Baby Number Two: How Soon Is Too Soon?
Hello, I’ve been reading your blog for the last week or so and I find you hilarious and your advice sound and really helpful. So I have a question for you. My husband and I have a 16 month old son, he is the light of our life. Recently we have been considering having another baby, my husband wants another baby, like right now! We both want a big family and to have our children at least semi close together age-wise.
But every time we mention that we are hoping to have another one sometime next year people look at us like we are crazy, and ask us why we want our children that close together and I know they kind of scoff at our financial situation (we are both about to enter our final year of college in Sep.). So I wonder, is it too soon to have another baby? When is the right time? We both definitely want more children and I am really looking forward to the prospect of being pregnant again (I know, I know… WHY?) and having baby number two. But I’m afraid maybe these scoffers know something I don’t about having two small children or having them close together. What do you think?
You know, I personally file this topic — the whole having-more-babies-and-when topic — under the category of topics you simply don’t need to talk to other people about. Just stop mentioning it. It’s not their family, their situation, their decision and it’s just not any of their business. Plus — like discussing potential baby names — the feedback you get is almost guaranteed to be unhelpful. Some people are like, “OMG UR CRAZY,” while other people are just gonna be all “OMG R U PREGNANT YET? WHAT ABOUT NOW? OR NOW?” every time they see you because babiezzz!!1!
You are under no obligation to “mention” your plans to anyone, nor are you obligated to announce to the world that you intend to engage in unprotected sex that you hope will result in another pregnancy (AKA going around telling people that you’re “officially trying!”). Like a baby name, keep it to yourself until you actually have a real announcement to make, so people will (presumably) have enough manners to act happy and not be all vocal with the judgment over your choices.
You guys want another baby. You’re both on board with the idea of another baby. You guys want siblings close in age together. And you guys (I assume) can do your own maths and budgets and think you can swing another pregnancy and baby just fine, despite still being in school. All right then! Assuming you are not financially dependent on anyone else and/or living in someone’s basement and using them for free childcare, there isn’t anyone else who gets say in this decision.
I’m guessing someone you “mentioned” your plans to is concerned about your ability to finish college, which is valid. Or your ability to find work and launch a career with two very young children to care for. Also valid. You don’t mention if you’re in undergrad or grad school, so it’s possible that people are more concerned that you’re too young or rushing things and are just using the spacing thing as a stand-in for their real worries. That one’s subjectively valid. (I got married at 20, but am very glad we waited until my late 20s to have children, but it’s an entirely personal, YMMV thing.)
But unless I’m missing something about your living situation or level of financial independence here, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are capable adults in a solid relationship who are both aware of these issues, and that you feel confident that having children now won’t completely derail your options and plans later. (Or that any sacrifice is worth it, in order to have the family size/sibling dynamic you want.)
As for the “do these people know something I don’t about having kids close together” thing, I’m more questioning these people’s ability to like, do math and stuff. Your son is 16 months old. Assuming you were to get pregnant RIGHT THIS MINUTE, you would still not have the baby until after his second birthday. That’s…not really unusual? Two years apart is pretty common spacing, I’d say. I’d maybe raise my eyebrows if you said your son was like, three or four months old, but two years apart? Meh. Which again makes me suspect that the reactions you’re getting have a lot more to do with your age and school/financial situation, rather than the spacing issue in and of itself.
(So…I guess if you DID leave out the part about living in your parents’ basement and not being at all financially independent or able to finish school without using them for free babysitting…maybe consider slowing your roll a little, since their objections actually should carry a little weight in that particular situation.)
But if the scoffers are just your fellow college students projecting their own not-readiness to have children because that’s simply not where they’re at in life yet, whatever. Different strokes and stuff.
But look. You know. You’ve had a baby. I don’t need to state the obvious, here. You know the commitment and the work and the costs. I’m sure you are aware that two babies are more work and money than one, as delightful and rewarding as they are. (And remember that the costs don’t magically all go away once you’ve bought the crib and stroller and have some hand-me-downs.) (MY GROCERY BILL, YOU GUYS. Good lord.) Plenty of people have children two years apart (or less!). Plenty of people have children while young, or while they’re still pursuing college degrees. Plenty of people wait to have children until their finances are stable and they own a house and can fund multiple college savings plans.
And lots of people fall somewhere in between, believing that there’s no “perfect” time or age spacing or any of that — you just do what feels right for you, for your family.
(Or, in our case, while we endlessly debated whether or not we were ready for baby number THREE — or completely insane for even contemplating a third — we found out we were already pregnant and that baby number three was happening, ready or not.)
(Spoiler alert: We were totally ready.)