Some moms like to get started on baby #2 before the first one is walking. Others, like me, decide to space out the siblings a bit -- or even a lot -- more. So how do you know if and when you're ready for another addition to your family? Here's how I knew:
We realized we wantedmore than one child
. Because my husband and I grew up with siblings, we knew we wanted at least two kids, so they could always have each other for company and support.
We discussed the age gap.
We felt the pangs, but we decided to wait a bit. Because the baby stage goes so quickly, it's hard not to long for that newborn smell, and holding a cuddly infant close to you. But at the same time, we were dealing with an adventurous toddler, and I knew that adding a newborn into the mix when I was finally getting to sleep like a human again wasn't a good idea. Plus, the idea of two kids in diapers and double strollers totally terrified me -- I don't know how you moms of multiples do it! Lastly, it took me a long time to feel comfortable with my body after a tough recovery from a C-section, and I just didn't feel physically ready to start the process again.
We considered the space.
Practical considerations came into play, too. In our first apartment, we were already maxed out on space with one child, so part of our decision to wait was because we wanted to buy a house that could accommodate a growing family. Because I'm a working mom, I also had concerns about childcare, since moving would take us too far from my mother-in-law, who helped tremendously with our first baby. Without that option, a new baby would have to go to daycare.
And then, things fell into place. After settling into our new home with our 3-year-old, we made a conscious effort to keep the extra bedroom empty because we hoped we'd be setting up a nursery in the near future. Around the same time, my mom retired from her job, and offered her services should we ever decide to “hurry up” and give her another grandchild. As with my first pregnancy, once we decided it was time to start trying, we were blessed with some good news pretty quickly.
My boys are just two months shy of being five years apart, but they couldn't possibly love each other more. Two turned out to be our family's magic number.
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, women's lifestyle, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, and more. She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband, two fast-growing boys, and a living room full of toys.