As a doula In Northern Colorado, a parenting coach, and a friend to many incredible people, I frequently get asked – how do I know when or if we should have another baby? It’s amazing how often this comes up in parent Facebook groups, coffee and park dates, and between partners.
It’s a loaded question and there are SO many factors that go into it – big emotions, medical decisions, finances, going through birth again, space in your home and car, and so forth. While I don’t know all of your situations as intimately as you do, and I ultimately can’t answer this for you, I’m going to cover what I do know in this blog.
As a doula in Northern Colorado who is seeped in all things related to families and babies, here’s what I would encourage you to consider as you navigate these big life choices.
First of all, let’s break it down further. Can you answer this question yet – do you want more kids?
Should I have another baby?
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to have another baby, I think it’s important you think about the following things:
- Your Body and Mind – Childbirth is hard and arguably, postpartum can be even harder. Let’s be realistic. Can you realistically have another child AND still take care of yourself, your relationship with your partner, and your existing kids? Is your body healed, especially if you’ve had a cesarean and want to try for a VBAC this round? Answer these questions honestly.
- Your Partner – Whatever direction you choose, it’s of the essence that you and your partner are on the same page. Do you both want another one or does only one of you? It’s key to have open and honest discussions about these things to avoid resentment and missed expectations.
- Finances – Having a baby is expensive. Sit down and forecast what another child will look like for your budget including childcare, cost of labor and delivery (and a doula!), and so forth. Finances shouldn’t be the only factor you take into consideration but it’s definitely an important one.
- Lifestyle – It’s important to really ask yourself – can we accommodate another baby? How will a new life in the family affect things like space in your house and car, travel, and future plans?
- The Newborn Stage – As parents, we often gloss over the newborn stage in our memories, but it’s really, really hard. It’s totally disruptive to your family and it’s really exhausting both mentally and physically. Are you ready to go through that again? Do you have the support and stamina you need to re-enter that phase?
- Siblings – Depending on your family dynamic, providing a sibling or two (or more!) is something many parents feel passionate about. Determine which camp you’re in and examine your motivations in this category. Making an informed decision starts with the long-held beliefs we have about things just like this.
- The Pandemic – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this one. Hopefully 9+ months from now, this will all be a distant memory but in cases it’s not, it’s something you should think about. If people are still unable to travel much, will you get through with less support? Will you be incredibly anxious having a baby in these conditions?
- Gut Feeling – Last but certainly not least, if you’re reading this blog, you are probably trying to make up your mind about whether or not to do it again. But chances are you already know in your heart of hearts, in your gut, which way you’re leaning. Trust your intuition and confirm your own desires, no matter which way you leave.
How long should I wait in between babies?
If you’ve decided to have another baby, the question becomes – if so, when? How long should you wait before you have another? Are you ready for another now or should you wait some period of time before committing to a new babe?
As a parenting coach and a doula in Northern Colorado, you guessed it – I have thoughts on this too. Here are a few things to consider:
- Your body does need some time in between pregnancies to recover and regain strength. There is no magic number of months you should wait because it depends on your body’s needs and your other pregnancies. But it is ideal to give your body at least 12-18 months before you try again. And on the flip side, waiting more than five years to get pregnant again can be hard on your body as well. Plus, if you’ve had any birth trauma, you may need more time.
- Are you mentally ready? This is an important question I like to ask as a Northern Colorado doula. Having a new baby at any point is hard, but especially if you have other children (or just another child) at home. Make sure you’re feeling well and have the support you need to bring another baby into the world.
- Is your child ready? No, your child (or children) will never be totally ready for a new baby but there are a few things you can do to make it go a bit smoother. Are they potty trained? Do they sleep pretty well? Do they have a good bond with your partner? These things will make it a bit easier to add another baby to the family.
- What’s your age? I’m a firm believer that any person can do anything they want to do, but there are some constraints to childbearing in more advanced years. If you want to have a bigger family, age is something to consider.
- Do you have baby fever? And my favorite question – do you have that itch for a new baby? If you can’t walk past a cute baby in the grocery store without your ovaries hurting, it might be time for a new baby to hold.
- And finally, Are you processing grief? As a bereavement doula, I walk with clients through everything from infant loss to pregnancy after loss and I know first-hand how grief can add a whole new layer to these questions. If you need help navigating all of this, please contact me for individualized advice.
And for those families that have experienced loss, have dealt with infertility, have some kind of birth trauma, or have had IVF treatments, or have otherwise gone through hell to become parents, know that I see you. I see your struggle and I know that deciding to have another baby can feel like such a big decision, outside of all that’s included in this blog. Your fears and reservations are valid. Sit with those feelings, work to address and heal from your history, and then decide if another baby is right for your family.
But no matter what you decide, your family will be perfect and you’ll be the parent your kids need. No one knows what your family needs quite as you do and no matter what, you’re doing a great job.
And you know you’ll have me by your side every step of the way… Yes, you do need a doula for your 2nd, 3rd, 15th baby… If you think it’s smart you could link here to my blog about why you need a doula for your next baby.
As a doula in Northern Colorado, it is my life’s work to help families be the best they can be – no matter what that looks like for you. Please contact me with any questions about family planning, parenting coaching, or doula services if you decide to add another.