Are You Ready to Have Another Baby?

by Ann Douglas

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the optimal gap between births is 18 to 23 months. According to the researchers involved in the study, this results in the healthiest possible outcomes for both mothers and babies.

What this study -- and others like it fails to acknowledge however, is the fact that there's no such thing as "one size fits all" family planning. While some women are ready to plunge into another pregnancy while they still have one or more children in diapers, others don't even want to think about seeing the pregnancy test come back positive again until their youngest child hops on the school bus for kindergarten!

Still, while there's no "perfect time" to have another baby, some times are definitely better than others. Here are some factors to consider when you're trying to decide whether you're ready to have another baby:

  • How old is your youngest child? If you're still getting up two or three times a night with a young baby, you might find it hard to find the energy to cope with the physical demands of pregnancy.
  • How much attention do your other children require? It's one thing to contemplate another pregnancy if your other children are all relatively self-sufficient; it's quite another to think about becoming pregnant in the immediate future if you're busy caring for triplets or a child with complex medical needs.
  • How does your partner feel about having another baby? While reproductive advances have almost made men obsolete from the reproductive process, most of us prefer to have them along for the ride! If your partner feels quite strongly that he's not ready for another baby, you might not want to toss the birth control pills in the trash just yet.
  • Is your relationship on fairly solid ground right now? There's a myth that says that having a baby can help to bring a couple together when actually the opposite is true. If you're already having difficulty communicating, having a colicky newborn on hand isn't going to help matters at all, and you might want to postpone Operation Pregnancy for just a little while longer.
  • How will having another baby affect your family's financial situation? There's no denying it: kids cost money. If having another baby is going to stretch your budget to the breaking point, you might want to postpone your pregnancy until your financial situation is looking a little healthier.
  • How do you feel about having another baby? Does the thought of having another baby fill you with euphoria or dread? Your gut instinct will tell you a lot about your readiness for another baby.

If you take the time to weigh these factors, you should have a pretty good idea about whether or not you're ready for another baby.

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.

Comments

Well my oldest boy is eight and my youngest boy is three. We are the type that would prefer to wait for our youngest to be on the school bus headed to kindergarten as this article mentioned.

At this time we are currently TTC a girl. Four to five months ago I threw my birth control pills out and have not had any luck yet but we are hopeful...

Best of luck to the rest of you

I have one that is 14 going on 15 months and I am wanting another baby so bad. But I have all of these things in my mind about what will my mother say and about am I actually ready to give up more of my teenage life. I'm only 19 and my husband is 20.

Our health department has denied me birth control and I was just wondering if this is a sign for me to throw away the pills and start trying to have another baby.

Well it appears we are missing that mark by about a month. My husband and I are pregnant with our third child. My oldest is my daughter Jenna who turned 6 this year. My youngest is my daughter Shay who just turned 12 months old on 9/12. We are currently expecting our third child due on 2/26/10.

As this article mentioned, we are the type that would prefer to wait for our youngest to be on the school bus headed to kindergarten. This is why our current children are so far apart in age.

This pregnancy took us by surprise and to be honest, I'm still not quite sure if I am completely ready for another baby. My youngest will be 17 months old when I have the next one. But, here we are... and away we go. The one thing we know for sure. This will be our last child, so I am making every moment of this final pregnancy, a special one.

Good Luck to the rest of you.

Very helpful post. My daughter is 2 years and 7 months old and a lot of elders are convincing us to have another baby because according to them bigger age gap will affect their relationship with each other.

Well I respect their views but upon reading this, I'm sticking to our ( my husband and I) decision of not having another child for now. The financial confidence is a factor of our decision why we are not yet ready.