The decision to have a second child usually comes easier than the decision to have the first. One must feel confident enough in her Mothering abilities to choose to embark on producing a sibling for her oldest child. Also, Dad must be on board. Sometimes, one spouse may not be as ready as the other to take on another dependent. In today’s society, where traditional gender roles are often switched, Fathers are sometimes the main caregiver for the children while Mom is the breadwinner. Fathers must be given equal say in whether or not it’s once again time to reproduce.
The trick is in the timing. Space the kids too close together and you may set them up for a lifetime of competitiveness. Space them too far apart, and the age gap may cause them to have no interest in spending time together. On the other hand, some siblings who are close in age become the best of friends, and when a brother or sister is much older than his or her younger sibling, they can be a huge help to Mom and Dad in caring for the child. There doesn’t seem to be a magical age difference; it’s all up to the personal preference of Mom and Dad.
Before trying to conceive, meet with your doctor to make sure your body is healthy and nourished enough to support a pregnancy. Your doctor may also prescribe pre-natal vitamins or recommend an over-the-counter brand for you to purchase. Some vitamins are vital to the health of the fetus and studies have shown certain ones can help prevent birth defects. Your doctor will also advise you how long to wait to start ‘trying’ after cessation of certain types of birth control.
Once you figure out how far apart in age you want the children to be, and you have the okay from your doctor to start trying, you have to account for how long it may take to conceive. Hard as you may try to plan your date of conception, there is more at work in the process, most of which is out of your hands.
Even if you conceived on the first try with your oldest child, you may face some struggles conceiving your second child. Track your cycle on a calendar for several months and research the many ways to figure out which days are ideal for conception. Make sure you and the husband go to town during this crucial window of opportunity.
Once you realize you’re a few days late, you can break out the pregnancy test and get the good news. All the planning and hard work you went through to become pregnant is finally rewarded with a plus sign. Congratulations! Now you can tell everyone you know on the planet that you are expecting. Of course, some people wait the obligatory twelve weeks to get out of the ‘danger zone’ before informing folks about the pregnancy, but that’s also a matter of personal preference.
The most important person you’ll have to tell is your firstborn. This can go many ways and your child’s reaction could differ depending on his or her age. Some kids are very excited while others become green-eyed monsters. Some kids don’t understand the concept of what pregnancy means and therefore are completely nonplussed. They’ll probably shrug the whole thing off until you can actually produce some solid evidence that they are no longer your one and only. Either way, be tenderhearted and thoughtful in your approach and avoid talking relentlessly about the baby in front of your oldest child. Give them all the one-on-one attention you can while your able before the baby arrives.
Try not to get your hopes up about having a big baby shower or getting as much attention from friends or family about your new pregnancy. Sad but true, with each subsequent child, people are just not as interested as they were with your first pregnancy. They figure you already have everything you need, especially if you are expecting a baby of the same sex as your first child. There is also some kind of mystique associated with someone’s first pregnancy that doesn’t exist with following pregnancies. Because of this, set up a registry only if folks ask you if you have one, or just spare them the trouble and say you are accepting gift cards to the store of your choice.
Since you probably won’t be receiving too many gifts as you did the first time around, break out all the old baby gear you already have and figure out what is still usable and what can be donated or discarded. Make sure older items have not been recalled or have expired as car seats sometimes do. Give every item you plan to reuse a thorough inspection and if there is any question as to an articles safety or usability, ‘when in doubt, throw it out’. You can save a great deal of money by reusing baby items and learning what was wasteful the first time around. People have been known to buy trendy baby items only to get one or two weeks of use out of them. Ask friends with older kids if they have anything to lend you so you don’t have to waste your money. Keep those gift cards for diapers!
When it comes to clothing, hand-me-downs can be a wonderful thing. Hopefully you saved enough neutral items from when your oldest child was an infant to use for your second child. Onesies, burp cloths, changing pads, bibs, and blankets are going to take a beating anyway so they don’t have to be in pristine condition to reuse them. Clothing, shoes, and outerwear should be in gently-used condition and checked over to make sure there are no loose buttons or threads that can be a safety hazard.
Once you are prepared to welcome your second child into the world, you can kick back, relax, and wait for her to arrive. Once she has, you’ll see your firstborn in a new light and realize just how special he is to you. Make sure you remind and reassure him often of just that. In time, you’ll get to witness the magical sibling bond and know you made the right decision to have a second child!