Deciding whether or not to have a second child can be nerve-racking. Two
children is the norm. However, more and more couples stop with one.
How can you determine what is best for you?

Here are some tips for making one of life’s most important decisions:

* Consult your partner. Your spouse’s insights can help with
your own thought process. It is also important to understand each other
worries. Hearing my husband’s fear that another child would stress our
Marriage, I kept date night on the agenda after our second baby arrived.

* Don’t rush. Have children three years or less apart in
age is difficult for parents from the beginning. If you just had your first and no
Running the biological clock, take a breath. Some of the happiest
parents have widely spaced children.

* Weigh the sibling factor. Providing a sibling for your firstborn is
it is not a sufficient reason to have another baby. Not all brothers get
throughout, and the singletons get it right. You need to want to raise another child. Yes
you want a playmate, arrange a play date.

* Visualize life with two. With a child you can hold on to your
adult life. Two places you firmly in the world of children. Expect dinners at the
pizzeria, not the bistro. Get ready to double your sick days, but also
Double the fun, especially as your children grow and play together.

* Visualize life with one. You have a lot of time together with a
only son. You are also the default entertainment. Count on enjoying a
close, special relationship, and playing a lot in Candyland.

* Think ahead. Okay, so you want another baby. But you want
another teenager? Or are you just trying to preserve the baby stage from
parenthood, what happens no matter how many children you have?

* Consider your resources. The second child can force you
financially, emotionally and physically. But you will also grow to know the
challenges and realize how much you learned the first time.

* Reframe the question. How would you feel knowing that?
Couldn’t you have another child? Sad? Relieved? Listen to your first
reaction to this question.

* Make a decision. The decisions are difficult, but empowering. If you
I can’t decide, see a therapist. Therapy may be especially helpful if
and your partner does not agree to have a second baby.
Recognize that stopping having a child is also an option.

* Review your decision. I asked if he wanted a second when
the first was a baby. I replied, “No way!” A year later I decided to go
for it. Everything can look different once your little one sleeps
the night. Rest can make you anxious about having another or determined to
stop with one!

(c) 2005 Jennifer Bingham Hull. Reprint rights granted provided that the
The article is published in its entirety, including the resource box and its