When is the Right Time to Have a Second Baby?by Claire Chircop
When is the right time to have a second baby? It’s a thought which may or may not cross parents minds after having their first child. Everybody’s opinion on the right time to have a second baby is different. Some parents may choose to only have one child. Others may want to expand their family with another child or maybe even another couple.
We found out just after Christmas that we are expecting our second child. Was this the right time to have a second baby?
We’re besotted with our two-year-old toddler & decided mid last year that we would start trying for another. This was a decision we spoke about in great depth as it really felt like it was something we both had to be 100% sure of. The decision was not only for us but for our daughter too. Something we didn’t have to consider the first time around.
We conceived relatively quickly (after 3 years of trying with our first) so there were a few 'oh sh*t' moments to begin with. But ultimately we believed that this was our time & the right time to have a second baby.
The discussions we had at this time got me thinking if there is actually a right time to have a second baby?
After doing some research I found various different articles. Quite a few of them actually made me feel bad about our decisions like we were being irresponsible. The truth is I didn’t expect there to be a scientific explanation *insert eye roll here* of when the right time to have a second baby is.
When the 'experts' believe the right time to have a second baby is.
Notice experts in abbreviated commas *insert another even bigger eye roll here*. You know how this one’s going to go don’t you?
Experts advise that the safest gap between pregnancies is 18-24 months. They have found that babies conceived within six months of birth carry a 40% higher risk of having complications. They’ve also advised that having children 10 years or further apart increases the risk of early labour. Some midwives have also suggested that if you've had a cesarean with your previous baby, you should wait a full year before conceiving a second.
I’m fully aware that these experts will have put a lot of hours into doing their research & studied really hard to come to their conclusions, but I can’t help but feel like we’re being told what to do with our bodies.
And I’m not here for it!
When I believe the right time to have a second baby is.
Ultimately you need to do what’s best for your family & whether that’s waiting 10 months or 10 years, I really don’t think we should be judged for the decisions we make.
Bizarrely I found that as soon as our daughter hit the ten months mark that this is when we started getting the second baby questions. Those dreaded second baby questions! I mean, that’s a rant for another day, but I’m very against asking people when they’ll be having children or when they’ll be having another. We fundamentally don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, or the struggle some families go through to conceive. Asking these types of questions only brings up feelings of guilt & can make some people feel really down about their situations.
Sure there’s pros and cons to both shorter and longer age gaps, but I think as everybody’s family situation is different there really can’t be a generic right or wrong answer. Having a smaller age gap between children might mean you get nappies out the way quicker, but it may also mean you’re going to have teenagers going through puberty together. Longer age gaps suggest that you regain a bit of yourself before throwing yourself into the sleepless nights again. But is it wise to spread the sleep deprivation out?
It’s basically all swings and roundabouts.
When the media says the right time to have a second baby is.
I wanted to touch on what the media says & how pregnant women are displayed in the tabloids.
Pregnant bodies are generally so highly displayed in the media which I think is great. It’s just the nitty-gritty stuff afterwards which needs more work!
I recently read an article about a celebrity which was titled ‘X is pregnant with their third child in three years. Now I’ll be honest I didn’t know a great deal about this celebrity or what she’s famous for, but the fact that this headline is judging how quickly she has decided to have her children completely riled me up... And I'm usually pretty chill! Why should the spacing between her children be the headline? It just baffled me.
It’s honestly something I probably wouldn’t have gotten so narked over before finding out we were expecting our second baby. It’s strange! And I kind of feel disappointed that I didn’t feel as strongly before about it all as I do now.
Basically, the tabloids are trash! There, I said it!
As a non-expert in the field, I would like to point out that what I’ve said is completely my own opinion. I didn’t expect to feel so passionately about when the right time to have a second baby is. Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s just somebody telling me what I should & should be doing.
All I know is that whenever you do decide to have a second baby, it doesn’t matter what the experts say. You might be ready straight away, it might take a few years. Everybody’s situation is completely different & we shouldn’t be judged by what we do or don't decide to do with our bodies.