Deciding whether or not to expand your family can pretty tough.
Add to that the new adjustments you’ll have to make to the family schedule, the family dynamics and getting everyone to adapt, it’s almost like creating a whole new family again.
If you’re on the fence about having another child, here are several things you’ll have to mull over.
1. Your spouse
If you, or your spouse still feels like life has been turned topsy-turvy by your previous children, then respect that the timing isn’t right. Showing honesty and respect for each other’s feelings will allow your relationship to thrive.
Says Pamela Oh, a mum of three, “To us, if one of us disagreed, then it wasn’t going to happen. Things can change, and perhaps we’d be more ready as a couple a few months down the road. It doesn’t always mean that a ‘no’ is permanent.”
Your existing children could be extremely excited, or they’ll feel neglected or betrayed.
2. Your other children
Your family dynamics will definitely change when you decide you want to have another child. Your existing children could be extremely excited, or they’ll feel neglected or betrayed. Some may act out, trying to get your attention.
If you had one child before, he’ll have to come to terms with not being the only child anymore. Got two kids? You’ll realise that your younger one will become the middle child. With that may come other issues like throwing more tantrums, in a bid to get more attention.
3. The practical aspects
Adding another child to the mix means that you’d have to consider things like space ― do you have enough room for another child? If not, would your older kids be willing to share a room?
What about your family car? If you want four kids, would you be able to fit them all safely into your sedan?
4. Financial constraints
Of course, having a baby doesn’t come cheap. Besides hospital and delivery bills, you’d need to think about insurance, childcare, and education. This is in addition to the cost of milk and diapers ― and when the kids are older, food, plus other material possessions he or she may need.
When another child arrives, you may also wish to consider whether one parent should stop working for the moment. If this is on the cards, you’ll need to work out if your family can live on income, and whether you’ll have a safety net to fall back on.
5. Your lifestyle
Along with tightening your belt, there may be lifestyle changes you may need to make if there’s another baby.
Stay-at-home mum of three, Karissa Wang, notes that even a family outing to an indoor playground is much more expensive when you have three kids. “It can easily cost us about $100 for two hours of play ― that excludes meals!”
Another lifestyle change she had to make was travelling. “We used to take regular trips to places like Japan and Europe. With three kids, the costs are astronomical,” she points out.
In addition, if your family sedan is no longer adequate for your growing family ― and you can’t stomach the cost of a new vehicle ― you may have to do away with one altogether. Would you then be prepared to use public transport?
“It’s easy to get overwhelmed with more kids, and even more so when you aren’t as sprightly as before.”
6. Your health
The health of the mum also needs to be considered ― which means you need to take into account your age.
Going through the pregnancy full term, and later, looking after a newborn is extremely physically demanding. Older mums are at a higher risk of miscarriage, as well as conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
Says Wang, who had her first child at 35, “It’s easy to get overwhelmed with more kids, and even more so when you aren’t as sprightly as before.”
7. What you really want
Ask yourself whether, and why, you want another child. Is it to provide another sibling for your earlier children? Are you worried that you’d be too old before you have another baby?
For Oh, she knew that she wanted to have a third child because she always saw herself with three kids. “I have two siblings myself, and I love the family dynamics. We knew that three was the right number for us.”
Then, there are others, who, upon much consideration, decided that it was time to stop.
Mum of two, Cordelia Ho, 37, had initially wanted a third child. “I gave it a lot of thought. And then I thought about how I saw myself when I turned 40. Now that my older kids are more independent, did I really want to be looking after a baby or a toddler all over again?”
Another mum, Igna Chua, says that she faced a lot of pressure to have more than one child. “Everyone tells me to give Sabrina a sibling. But I like how life is now ― I love being a parent, yet I love the flexibility I have with just one kid. I know that things will be a lot harder if I had another one.”
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