Good old fashioned pros/cons list

We’re getting close to the time we said we’d start trying to conceive our second child. As early as March, or as late as May, depending on how my work is going. The closer we get, the more wavering we do.

This blog entry probably could have been kept to myself as it’s just an exercise for my own benefit… But there may be people out there who are considering having another child (or who have recently had another child) who can relate. And if there’s a chance someone out there can relate, I’m sharing.

Pros to having another child

  • Another awesome child to love and to watch grow
  • Another source of life-long family bond for Avery, someone to share in family experiences and reminisce with
  • Someone to help Avery deal with her aging parents as we all get older…
  • Someone to help Avery learn to share (toys, mom-time, tv…)
  • We’ll never regret having another child, but we will quite possibly regret not having another one
  • get to experience pregnancy, birth and that squishy baby phase again (I loved pregnancy and birth)

Cons to having another child

  • It’ll be longer before I make an income, longer before we can buy our house from my mom
  • Might have to move to a different house for more space
  • Wife and I will go through another phase of having no time or interest for one another – first two years of child’s life is especially hard on marriage
  • Because I’ll be done school and looking for work when the baby is born, I’ll have to send new baby to daycare sooner and for more hours than I ever had to do with Avery (and it’s hard enough to be away from Avery for 12 hours a week!)
  • Have to go through the fourth trimester with a baby who could be colicky, just like Avery was, or just a typical baby who cries all the time and can’t be soothed… Oh, the stress….
  • No guarantee second baby will be as wonderfully, perfectly, amazing as Avery is. Maybe they’d be a spirited wild child who bounces off the walls and breaks shit and bites and hits and is way too physical for introverted-old-me to handle.
  • Related to above, we’re quiet, introverted people who get worn out from too much noise. Playdates are unenjoyable for us. Two kids in the house together all the time are guaranteed to be noisier than our one who just sits and colours or reads or plays board games with the cats (seriously, she’s the easiest 2 year old).

So there are more cons than pros in this list, which of course isn’t exhaustive because there are too many things to consider all at once. It’s tough to make a pros list for having a second child. It seems like we’re stuck on remembering all the hard parts when we think of what life will be like with a second. We fear having our lives reverted to the difficult early baby days. We fear going through the lack of sleep again. We fear how it will change us. It was so easy to imagine the good stuff when we were childless and planning for baby #1. We didn’t know how tough it was going to be. Now that we know, it overshadows the good stuff as we think about baby #2. I wish there was a magic button to push to turn off the worrying part of our brains and allow us to consider for a moment, unhampered by what experience has taught us, all of the magical, happy, cuddly, squishy wonderfulness that a baby brings to a family.

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16 thoughts on “Good old fashioned pros/cons list

  1. I have no opinion on your decision. Each child CAN be very different from another child. They can also be very similar in some ways and different in others. You will love any child you choose to be of your family. It sounds like Avery would enjoy a great deal of being an older sibling, but that doesn’t mean she needs to be one. You are a wonderful person. Thank you for being who you are. I deeply appreciate you.

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  2. I am so excited for a potential new baby 🙂 🙂
    “No guarantee second baby will be as wonderfully, perfectly, amazing as Avery is. Maybe they’d be a spirited wild child who bounces off the walls and breaks shit and bites and hits and is way too physical for introverted-old-me to handle.” is hilarious to me!! I don’t think you will get this kind of kid in your family! The universe knows what it is doing!!

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  3. In the depths of that newborn exhaustion, I have so many thoughts on this topic, and yet I hesitate to offer any advice. So far, 8 weeks in, I can say its HARD. Incredibly hard. Especially having the Center of Your Universe adjust to sharing that space. It’s also lovely to get those newborn snuggles and meet a whole new person all over again. I find myself “tolerating” this period until the easier time when communication and personality are clearer, and that kind of feels crummy. I can’t say what kind of kid we got this time around, but I can say she “fits in” in her newborn way. In summary – there is no wrong answer. It seems lovely to devote your energy and resources to one perfect child, and it’s also wonderful to watch a sibling bond developing.

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    • Yes to this!! The first 3-4 months weren’t exactly enjoyable here either. It’s a huge change for everyone to adjust to, especially a 2 year old. It’s also harder with D because she’s a crap sleeper, compared to what C was. But being 6 months in, things are settled out nicely and we all pretty much have our groove. And watching that sibling bond is indescribably heartwarming 😍

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  4. I have a question about your cons. If you may need to move for more room, are you sure you want to buy the house from your mom to begin with? If you know that at some point you want another kid, you will need the room “whenever” that happens anyway, correct?
    I just want to say there never seems to be an ideal time, usually, to have a baby. Do what you feel in your heart. Good luck making this decision!

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    • Yeah, it’s likely we’ll need a bigger house. At first it will work for the kids to share a room, but when they’re teenagers it might not fly. But we would potentially buy our house anyway because it’s a way to get a deal in an unbalanced (seller’s) market. You are totally right that there is no perfect time. We felt that way with Avery, too, and obviously regret nothing!

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      • Ahh I see. My sister and I shared a room until she went to college. We did fine most of the time, but it would have been nice to have some privacy once in a while when we were teens!

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  5. Good luck. Pro/con list only takes you so far—it’s an emotional decision rather than an intellectual one (despite the very real practical concerns). Would it help to remind yourself you’re thinking about another person, not just a baby? Can you picture your life beyond the baby years? When you think about the future you are working towards is there more than one kid in it? Are you happy with just having one or do you feel like you could be happy just having one? Do you want a second child or do you want to want a second child? Does your family feel complete or incomplete? These are some of the questions people asked me that got me thinking—they’re not actually binaries but knowing which way you trend can tip the balance.

    If you followed my blog half a decade or so ago you’ll know I waffled for years about bringing a second child in (I even have a tag for it!). Some of my indecision was wrapped up in waffling as to whether or not I wanted to carry (rather than having my wife do so again) but I remember being in the throes of indecision working hard to ignore what I knew very well was my underlying preference. Do you have one when you strip away all the practical considerations? Ultimately, I came to the realizations that a) more time thinking about it wasn’t going to provide any new information that I didn’t already have and b) it was never going to seem like a Good Idea but it also wasn’t a Bad Idea so if we wanted it to happen, we needed to take steps sooner rather than later. It also helped to remind myself that trying to conceive wasn’t the same thing as actually conceiving. And that if we did conceive, there would be a processing period before the child arrived. Breaking it down into smaller steps helped. The first step felt huge but it was a literally a phone call. And the next step was a blood test. And then buying pee sticks. And so on and so forth.

    Getting out of my head and actually taking steps was the only way for me to break the cycle of what-if. I think that would have been true if we’d decided to stop at one as well—start giving life as a family of three our undivided attention and see what the next logical step was after that. Giving the universe a nudge (as well as one can when one can’t just go off of birth control and let nature run its course) and seeing what it did with it. In a weird way, deciding to turn things over to the universe made me feel more in control.

    And I’m pretty pleased with our outcome. Even though our second child was harder than our first. She didn’t sleep nearly as well and she was (is!) way more clingy. And more active. More chatty. My wife is an introvert and I’m lazy, so it was exhausting (not just because it was my first time being postpartum). Things got easier after the first year but that feeling of “it would be so much simpler with one” took a longer time to fade and it still hasn’t disappeared completely. If you decide and are able to have a second child you should know that going in. You’ve spent time building the family you have now. Adding to it and adjusting to the addition also takes time. And if you decide not to try for a second, you’ll need time to say goodbye to the possibility of doing so. Either way the adjustment will be hard so don’t think that having made the decision will magically make it an easier decision. Going from 1 or 2 was way harder for both of us than 0 to 1 was for either of us but the joys and difficulties were far less tangible than my hypothetical pro/con list made them out to be.

    In short? I agree with everyone else—this is a decision of the heart, not the mind, and no matter what you choose it will be your family.

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    • Oh my goodness. I completely neglected say that had we not ended up bringing a second child into our family I am confident that would have been the right decision too. I don’t want what I wrote above to sound like proselytizing for multi-child families because I really could have gone either way. For me deciding to try (rather than deciding to actually have another kid, which was too big a step to wrap my brain around) empowered me to keep making decisions as I encountered the outcome of the previous decision—I knew in my gut I’d regret not trying, and so trying gave me confidence that I would be able to figure out whether or not I wanted to take each next step as it came along. So, as I moved from phone call to appointment to paperwork to pee sticks to inseminations to pregnancy to miscarriage and beyond, I was able to break things down into multiple decision points rather than one big Decision. Put another way, I knew I could make choices as I went because I had already made the first one, to try. I don’t think that was clear from what I wrote!

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      • This (Lemon) is a brilliant discussion that applies to MANY decisions we face in life going WAAAY beyond fertility and continuing through to the end…even when the end is after 97 I am hearing from those in that decade of life.
        Which is why I have no opinion about the decision but absolutely support and appreciate all your posts on all the subjects!

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      • Wow. Your post was so helpful to me! I do feel deep down inside that I want another child. My future family in my mind’s eye has two kids. It’s the fear of the unknown holding me back. I loved hearing your breakdown of the steps toward decision 😊 thank you!

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