My husband and I often find ourselves contemplating having another baby. Our first son is just two. Interestingly, he seems ready for a sibling too. There are days I find him crying around, in his toddler voice, simply because he wants the opportunity to carry a baby. I mean, he actually says, ‘I want baby!’ Considering he’s practically a baby himself (I’m not sleeping through the night yet!), I find it pretty hilarious.
Besides conversations with my husband and the occasional tantrum of my son requesting a baby, I sometimes think I may not be ready to have another child, at least for the time being. This thought comes easily, especially in moments I find myself on the floor, ready to cry from the exhaustion of caring for one really energetic toddler. (And yes, I have a help!) So basically, in such moments, I find myself wondering how I could possibly cope with another baby when I’m barely getting by with just one.
Doing this mental back and forth every few weeks has me wondering what parents should consider when deciding to have another child. I imagine the first consideration for the average couple is their original family plan. Most people talk about having kids before they get married. They decide if they would have any, how many they would have and how far apart each child will be spaced. Except for rare cases, most have different ideals and tend to come to some sort of compromise. But I wonder what happens when one spouse changes his or her mind. How do they then decide?
Factors To Consider
Some would probably consider their finances and support structure. They might decide the time is right based on the fatness of their bank accounts. Or it might be based on having an enabling support system. I figure career people will consider their staff or employers, while others will consider their extended family. After all, it really does take a village to raise a child. But what happens if an unplanned pregnancy comes along? (Let’s face it; these things happen even with the best birth control)
Then there’s the societal factor. For Nigerians especially, societal expectations are a big deal. Consciously or unconsciously, we are affected by the expectations of the people around and are often choosing to conform or rebel at different points. And since people are terrible at minding their business, you can be sure the association of ‘womb watchers’ are keenly interested in your family planning. They expect you to have your first baby about 9 months after your wedding. If you’re ‘lucky’ enough to satisfy this first expectation, don’t think you’re free yet. They’ll be asking about the next child within the next two years.
But what happens when you haven’t conceived a second or third or fourth time despite your best efforts?
The bottom line is when it comes to the matter of having children, your carefully laid out plans can be shaken by chance. My suggestion is to keep an open mind even after thinking things through. It could happen when you want, as well as when you least expect it. Life is full of beautiful surprises.
So, live in the moment. Enjoy your child/children. See where life takes you, and be true to yourself. Finally, you know I won’t end this article without asking you to share how you decided or think people should decide when to have another child.