5 signs you're ready for another baby
It felt like you’d only just had your first baby and were enjoying getting to know them, when people started asking if you were planning to have any more children.
At first, you just laughed it off – too shocked at their brazenness to tell them it’s none of their business. It’s not, by the way!
In the early days especially, you couldn’t imagine having sex ever again, let alone trying for another baby. When the midwife asked you what contraception you were using in your postnatal check-up because you’re super-fertile after just giving birth, you practically laughed in her face!
But now, time has passed, and the once-traumatic memories of your labour have subsided. Your baby is sleeping better at night, and has finally moved out of your room, so at last you have some time to yourself with your partner to get intimate again.
And now you’re open to the possibility of trying for another baby. But how do you know if you’re really ready?
Here are 5 signs that you might be ready to have another child…
You have confidence in your abilities as parents
When you brought your first baby home, you had no idea what you were doing and couldn’t believe you’d been allowed to leave hospital with a tiny human that you were expected to look after for the rest of your life!
You spent the first few months googling every symptom and checking on your baby every few minutes when they were asleep, to see if they were still breathing.
Now, although you’re still winging it as you deal with different phases – the terrible twos, the threenager phase – the thought of looking after a newborn again doesn’t completely terrify you.
Be aware though, the chances of creating a carbon copy of your firstborn is near enough impossible. That may be music to your ears or it may scare the crap out of you.
You feel ready
The lightbulb could switch on at anytime to tell you that you’re ready – when you’re packing away your firstborn’s newborn clothes, when they conquer toilet training, when they start school. Everyone’s lightbulb switches on at different times, and for some, the lightbulb doesn’t switch on at all.
Having a baby is draining – both physically and mentally. You have to get through the day on minutes of sleep, try not to ball your eyes out when Bambi’s mum dies, and stay calm when your baby refuses to go to sleep in their cot. Are you ready to go through that all again when you already have a child to look after?
You don’t feel pressured
There’s nothing worse than being pressured into a decision – whether that pressure comes from an outsider or it’s the pressure you put on yourself.
We’ve all done ‘life maths’ in our head at some point – you give yourself a time limit to find ‘the one’, tell yourself you want to have two or three kids and you want the first one by the time you’re a certain age, and don’t want there to be a big age gap between your first and second.
Then there’s the pressure you might feel from friends who are busy having their second or third babies. Or those who constantly ask you when you’re going to have a second.
The decision to have another baby isn’t like deciding whether to have pudding after your main meal. This decision will affect the rest of your life, so it’s vital that you don’t give into any pressure you might feel.
You feel broody most of the time
It’s one thing to see a cute baby and feel that twang in your uterus, but if you’re serious about wanting another baby, that broody feeling shouldn’t just be a fleeting moment – it should last long after the cute baby has gone.
The true test is whether you still feel broody when a baby is crying or when their nappy smells like rotten eggs, and you don’t dread the thought of going through the tough times all over again.
There’s also the broody feeling you get when you see another pregnant woman. If you no longer get nightmare-inducing flashbacks to when you constantly felt nauseous and your feet swelled to the size of balloons, chances are you and your body have made peace with the trauma that was pregnancy and childbirth and are ready to go through it again.
Things are going well
As well as the emotional side, you also need to think about boring adult things like finances and space.
There’s never going to be a perfect time to have another baby – there’ll always be an excuse as to why now isn’t the right time. In an ideal world, you’d be a millionaire with a live-in nanny and a holiday home in Florida. But this isn’t an ideal world. You need to weigh up the pros and cons and only you and your partner can decide if it’s the right time.
The most important thing is to talk to your partner and see how they’re feeling. You both need to be on the same page. If you’re not, it doesn’t have to be the end of the conversation. But it’s vital that you’re honest with each other.
If there’s a slight crack in your relationship, a new baby isn’t going to fill it in. It’s likely to make that crack even bigger and so it is probably worth trying to mend or work on that first, before taking the plunge.