There is so much on the internet about the topic of starting a family. If everything went the way you planned and you made it to the point where you are actually asking that question, that’s great for you and you can go study those articles about whether or not you should try for your first baby!
However, for many of us, that first baby just happened. We didn’t necessarily plan it. A lot of us were young and not sure how our fertility worked, had an unplanned pregnancy, or maybe we were just newly married and carefree about all of it.
For us personally, we were okay with a baby whenever it happened and planning had nothing to do with it. Our first child happened very quickly and with no effort or stress on our part. However, deciding to and then trying to have a second kid has put us through the wringer and been such a learning and growing process.
But it was really nice to realize that we are not alone in this. Among the couples I know well enough to talk to about this stuff, a good majority of them struggled most with their fertility and decision making with the 2nd or 3rd child. Who knows why that is, but I found this intriguing.
Regardless of the reasons for your struggle, if you are reading this you are probably wondering if and when you should have your next baby (whether it’s 2nd or 3rd or more!) Here are the points I’ve come up with to consider when you are thinking about adding more kids to your family.
Where are you at in your marriage?
The very first thing you should do when considering whether to have another child is to ask your partner how they feel. It effects both of you equally and you and your spouse you need to be on the same page. I hope and pray that if you were to have a surprise pregnancy, that you and your spouse would come alongside each other in support even if it wasn’t what you were expecting. However, if you do have the time and ability to make a premeditated decision, you should be discussing their wishes and feelings about it.
Another thing to consider when it comes to your spouse is the health of your marriage. Are you guys barely holding on, or is your marriage strong and healthy? I personally don’t think it’s fair to purposefully welcome another child into your family when you don’t even know if that family is going to last. Don’t think that a child will bring you back together. You guys need to be strong in your love and commitment to each other, or that baby is likely to break you apart. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Raising children is not for the faint hearted, and it’s easier to do when you have a partner who is as committed as you are.
Do you have what it takes to provide for another child?
There is the practical side to this as well. Do you have enough space to house another human being? Do you have the finances to provide for that human? I think that these are great questions to ask.
On the other hand, I also think that our culture has far too high of living standards. We think that absolutely everything has to be perfect or we can’t move forward. Well, one of my grandpa’s slept on his front porch. My father had 4 older siblings and they all shared one bathroom and two bedrooms. I’ve heard stories about large families packing kids in rooms like sardines… and guess what? They were all fine. If you’ve watched The Waltons, you know what I’m talking about.
While I do think you must practically assess whether or not you are able to provide for another child, that doesn’t mean that you need to have everything in perfect order to welcome another child into your family. A child doesn’t need a perfect home, their own bedroom, and the best of everything to have a good life. What they need is a stable family and lots of love. If you can provide those things, that is the most important.
Consider the physical & mental health of everyone in your family.
This is a big one. I am a strong advocate for large families. But if anyone in your family is struggling with physical or mental health struggles, that can be a big thing to consider.
I had some huge physical problems right after my first was born. This was an absolute decision maker for us: we were NOT having another child yet. As I have recovered and acclimated to the lifestyle changes that were necessary for me, I am 100% ready to go through pregnancy again and add another kid to our family.
While physical issues can be a pretty easy reason to hold off on more kids, mental health is just as important to consider. If either parent is dealing with a serious mental issue, or even if an older sibling has mental/learning/behavioral problems that need a lot of your attention, it’s very important to focus on those needs before adding another person to the family that needs more of your attention.
I think it’s pretty important to consider the overall health of your family as a unit. If things are good and you feel you have what it takes, go ahead and take the leap! If you aren’t sure how everyone will handle things, you may want to wait a bit longer or reassess your desires to have more kids.
How did you handle pregnancy & labor?
Are you ready to be pregnant again? Are you terrified to go through labor again? If you absolutely hated pregnancy and don’t want to go through that or labor again, you should definitely consider adoption. There are SO many children in need of a home and if you desire to have a larger family, but don’t want to go through the pain and frustration of pregnancy, consider adoption! There is nothing more beautiful than sharing the love and joy of your home and family with a child who is longing for it.
However, if you really loved pregnancy, like I did (I want to be pregnant again JUST as much as I want another baby), then you should definitely consider trying to have some more of your own biological babies. Although enjoying pregnancy is not a good reason in and of itself to have more children, it’s just a good thing to add to your list of things to consider.
How much time do you have left to make a decision?
If you desperately want a large family, but got a late start, you may choose to jump right in to having more children as soon as possible. I think this is great (although you definitely should consider adoption as a way to add more to your family even if age puts a damper on having your own children).
If you aren’t positive what you want, but are pretty young, don’t rush yourself. Take time to think about what it is that you want and how large you want your family to be, as well as how old you want to be when your kids are grown. All of this needs to be part of your decision making process.
Will you regret NOT having another child?
I can tell you the truth on this one: you will never regret having a child. Even if you end up having less money, time, energy or resources, you will NEVER regret having a child. The love you feel for them is crazy intense (you know this if you already have children) and once they are part of your family, you wonder how you ever could have lived without them.
The biggest question to consider here is if you will regret NOT having another child. I have heard a few momma’s in my life say that they do regret not having that 2nd, 3rd, or 4th child. Some even regretted leaving a big space in between 2 of their children because they felt like someone was missing.
What’s your gut instinct?
I’m sure you know the age old trick. Someone asks you a series of yes or no questions, then slips in the question you’ve been struggling over. Whatever you answer is the way your heart really feels.
So, really, if you had to choose today: yes or no… what would you say? Do you want more kids?
For us, the only decision we had to make was in timing of a second child. There was no doubt in our mind about HAVING the second child. We already know that if we can’t have another bio child that adoption is where we will be headed.
When people ask if I want more kids, there is no questioning it: the answer is YES. My heart soars when I think about getting pregnant again. I love my baby and I want so many more. I know it’s what I want.
If you’ve answered all the other questions and you still don’t know, just ask your heart…. What does it want? Indecision is a weird thing, because the truth is that YOU know what you want. Generally, indecision means that you are struggling with outside influences that contradict your hearts desire. If you have a desire (for or against something) and everything else falls in line with it, you will just say yes or no. However, when our heart’s desire doesn’t go together with what everyone else in your life is saying or what your circumstances are dictating, that’s where we have trouble making decisions.
Have you asked God what he wants for your family?
What it comes down to in the end is that we love to make a big deal out of family planning. We love to be in control. But the truth is that no matter how much we would love to be in control, we aren’t and never will be. God is in charge of our fertility and procreation and above all HE is the one that you should be asking whether or not you should have another child.
If you are pro-life, pro-child and pro-family, I promise that you will not regret having another child. Family is beautiful and children are a blessing from God. If you are leaning towards having more, have one more and see what happens! I guarantee you will be in love, even if some things in life do get a bit more difficult for a season.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord; offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”