The most common question I get is “how did you know you were ready to have another child” or even, “how will I know if I’m ready for another child?”
Truth is, no one can answer that but you and your partner. There is a lot to think about when trying to decide. Deciding on another child, in my opinion, was harder than deciding on having our first. We now have to think about; childcare for two, double the finances, double the workload and essentially starting all over in the baby phase. On a more emotional level...would my heart be able to love another? Would my first born feel left-behind? Would she feel like I was trying to replace her? These were the questions that made this decision a difficult one.
For us, the conversation of having another child came soon after our first was born. We knew without a doubt that we wanted at least two children. We wanted our child to grow up with a sibling the way we both did. We knew that we wouldn’t feel complete, otherwise. The biggest issue for us (me) was on a more emotional level. Would we successfully be able to grow our family into the loving, supportive, close-knit family that our parents were able to do? All the other stuff, we knew we would somehow make work.
Okay, so we knew we wanted more...but when? Once we had our first born, nothing else mattered. We were exactly where we wanted to be in our lives. We were completely and utterly in-love with this little human. We then knew that we wanted to enjoy a few years being just us three. We wanted Olivia to be at an age where she would remember special moments and be able to be involved. We decided a three year gap in age was ideal for us. See, there is no right or wrong. There is no rule to any of this. These are decisions made between you and your partner, your family.
Let’s fast-forward. All of sudden the days and years were speeding past us and before we knew it it was time to start planning that addition to our family. All of those emotions I was having came rushing back to me. Was I ready to share my heart with another? What was going to happen to Olivia? I was completely freaking out! I figured I still had time before I’m actually pregnant again (it took me almost a year to get pregnant the first time) so I wasn’t going to allow myself to stress, just enough this time with my baby. Two months later...I’m pregnant! Crap, that happened fast! Well, I had to deal with those emotions now, there was no turning back.
Looking back now, I can’t even imagine not having Aleena in our lives. Not just for the way she completes me but for what she gave to her sister. From the moment these two laid eyes on each other, I truly believe a special connection was made. A “pinky promise” (they always pinky promise) to always be best friends. Olivia took on the role as big sister immediately and we always entertained it. She held her, she fed her, she helped change her. She sang to her and talked to her about everything. Aleena would just stare at her either in complete awe or burst out into baby giggles. Olivia essentially potty trained her baby sister and let me tell you, she is damn proud of that too. Here we are 4 1/2 years later, they fight like two siblings should...but they can’t do anything without the other.
I'm just so thankful that we didn’t allow our fears to stop us from what we really wanted. Just like we thought...everything worked out just fine. Is it hard? Heck yes! Is it exhausting? Beyond! Are we juggling a million things at once? Every single second, of every single day! But, it’s so worth it!
My advice to parents who are planning to have more. Follow your heart. Regret is an awful feeling to live with. Compromise and make a decision together. If you decide one child is enough, that’s okay! Just be confident with that decision. Don’t be afraid of how much love your heart can hold...trust me, it holds a whole lot! Don’t be afraid that you won’t be a good mom to both, because I can bet that you'll be amazing! Don’t be afraid of how your oldest will react, instead teach them how to be an amazing big brother/big sister. Get them excited at the thought and importance of their new role. Children feed off our energy, so chill out! Trust yourself and the process. Allow your heart to grow, don’t let fear stop you.
Most importantly, allow your older child(ren) to really be involved. Allow them to feel important in all of this. Please don’t push them away because you’re afraid of germs or hovering. Instead, teach them the right way to handle a baby. I really do believe that is why my daughters are inseparably. Olivia will forever be proud of all that she did and taught her baby sister. We remind her of it everyday and the two of them laugh at the thought of it.
Follow your heart...whichever decision that may be!
Just know, you’re an amazing mother/father! Don’t ever question that!