If your loved ones are anything like mine, as soon as your first child is through the newborn phase, they will start asking when you’re going to have a second baby. At first, the answer was easy for me: “Not for a long time, please don’t ask me again until I’m not wearing the maternity clothes of this pregnancy and until I’m capable of changing a diaper in less than seven minutes and until I forget what labor and delivery was like.” But, as our son grew and as my partner and I got more and more comfortable with this whole parenting thing, I found myself asking the one question all grown-ass women ask themselves before deciding to have another baby, and suddenly the endless questions from family members and friends didn't phase me as much. I mean, I still wouldn’t answer it directly, but I wouldn't break out in hives, either.
Now, the concept of a second pregnancy doesn’t seem quite as impossible as it once did. Like, my readiness to endure pregnancy again (while still knowing and respecting the fact that every pregnancy is different), my understanding of labor, (ahem, while still knowing and respecting the fact that every labor is different), and what it’s like to bring home a newborn (again, while knowing and respecting the fact that every newborn is different) are all contributing to my feelings about it. While I am aware that predicting the future isn't something I can do, I do feel far more confident in my abilities as a mother now, than I did when I was preparing to have my first child. I've made some mistakes and learned some lessons and can say, with confidence, that I can handle a newborn baby.
So, all things considered, I’ve broken down this complicated decision into one simple question that every grown-ass woman should ask herself before adding another baby to the mix:
Am I, and is my family, as ready as possible for all that this second pregnancy entails?
It seems like a simple question (it is) but it is a weighted question that can spark numerous (not to mention, necessary) conversations. Here are just a few reasons why this question isn't only necessary, but a question that any grown-ass woman wouldn't keep from asking herself.
One could argue that, yes, we could take this out and the meaning would remain almost exactly the same since “my family” can be inclusive and reflect the speaker. In fact, I briefly considered presenting the question this way, but then I stopped and thought NO.
When we are talking about a grown-ass woman, we're talking about someone who is allowed to consider her needs independently of her family’s. However, because she is a grown-ass woman, she will also remember that her family members are a crucial part of the equation, which brings us to:
"...And Is My Family...”
Yes, a grown-ass woman considers her family when making major life decisions like, oh, you know, adding an entirely new person into the mix. I don’t mean asking her partner for permission and I don't mean asking if her kids want a sibling. I mean, she factors in their needs and her ability to care and provide for them, and plans accordingly. Because, part of being a grown-ass woman is crushing responsibilities, too.
Perhaps the crux of the decision to have another baby is one’s readiness to do so. One could want another baby, one’s family could be all about the idea, one could miss newborn-sized pajamas and hoodies with ears so much that it hurts, but if one isn’t physically or mentally or financially equipped to embark on the journey again, well, it might not be time to have another baby.
Ah, yes. A grown-ass woman knows that you can only prepare so much for the arrival of a new baby. I mean, I’ve had exactly one baby so this makes me a total expert on the matter, right? (Please don't answer that.) Still, I’m "experienced" enough to know that no matter how many boxes of diapers you have stored, no matter how prepped and pretty your nursery is, no matter how many babies you’ve been around, there will still be a learning curve.
“...For All That This Second Pregnancy Entails.”
And finally, grown-ass women know that having a new baby is an overwhelming life change, on par with graduating, moving in with a partner, or making eye contact with Taylor Lautner circa 2010. Nights turn into days turn into nights, and all are spent caring for and bonding with the baby, physically and emotionally healing, allowing current relationships to grow and change with the new addition, functioning like an adult when you have absolutely no time, and trying to remember to eat and drink enough to sustain your own energy and milk supply (if you’re nursing) while not bursting into tears at the drop of a (tiny, knit) hat.
And, you also know that it’s totally worth it.