About our Decision to have a Second Child

A year after I wrote about our decision to only have one child, we reversed ourselves. Yesterday we found out we are pregnant.

I wouldn’t normally announce the pregnancy so soon, preferring to wait a few months until we are past the most likely period for something going wrong. If a miscarriage occurs, we may very likely not try again. But hey, we’re excited today.

Our reasons for not having a second child were clear.

My wife had a tough pregnancy with pre-term labor resulting in her spending the last five months on anti-contraction medication and modified bed rest (stay around the house, don’t exert yourself, try not to be bored out of your mind). She also experienced serious pre- and postpartum depression. And of course, there were financial concerns with having another child.

So, why did we change our mind?

In hindsight, we know she was depressed even before the first pregnancy. Between therapy and medication (both successfully discontinued now) and supportive friends, she is better. We’re going into this new pregnancy knowing the warning signs to watch for, and aware of medications that can be called upon if needed. And we know who our friends are.

The desire to have two children continued to gnaw away at us. We want our Little Miss to have a sibling, even with a four-year age gap. We also want her to have a close family relationship after we’re gone. She has a first and third cousin, but other than that, our immediate family tree is facing certain demise.

As for my wife, much of my daughter’s first year was sad despite the obvious joyousness of the experience. She has not cited this as a factor in her thinking, but I see that she wants to recapture what she missed.

And, I suppose, we simply want. How do you quantify such a thing?


21 Responses to “About our Decision to have a Second Child”

  1. judy says:

    Congratulations!!!! I’m so happy for all of you! My kids are four years apart! I think it’s a great age difference! Love from me and all of us at goodyblog!!!!

    July 13th, 2007 at 3:54 am

  2. STL Mom says:

    That’s wonderful!
    Won’t it be fun to see Little Miss become a big sister? My daughter has learned so much from taking on that role four years ago.
    Good luck with everything.

    July 13th, 2007 at 7:51 am

  3. Dani says:

    Congrats. I think four years is a good age difference. We’re shooting for 31/2 to 4 years between ours.
    We also had a lot of issues with the pregnancy and ours resulted in a lovely 29 week preemie. However frightening it will be, we still willl be overjoyed when we get the pregnant stick for the next one.
    So happy for you and even though there are risks, share your joy!

    July 13th, 2007 at 9:02 am

  4. Patti says:

    Congratulations. And thank you so much for sharing with us. I’m not a good one for effusive language, but believe me I am immensely honored to be even such a little fly-on-the-wall part of this and I have nothing but strong well wishes for yours and your wife’s pregnancy (Yes, I’m one of the weirdos who considers that Dads are pregnant when their wives are even though they aren’t physically so).

    Have you told Little Miss yet?

    July 13th, 2007 at 9:32 am

  5. Sandy says:

    I love reading Thingamababy because my twins are so close in age to Little Miss. We also had decided we were done. Then a few months ago, we changed our minds. We are now also pregnant, due in Feb., and it was a huge surprise to all of our friends and family.

    Congratulations! I hope you and your wife have a happy and healthy pregnancy!

    July 13th, 2007 at 9:33 am

  6. Beckie says:

    I understand the “want”. My kids are 11 years and 3 years apart, and my youngest is going to be 2 this December, and my oldest turned 16 this month and believe me, I wake up at night, and still think I may want another one…

    July 13th, 2007 at 9:35 am

  7. Kalani says:

    I love the line about ‘want’… How does one quantify want? My little fam wishes you all the best! Baby #1 is almost 14mo and we think about Baby #2 and hope for Baby #2 but when?- financially etc… Thanks for this post!

    July 13th, 2007 at 11:58 am

  8. Jim says:

    Congratulations, AJ. We only have one so far, but I grew up loving and hating my own sibling and I want the same (and more) for my own child.

    More cool people, like you and your wife, need to be having children anyway. It will make the world a better place.

    take care of each other.


    July 13th, 2007 at 12:44 pm

  9. Asha says:

    Congratulations, AJ! Here’s wishing you and your family all the best.

    July 13th, 2007 at 4:11 pm

  10. Mark says:

    My fiancee and I became parents unexpectedly, but I wouldn’t trade my almost 2 year old son for anything. In the theoretical sense, I want to have another child and let my son experience being a brother, and be a dad to multiple kids. In the actual sense though, I am terrified about the thought of having 2 little ones to try and herd and take care of. Selfishly I don’t want to lose the little freedom that I have now with the one child. But I would like to experience the “Oh wow!” of becoming a parent when it is planned and expected, rather than the very different “Oh wow.” when it comes as a surprise. The want is there, but it is a very very complicated entity.

    July 13th, 2007 at 5:25 pm

  11. Rachel says:

    Congratulations! Best Wishes and Good Luck!

    July 14th, 2007 at 8:07 am

  12. Angie at Baby Cheapskate says:

    Hooray for you! Awesome conception kit review, too. I know lots of couples will find your thoughts helpful. And hey, now you’ll be twice as inspired to keep coming up with great Thingamababy posts!

    July 14th, 2007 at 11:07 am

  13. thordora says:

    Both of our daughters are accidents, and I suffered PPD after the second which turned out to be undiagnosed bipolar. (I won’t bore you with those details)

    Line up resources for the post partum period so she can enjoy the baby as a baby. I wish I would have. I know I would have wanted a second if we hadn’t of gotten pregnant, but my reasons are stupid-my mother died when I was young, and with two I had insurance in case one of them died, and they’d always have each other in case I died.

    Terrible I know.

    But the sister bond I see today between my almost 4 year old and 2.5 year old is incredible and rocks. It’s worth it.

    July 15th, 2007 at 3:42 pm

  14. brettdl says:

    I remember you writing about only planning to have one. Two is definitely more fun.


    July 16th, 2007 at 9:26 am

  15. AZ says:

    First of all, congratulations to all (soon to be 4)of you! We waffled a lot about having a second baby when our first was almost four, thought we were done and then “surprise” along came #2, 6 years later. It is amazing! I am loving being a mom to a baby all over again-its different the 2nd time around, and I think a “big” gap can be a really good thing. Your “Little Miss” will have had the experience and attention of an only child and also get to experience the joys of a sibling.

    July 16th, 2007 at 10:56 am

  16. Jessica G says:

    Similar story here. I have the wonderful talent of developing hypertension during the 3rd trimester and also had bedrest with my first. I had awful ppd with my first too – I would not wish it on my worst enemies. Then she was colicky to add to the fun (for six months). I was in therapy and on meds. We were convinced that one was enough. Then something happened and we just knew that our little monster had a sibling out there. It is that want that can’t be quantified. Husband always wanted a house full of wacky girls — he got it! The big sis is in love with the little sis and all is well for now. No ppd, but definitely more aware of what to look for. Not bad for someone who thought she NEVER wanted kids!

    July 17th, 2007 at 2:22 pm

  17. ann says:

    I do think it’s great you both feel so strongly about having this second baby. NOT ALL OF US feel like you do.. and I am in a situation very similar to yours but I don’t want to have another baby and already 7 weeks along. I appreciate your comments and feelings but YOU ARE A MAN and cannot even begin to fathom the gravity of a woman’s perspective. I feel, unlike my husband.. the reality of ours.. financially, emotionally, spiritually I AM NOT READY for this and it frightens me that I am feeling this way. I have been told it’s normal and with the help of my friends.. they ALL agree it is not the right time.. I love being a mother to my two year old daughter and that is ALL I can handle at the moment. It’s HARD no matter what but a HAPPY MOM IS A BETTER MOM so I am thinking of terminating this pregnancy.. After all, it’s really a woman’s right to her own destiny and future..

    July 20th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

  18. Heather says:

    Hi Ann, It is a big decision to have a second child. Have you thought of Adoption for your second child that you are caring? What great joy your little baby could bring to a couple that can’t have children. Maybe one day you could meet that child. I know people that have had an abortion many many years ago and still to this day regreat it. Just a thought for you. I was adopted due to a date rape and now I know my birth parents and have a huge family adopted and birth. I wish you the best decision. Heather

    July 24th, 2007 at 11:14 am

  19. Stacy says:

    To Ann,
    Please think long and hard about your decision to terminate this pregnancy. I am a pro-life person but do my best to not overstep my boundaries with others because they don’t believe the way I do. I have a sister that had an abortion many many years ago and she has regretted it everyday of her life. She was still blessed with two beautiful children later in life, but she can’t help but think of what that other child could have been. Now that your child is conceived, it is a living being. I am not trying to be harsh, but often times we adults only think of ourselves and can be very selfish (me included). This is no longer just about you….someone else is there and now is not the time to be selfish. Please consider adoption and let this child bring joy to some family. What a precious gift you can offer to someone else. I will keep you in my prayers as you think about your decision.

    August 8th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

  20. Vicky says:

    Dear Ann:

    I hope you rethink the option to terminate your pregnancy. Why does your first child get to live but it is okay for YOUR second child to die? Abortion is not a form of birth control. If you feel that strongly about not having another child then by all means feel free to put YOUR second child up for adoption. It is one thing to go through the agonizing decision to terminate a pregnancy due to medical reasons; it is another to decide to terminate because of irresponsible actions. God has blessed you with this second child and if you do not want to accept this blessing then please allow another family to love and be loved by this child…..

    August 13th, 2007 at 8:07 pm

  21. AJ says:

    Regarding Ann, I’ve had several e-mail exchanges with her. Complicating her situation is her feeling that when she had her child she gave up a successful career that was about to really take off, and that due to various real issues, time is/was of the essence. Her career situation is a separate issue though.

    I’m not a psychologist, but my impression is that she is depressed and I recommended that she and her husband seek therapy. Having had a wife who suffered from postpartum depression, I feel most of what I say goes in one ear and out the other, at least in coming from some strange dad over e-mail.

    Ann can’t be happy with her situation until she decides to be happy, and that won’t come about with an abortion or giving birth. She has issues to work out. When she achieves normalcy in her life, I hope she hasn’t already made a decision she regrets.

    August 15th, 2007 at 9:31 am

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