My Children Want a Sibling But I'm Done Having Kids!by Emma Longden
My husband and I made the decision, not long after I gave birth to our youngest, that three children was enough for us and that we would not have any more children. We weren’t quite keen on taking a drastic step at the time, so instead, I had the Mirena coil fitted, which would give us flexibility on our decision after five years. Three years in and we are both pretty confident with our decision to not have any more children, but have come across an issue we hadn’t expected - our children are asking when they can have another sibling.
Growing up as one of three, I don’t remember asking my mum for another brother or sister, so I guess I was just surprised when faced with the question from my own children. As it is not something my husband and I are planning on entertaining, this is how I have been dealing with the children’s questions.
I have always tried to be as open and honest with the children as possible, using language that they will understand but not sugar-coating what I am saying too heavily. Obviously, there are exceptions if the subject matter would cause them any emotional turmoil, and there are matters which are definitely to be kept between adults until a child is older, but generally speaking, I aim to sit down and talk openly to the children when they have a question. When it comes to discussing pregnancy and birth, I have met their questions about having another sibling head-on, explaining that we are happy to have the three of them and that we are not looking to have another baby.
Although I am well aware that a pet is not the same as a baby, I also believe that one of the main reasons the children are asking for another baby is the desire to have something to look after. I wouldn’t suggest looking at getting a family pet purely to stop questions about a baby, but if it is something you have previously discussed, it could help the children with the disappointment of there not being another baby in the family. We are not at the point where getting a pet is viable, but hopefully, this will be possible in a short period of time, so it has been something we can discuss with the children and plan for, instead of a baby.
One of the main reasons my husband and I aren’t looking at having another child is the difficulty of focusing our attention on all the children at once. I aim to spend one on one time with the children as much as possible, and this would be harder with another baby. With questions from the children about another sibling, I have been making a conscious effort to sit down with each of the children and remind them, through actions rather than words, how important it is to feel connected on an individual level with their mum. Spending time doing something they love doesn’t just help the children, it helps to reassure us that we are making the right decision for us, as a family, to stop our family at three children.