plan our second child, never mind the advice. My kids have a gap of 5 years 6 months, and I like the way things are.
So, if you are planning a second child, make sure your reasons are correct. Some of these reasons are commonly given by people around us, but I would request you to reconsider these:
1. You're being told that your first child is now old enough and the gap would be healthy
People around you may advise you umpteen times to just have a second child already, once your first kid crosses the 3-year mark. But it is you who has to take a call as no one else will come to help you in raising two kids! A 3-year-old kid is also young! He or she may not be that independent.
I feel that parents with a wider gap between the two kids are the happier ones. In my opinion, do not rush to have a kid only because your elder one has attained a particular age. Understand the stage carefully. Unless you yourself think that your biological clock is ticking away, don’t rush. Take time to choose an age gap that suits you.
2. You think you have stable family dynamics at present
Discuss with your partner a foolproof plan for the future of your kids. Will you be able to give them a sustainable and happy life? Today, you might be financially stable. But what will the situation be after 20 years? Do you have financial support for the next 20 years? Education for two, space for two, and responsibility for two - everything is going to get doubled. We wish to do the best for your kids, and thus should make the decision only when we are totally sure about financial and family stability.
3. They say "have two kids and your family will be complete", especially if you have a daughter
Many Indian couples who have a first girl child are asked to blindly plan for a second in an urge to have a male child. And the reason cited here will be "your family will be complete." Really? Having a girl child and an only child will not make your family complete? Please don't go by this reason, no matter what the pressure.
4. You want to give sibling love to your first child
Let's understand this: What if your first kid is not able to get along with the sibling? How will you deal with sibling rivalry? Only kids also have great childhoods, no matter what people say. Having another child when you are not ready, just because you want to give your first child a sibling, is a reason I think we should reconsider.
5. You have had a reorientation in your professional life after your first baby
After a good break post-baby you are now back on your feet. You have just started your work again and now find yourself dealing with thoughts of second pregnancy. You think you are now comfortable and will be able to have better work-life balance. But don't let this be the only reason you decide to have another baby. Think before you jump to conclusions.
6. You had family support with your first child so there's nothing to worry about
Post delivery, you need a lot of care and support. Usually, I have heard people saying: "You stay in a joint family, you have people to take care of you and your kid. So plan now." Is this statement really meaningful? Reconsider your family support system earlier. It was one baby then, who is now a toddler or school goer, and you will have another newborn. Things will not be the same as they were 3 or 4 years before. You will need much more support. Is your family setup prepared for this?
7. You had a very healthy first pregnancy
Just because you had a healthy pregnancy last time doesn't mean you can rest assured. From a certain age onwards, you may have to face complications if you opt to plan for a baby. This will never be like the first pregnancy. Plus, during your first pregnancy, you took the best care for yourself as you had ample time. Now there is one life already depending on you so the care for your own health and body will be comparatively less. Double check your health and go ahead only if you are sure. Your doctor's advice will be useful here.
Let me be clear - I am not saying you should not have the second baby at all. I too am a mom of two. But everything has two sides. The lovely side of having two kids is more giggles, sibling love, baby smells, the same love in your partner's eyes for you, the pampering by your mom, handmade laddoos... But this does not mean we should jump into a decision before analysing if it’s the right time. We need to see if all the dynamics fall in place - finances, space, responsibility sharing, health, and age.
Let's steer clear of the unrealistic reasons people tell us to have the second baby. Instead, let's just reconsider, re-frame, rework and rethink about our future while making this momentous decision. Both the parents and their children deserve this extra thought!
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