No matter what your family plans from the time before you had children — whether you've always known that you only want to have one child, or wanted a large family, or didn't want kids at all but you got pregnant and changed your mind — once a child enters your life you can pretty much figure on reassessing whatever plans you did have. Because though this sounds obvious, I think it bears highlighting: when you have a kid, you know what it's like to actually have one. Your dreams for the future have become your present reality, and that can make a pretty huge difference moving forward. You never know how having children will change you, and that includes your plans of whether or not to have more children.
Maybe before you held your first precious darling in your arms, you dreamed of landing a maudlin reality show with your dozens of children because you've always imagined yourself a pregnant Mother Earth goddess for 20 years straight and enjoy driving buses out of necessity, but then you had one and immediately sent your partner to go get a vasectomy because you instantly knew your family was complete. Or maybe you only wanted one, but then after a while, you were like, "OMG, babies are like tattoos or potato chips: You can't have just one! I think I want another baby!" These little creatures do strange things to us.
For those among us who've decided to take the plunge and go for another, our motivations and precise triggers can vary. Here's what 12 women said when I asked when they knew they were ready.
"When my daughter started crying every day for a sister. (She got a brother.)"
I was mentally ready right away. Seriously, in the hospital I was already thinking about getting pregnant again. But my body definitely needed a break, so we waited about 18 months to start trying again.
"When I met my husband. I had children from a previous relationship, but I knew I wanted another baby with him."
"I couldn't pinpoint exactly when, but around the time I could think about my son's traumatic birth without hating myself."
I thought for sure I was one and done, but then I hung out with my brother one night when we were home for Christmas and I remembered how awesome it was to have a sibling.
"Watching my little one tuck her stuffed animals into bed and kiss them good night. I knew she would be adorable with a sibling."
The day my body forgot what labor felt like.
"I really didn't feel like I had to wait for when I was ready. I felt like I was waiting for when she was ready to be born. Does that make sense? It's like when you're waiting for company to come over or something but you said, 'Just drop by whenever, I'll be home.'"
"When my BFF had her first [baby], and I remembered the good side of the newborn phase."
After I had a miscarriage. That sounds weird, but that pregnancy had been unplanned and freaked me out. When I lost it, I realize that I actually had been ready for another. It was very strange to feel the horrible sting of that loss and the excitement of knowing I was ready to continue to grow my family. I sometimes still feel guilty about it.
"The day I noticed the newborn clothes at Target."
"Seeing how affectionate my daughter became as she got older and thinking she could use another outlet for that."