In my experience, it doesn't take long after you have your first baby for people to start wondering about your second. So, before you know it, you'll be asking yourself questions about age gaps and the cost of two children and the benefits of siblings. The answer to those questions, of course, vary from parent to parent, which begs the question: How do moms know when they want another baby? Make no mistake, there's no one answer, let alone one "right" answer.
My first pregnancy wasn’t planned, but I can still remember the moment I decided I wanted to go all in and carry that pregnancy to term. My husband and I were having individual panic attacks about the situation just after I showed him the positive pregnancy test, but eventually we settled down and realized we were ready to try our hand at parenthood. Sadly, we lost that baby to prematurity, and as a result of that devastating loss we weren't in a rush to try and have another child anytime soon. Life had other plans, though, and I found out I was pregnant six months later. And in much the same fashion, I made the decision to see that second pregnancy through shortly after the pregnancy test turned positive. I felt like we were being given a second shot, and I had to at least try.
Now I'm raising our 4-year-old son and while I'm not in a hurry to expand my family, the thought of having another child has definitely crossed my mind. I mean, now that I have a child who is potty-trained and in preschool, should I have another baby? And if so, when? I have plenty of time to figure out the answer to that question, but I'm curious as to how other moms finally decided to expand their family. So with that in mind, here are a few moms willing to share their decision making process with us:
“I didn't have a moment that I knew I wanted a second. At first, after I had my daughter, I didn't want a second. But my husband wanted a second more than I didn't want one, so we decided to go for it after talking quite a bit. Once we made the decision, we knew, roughly, what age difference we wanted between them and used that to plan for when we would try. My answer is pretty pragmatic, but it all worked out. My son is an amazing little guy.”
“I always knew I wanted three kids. My oldest was planned and I got pregnant immediately. With my son, I was pregnant unexpectedly (and sooner than I had wanted), but I soon adjusted to the idea of having them 22 months apart. When my son was about 18-months-old I got pregnant again unexpectedly. I was scared and felt like I wasn't quite ready for a third. I found out at nine weeks that the baby's heart had stopped at seven weeks. Immediately after that, I knew for sure that I was in fact ready and I wanted a third. I ended up pregnant five months later with my son, who is now 2.”
“Our second baby came without a plan, and after two babies in quick succession we decided to table the decision of a third for four years so we could get our heads above water, accomplish some goals, and be ready. Our four years was up about the time of our 10th anniversary, and we went on a trip to celebrate and had lots of time to discuss. But as soon as one of us brought it up [we realized] we were both just suddenly ready — there was no question. We were all in and it's all we could talk about. I was pregnant six months later and I'm due this month.”
“After a rocky transition into motherhood and parenthood, we were absolutely one and done. Once our kid was 1 or so, we started enjoying our little family of three — every year and every stage got better and better. Everything seemed manageable, we enjoyed trips and adventuring with the kid, and I started sleeping six to seven hours on the regular.
Then [our daughter] turned 5 and hit the phase where kids ask about mortality. She started asking us what would happen to us, where she would go, and who would be her people if we died. We have small families on both sides and no cousins for the foreseeable future, and that really made me rethink things. We started the nightly conversations going back and forth on it and then took the leap. About 10 months later, we introduced her to her person. We are so glad we did, even though sleepless nights seem to be way harder to adjust to this time around.”
“When even on my worst day, I felt like someone was missing.”
“For me, it’s less ‘when you knew you wanted another’ and more that I’ve never felt ‘done’. Grew up the eldest of three, so I expect that feeling after this baby arrives in March.”
“When we find out that we're pregnant! We never plan for them; they just come when we've said that we want to wait (happened with all three). But I wouldn't change a thing, and we'll be extra careful for the next couple of years.”
“My husband and I were literally talking about our next baby as the medical staff was cutting the cord on our first one. We always said we wanted three. But after we settled into life with one child, I began to question it just a tiny bit. We had a great thing going: why screw that up? But just before my son turned 2 I found myself unexpectedly pregnant and, within days of finding out, had a miscarriage. That clinched it for me: I knew I wanted another and, moreover, I wanted another relatively soon. We had our second (and last) baby almost exactly a year after my miscarriage.”
“All I did was think about probably wanting another and bam! I was pregnant. OK, in all seriousness, I wanted another once I knew my kiddo was already potty trained, independent, and could complete simple tasks. It made it that much easier for them to help out and help themselves if and when I would tend to the baby. It worked out pretty well. Plus, the kids get along pretty well with the age gap. The first and third are three years apart, and third and fourth are four years apart.”