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Is having more than one worth it?

2436 Views 67 Replies 40 Participants Last post by  feonixrizin
I have an amazing 18 month old son. My DH and I are considering whether to have another child. Is having a second child really worth it? I know this might be a hard question to answer - I don't doubt that those of you who have two (or more) love them and don't "regret" it, but what's your advice for someone like me who hasn't started down that road yet?

I worry about becoming too overwhelmed - so overwhelmed that either my son or a new baby suffer for it b/c I don't have the time or energy to really be there for each of them. I don't let my son CIO, we co-sleep, he nursed until he decided he was done at 16 months... I'm not used to ignorning his needs and am afraid a new baby will force me to do just that. I'm worried that I will be stretching myself and my DH too thin - that our quality of life (and my son's quality of life) will suffer for it.

I read posts on a different forum all the time about how hard it is... it's made me hesitant.

Any advice - one way or the other - would be most appreciated. I'm very concerned over this and we really need to make a decision. If we're going to do it, we need to get started soon (we were considering August to TTC...) I'd really appreciate any input.

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Ok- this it just one opinion, but I LOVE it. I have 2 boys, 18 months apart. I think if I had it to do over again I would space them a little farther. Probably closer to 2 years. Although I really really love how close they are in age now (the younges is almost 11 months) in the beginning 3 months it was very challenging and I felt like a horrid mother (for all the reasons you described, stretched too thin, exhausted, et al). Right now though it is fabulous and they are best buddies and it is actually easier than having one kid. Again, just my opinion.
One thing I would recommend is starting to practice delayed gratification with your son. If he wants something, try telling him "in one minute, mommy's busy" and finish what you are doing first instead of dropping everything to run to him. You do not have to ignore his needs, but if you teach him that he can wait patiently for a few seconds and then give him your full attention, you will be well ahead of the game when the second baby arrives. If you are nursing you might need to tell the older child to wait and that you'll help him in a minute. Just a thought.
Somone once told me the following and I thought it was very accurate, "One child takes up 100% of your time, so you may as well have more!"
One last thing- I honestly loved my first son so much that I couldn't imagine that I would ever love another child like that. I was worried that I would feel differently about them. But it is amazing how much love we have to give and I adore both my kids. I never could have forseen how much I would just love them.
Good luck with the decision!
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My girls are 16 months apart, and they were planned that way. I have never ever regretted that decision. Not only am I able to cope with both children, as they get older they are even able to play together, occasionally letting me go to the bathroom in peace! And dd1 got to have special 'treats' while mommy nursed dd2, such as a special book that I would read to her while nursing, or a snack, or occasionally a movie. I tried to completely make sure that she was happy before I started nursing...that way I didn't have to worry too much.
Welcome Amy!

I also have an 18 month old only son and LOVE it. I can't imagine changing that dynamic by adding another child into the equation. I really enjoy being able to spend so much time with my son, especially when he really needs me to.

And, like you, I have read some posts on some boards that really makes me question having another. The moms of 2 kids are all so very stressed and seem to have a lot more "bad" days than I do. Of course, all of them have their children close together.

I still have not decided if we will ever have a second child, but I do know that it won't be for a couple of years, if we do. I'd really like my kids to be 4-5 years apart. I feel that I will be able to enjoy each of them more if they are further apart.

DISCLAIMER- for those that have kids close together...I am in no way saying that is a bad thing; it just isn't for me.
I've been where you are, very amibvalent about having another, and we decided to do it. #2 was born when ds#1 was 3. Although I'd never say I regretted having ds#2, in retrospect, I often wish we had left well enough alone. The closeness I had with ds1 ended forever with the birth of the baby. Don't get me wrong; we're still close, but it's not the same, and it never will be. The baby takes precedence - as he should - and the older child is pushed out of the way. You don't mean to do it, but you do it. #2 is 16m now, and I cannot sit down on the couch to read my oldest a book without the toddler climbing all over and preventing it. Naptimes are the only respite there is for me and ds1, and for a brief time it takes me back to the time when it was just me and him, and the good times we used to have. I miss that, incredibly. Often I have no patience with him now, I feel I'm expecting more and unreasonable things from him because he's older.

And in terms of stress in the family - it's big. We are overwhelmed, we are stretched too thin. Ds1 was finally sleeping through the night in his own bed, and now we're back at the beginning again with a long slog ahead of us. I'm sleep deprived and grumpy. Dh and I have little time for each other. We know that all this is temporary: those first years are tough, and things will improve the way they did the first time with ds1. But it's hard. I can not offer you any advice, just an honest assessment of what it's like for us. Had I known then what it would be like, I don't think I would have had a second child.
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zinemama - what you describe is exactly what I fear.
Is that what everyone experiences? ? ?

softmama and squintz22 - your children are close in age. I wonder if that makes a difference? If we start in August - at the very least my children will be 2 1/2 years apart.
Here's what I think. I have an almost 3 year old and a two month old. I miss my time and my relationship with my 3 year old very much. I feel sad that I can't do all the things I want to with him, when I want to. It is such a fun age and I do feel sentimental thinking of all the things we would be free to do together if the baby wasn't there. I love my baby fiercely. We wanted her so much and it wasn't easy conceiving and it wasn't a smooth ride getting her here. I am so consumed by joy at this new child and I wouldn't change a thing about her. So, there's pluses and minuses. If I hadn't had the second I wouldn't have seen what a wonderful and loving person my older one is. I want him to have a sibling for when he is older. They will both get more out of it in the future. Obviously there is no right answer here. If you have doubts, maybe a bigger gap between babies is your answer. Some people think that 5 years is ideal, almost like having two onlies because of all the attention lavished on them. I think of it as like the best of both worlds. Unfortunately in our circumstances it wasn't practical. Good luck with your decision.
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It's a VERY personal decision.

I have three children. I was ready for #2 when #1 was 3 months old! I've always wanted lots of children. My first 2 are 19 months apart, second two are 23 months apart....three children in 3.5 years. I love it.

It is difficult sometimes, when everyone is overtired, but we listen to our children and are in tune with their moods, etc. so we can usually avoid overwhelming situations.

I think for many moms the transition from one to two is a big one ... but from two to three is a snap! We're considering adding #4 soon ... and I'm really looking forward to having four children. I'm just a big family kind of person!

Gotta go round up my youn'uns and put them to bed!
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Oceanone - I didn't make this clear in my original post and probably should've - I don't think I have the option of waiting - though that does seem like it would alleviate some of my perceived problems. I'm of that dreaded "advanced maternal age" and if we're going to do it, we really shouldn't wait. (you and melaniewb both mentioned it might be worth waiting, but I just can't.)

just like zinemama, you are describing the exact situation I'm concerned about!
Personally, I can't imagine taking away from DS. Granted I made the decision to live the busy life I've led for the past bit (I just finished grad school, am in my last week of a practicum and working--hopefully I'll get a job in a school for the fall but summer off for now, and mothering my almost 2.5 year old in the odd moment
) but I was so overwhelmed not getting to give DS the attention he craved and deserved from me. Even now when I'm still working two 14 hour days and one 12 hour day a week we have so much more time together (four whole days each week!) I feel our attitudes have both improved tremendously and I feel this overwhelming sense of relief.

But this is just me and permanent (on DH's part) measures have been taken to ensure DS is an only.

Good luck with your decision.
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I have two. Last week my oldest (almost 5) was camping with his uncle. It was just me and dd. I had forgotten how easy, yet difficult it was to care for one child. I had to entertain her every second of the day, couldn't go to the bathroom alone etc etc. With ds home I have the luxury of reading a book for half an hour, knitting a bit, and peeing ALONE!!! I enjoyed having just us b/c we got to spend quality time together, but I was glad when ds got home and I could go to the bathroom alone :LOL:LOL
I emphasize with this. It was so easy with one. I love my ds dearly (my second) and am so glad to have him but I am stetched very thin and it is more than twice as hard. I know this isn't everyone's experience, but is many people's.

I nursed my first until almost three and my second is still nursing at 27 1/2 months. It is non-stop with two. I am so tired. Life is definitely and totally different with two.
I have 2 kids & 1 on the way, and my first 2 are 20 mos apart, between #2 and 3 will be 25 months (sooner would've been fine - was nursing and it didn't happen).

Anyway. It's very personal. I don't subscribe at all to the reasoning that having a #2 is "taking away" from #1. There is *so much* to be gained from sibling relationships and extra fun with the parents. My 3yo would be bored without his 19 month old counterpart - they are everywhere together! And it's so much fun to watch them be together and help them play and discover the world. So early, they are very close.

In my experience, having 2 kids was *so much easier* than having just one. All the focus is not on you, the mother, to constantly entertain the kid. I have a lot more fun playing with both boys while they play with each other than having 1 kid who sometimes I was not able to please immediately IYKWIM.

I wouldn't be having another kiddo if I didn't love having them and think they are a wonderful blessing for our family. We hope not to stop at #3. I always say I'd like more, feeling that it's not really in our hands anyway as we can't demand a pregnancy, though they've come easily for us... but that's a total aside.

Good luck with your decision - I love my kids and wouldn't have it any other way, except to have more of them.
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all I can say is: ABSOLUTELY!

My kids love each other soooo much. When Anna was about ten months and crawling around, she was at the end of aidan's bed on the floor and he was up on the bed laying down and playing "hiya" from behind the railing thingy that surrounds his bed. i remember this moment so clearly, she was giggling and he was loving it and I thought " wow. I never Knew."
Sometimes i watch them play and feel sooo blessed.
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I have found this thread very, very interesting. We only have one DS right now, he's 14 months. Some days I can't imagine adding another child, other days I can't imagine not having another baby! DH at the moment thinks one is perfect, but then he is seven years older than his brother, so was really almost like an only. I think sometimes it would be good to wait a few years before a second--I think DH would be more willing to have two in that case. But I'm with the other mothers here--I'm not "advanced maternal age" yet, but in another year or two I will be. I certainly can't leave seven years between babies. Even if we leave five years, I'll be 37. What happens then if we have trouble conceiving? What if it takes a couple of years? I can't even imagine going through pregnancy at 40--it was hard enough at 32, to be honest! And the sleep deprivation is hard enough now as well, what'll it be like in 5 or ten years, when I already feel like I'm not young enough to cope with it?

It's very interesting to hear what everyone has to say here. I think I probably will have a second child (if I can convince DH that we should), and I wish I could wait until DS was in school to have the baby. But like I said, can I take the risk of putting it off for four years? I don't know. It's nice to know that there are others thinking the same thoughts as I am!

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Alison, I had my second at 37 and got pregnant in 4 months. I know it's not the same for everyone, of course, but I don't think the fear of being 37 is a reason to have another right away, or sooner than you'd like. 37's not that old (when I think "advanced maternal age" I think 40+), and I think a 5yo would be WAY more up for a sibling than a 3yo.

In hindsight, I think having two kids 5 years apart would be the perfect situation. One thing I really missed with this baby was being able to have all the one-on-one time with him that I had with his older brother. With a 5yo in school, you'd be able to have at least a couple of hours a day alone with the baby. I felt like ds2 was more like an appendage I carried around while trying to deal with the wants and needs of a 3yo. And let me tell you, explaining (over and over and over) why I couldn't play with ds1 because I HAD to nurse the baby - again - got really frustrating.

My kids are just 3 and 19mos. No transition troubles at all and they adore each other. Well, except when they're fighting over the trikes or the dinosaurs.

Since ds2 was a week old, I've taken them both out every morning w/a picnic lunch for hiking or skiing and we come home mid afternoon. Keeps everyone busy and happy
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Allison- I had my second at 38, no trouble conceiving, but I am more tired as I get older.

I admire everyone who handles more than one child easily. But for me, even one kid can be pretty hard. I love my kids, but it's not been easy.
My boys are 23 months apart and very spirtied. The past two years has been a blur (building a house in the middle of it didn't help much!) of late nights, negotiations and clinging. I love our life and them but I often wish I had waited another year to have my second son. I told my girlfriend recently who just had her second with a three year spacing that her life seemed so much more "civilized."

As an only child, I've always wanted a sibling. I am keenly aware that when my parents are gone, I am alone in the world. I'll have no one who remembers my silly shinanigans, recalls my grandmother's sweet voice, saw my struggles in school, or witnessed my sucesses first hand. My boys play together, sleep together, cry together and have bonded with an intensity i am far removed from. I think the bond I had with my first DS before my second came along is now with he and his brother. Am I sad about that? No. I'm glad they'll have each other long after I'm gone.
Alaska: I'm glad you posted. I've been involved in other threads along the same lines as this and I still haven't been able to decide. I worry about my ds being alone. I think Megieblue hit it on the head when she talked about being an only and having no one to share your history with or having no other person that really, irrefutably belongs to and with you (other than your so or dc). I'm 36 and my ob had me twisted ALL up when I was pg with ds - on a down syndrome scare. Not sure why but I kept having to go for ultrasounds (I didn't do any other testing) and the baby's measurements never were "right", blah, blah, blah. So I feel this sense of urgency to hurry up and have a sibling for my ds because I'm "old". But you know, if I could be assured that ds wouldn't be lonely in his later years and that he wouldn't resent me for being selfish...I don't think I'd have one. My motivation is only for ds. Not for me.
OTOH, I talk to my cousin who has 3 kids and her life is crazy - but so filled with life. Her kids are always running around laughing, playing and involved in so many aspects of her community. I get envious sometimes at the full life she lives. She is dog tired, can't talk on the phone in peace and always seems to be yelling at someone to clean their room, but I still think she's lucky.

And the truth of the matter is - while I'm spilling my inner thoughts...I love my ds...but I wasn't a big pg person. I didn't find it all that enchanting. And I found childbirth to be even less enchanting. I think of my reason for not wanting more is because I'm scared to do that to my body again. On top of that, there's all those sleep issues and tantrums and oh my god could I handle not being able to lie down with ds for a nap because I had another one that needed attention? I'm so tired now. Do mothers of 2+ just give up sleep all together?
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