Another one what?! Another snack, oh what no, another child?
As a first time parent to a two year old, in the last few months I feel as if Im finally sorted to get back a semblance of my old life… sometimes. At the moment we are going through the potty training stage (which is going very well, thank you very much!) and yesterday was the first time in over two years that I went grocery shopping without having to buy nappies. Ok, yes Daniel is still wearing pull ups when he goes to bed, but that is something that I am really not too stressed about. And while I may not be ready, at this point, to be having number two and also knowing that there will not be a number three, I commend Moms and Dads who had their first born in and around the same time as I had Daniel. Hell, kudos to you because you are braver than I. I quite like our routine and quite family time but what I find to the amazing might not be great for others.
I think that because Daniel was very much a surprise baby (although we had been married for three years already) our decision was made very easy… we didn’t have a choice to make. But now that we are in a position to say, ok well, lets have another we are finding it difficult to say yes, ok lets. So I decided to do a bit of research on what is the optimal time after having your first baby should you have the second or third…or fourth and this is generally what I found out via a few different “mommy websites”.
- Waiting 18 to 23 months after the birth of your last child before conceiving another seems best for the new baby’s health, according to several studies. Having a gap of less than 17 months is associated with a significantly increased risk of having a baby of prematurely and underweight. The risks are highest for babies conceived less than six months after the birth of a previous child. And those conceived more than 59 months (about five years) after their closest sibling also face an increased risk for these outcomes compared to babies conceived 18 to 23 months after the last birth.
- Many believe that a mother’s body needs time to recover from the stress of giving birth and replenish all the nutrients she lost as a result of the first pregnancy. Conceiving again 18 to 23 months after giving birth may also capitalise on changes to your body as a result of the previous pregnancy and birth that benefit carrying another baby. For example, it may be that increased blood flow to the uterus from the last pregnancy benefits the next baby, but that there is a limited time window of about two years before blood flow returns to pre-pregnancy levels.
- When your first is under one year or over four years is the ideal time in terms of the children’s relationships with their parents, sibling rivalry, and their own self-esteem, according to Jeannie Kidwell, a professor of family studies. She believes children under one don’t have a sense of their special status yet, and that those over four have had enough time to enjoy attention from Mummy and Daddy, plus they now have a life of their own. According to her research, the benefits of these small or wide sibling spacings can extend into adolescence.
All the research in the world is not going to really make up your mind for you but psychologically I believe that society still bulks at the “One Child Concept” because it is ingrained into our heads that every child should have a sibling. And after having this discussion with friends of mine who are only children, again I am coming up 50/50 some loved being an only child and others hated it. While I would like to think I would be ok with only one child, I have a little voice in the back of my mind asking if I am being selfish towards Daniel and his future. I know that I wont be around forever and siblings are, after all, your first friend in life.
I could go around in circles for quite some time on this topic but all it boils down to is simple mechanics, do you want another child? Can you afford another child? Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of that choice but they are two simple questions, for me the answer to yes is both.
Its just a matter of timing, my timing, not yours.