Are there any reasons to have a second child?(57 Posts)
I will keep this brief.
I would like a second DC but DH would like to stop at one. I was previously fine with this but would now like another one. I have spoken to DH about it and he is taking time to think it over but has said he does not think he will want to. His main argument is that he is 40 (he thinks too old), our DC is in school so we would be going back to the baby stage and it is basically a lot of work. He is an amazing father. I am not intending to try to force him but in our discussions, it has been strangely hard to come up with good reasons to do it all again! I wonder if anyone has any inspiring arguments to back up my request that we go back to sleepless nights, nursery fees and baby sick?
What are your personal reasons for wanting another child? Wouldn't they be the obvious ones to lead with?
Sorry that sounded more harsh than I meant to be. What I mean is are you sure you definitely want to 2nd child yourself ?
Having a sibling can be a good thing. It doesn't guarantee a friend for life/childhood, but there's a reasonable chance. Being a sibling teaches sharing, compromise and negotiation.
I have a DD and just had a baby with DP, he's 45 and loving it (DD is to ex husband)
Age is not an excuse
If your existing child is at school then you're looking at a 6 year age gap minimum. There are 7 years between my husband and his sister and they never really got past irritation as children and polite disinterest in each other as adults!
I had my first at 37 (driven largely by DH). Despite hyperemisis, emcs and advancing age, I had my second at 3 weeks short of 41 (DH is 4 years younger than me). I am 1 of 4 children, and I just couldn't imagine DS not having a sibling, especially as an adult. My family is widely dispersed around the world, and the DC have no local cousins (2 sets are overseas). I'm not sure if I would have felt so strongly about having a second if DS had had local cousins.
Wonderful to see your children interacting together and forming a relationship
So they have someone else who experienced childhood with them
Larger family, potential for more support for them both in future
More chance of grandchildren
Second babies often feel easier as you have the benefit of experience
I felt that once we'd made the lifestyle changes for having one child, we might as well have two!
(This is a bit morbid) I read a heartbreaking guardian article about parents whose only child had died. They said they still felt like a mum/ dad, but didn't have a child anymore, and their life was so horribly different from how they had planned. It really shook me.
I realise that you are looking at quite a big age gap. In my case, I am far closer to my older brothers (6 and 9 years older) than my 3 years younger sister. But I wouldn't be without any of them!
I'm not sure I'd want to start with the baby stage again once my eldest was at school though. My youngest has just started school and we are able to do much more "grown up" things now, which dc1 enjoys - particularly sporty stuff.
I'm in a similar position. We've got 1 dc. Dp would be happy to not have any more but I would like another one. In reality we may not be able to as we'll have to wait a couple of years until we're able afford another once dd goes to school and I'll be in my 40s by then so we may not conceive. Also we may never be in a financial position to start trying.
I really want dd to have a sibling. Of course there's no guarantee they'll be friends. But there's a good chance they will be. I want them to have each other. I also want more than one child for when me and dp are older. If one of us significantlty outlives the other, having family around is important.
For me I feel our second completes our family unit. It didn't feel 'done' to me before. It's lovely seeing my eldest with the baby he's so good with him (we have a 4.5year age gap) I hope as they grow older that they will have a lovely relationship (no guarantees obviously!)
I've found no2 so much easier as well, I know what I'm doing this time so I'm more comfortable going out and about etc.
Hopelessly your final reason is a big one for me. People don't like talking about it, but the fact is that sometimes parents outlive their children. That eventuality, while always devastating, would be absolutely crippling for the parents of an only child, I imagine.
I also think that while it can be hard to pin down a good reason to have a second child, I also think OP that your DH's reasons for not having one are pretty weak. It's a lot of work? Yes, it is, but the baby phase is a tiny part of an entire life. Imagine getting to 70, and finding out that your only child has decided to never have children. Or move abroad with no plans to come back. Or any of the other things that can easily happen that may, at that stage in your life, cause you some disappointment.
You talk to your husband and you think back to your childbearing years. "Why didn't we ever have a second?" "Oh, we didn't fancy the baby stage."
I mean. Really? There are plenty of reasons not to have children but personally I find that one pretty poor. Especially if you, as the female, are starting to get the urge. It's not rational, but it's hard to argue with that feeling, and it could cause resentment if your DH keeps feeding you the "babies are hard" line.
As someone said above, you may live or hate your siblings, as a child or adult, but no experience can replace a shared childhood.
Having a second child for us has definitely been a good thing. Hard at first, but they play together, learn to share and compromise, so it's great for interpersonal skills. And, if your husband is worried about the amount of work, we've found that, in comparison with our friends with just one child, we can enjoy holidays, spare time etc much more because the children play together and were not constantly having to sort companions for them or entertain them. We have a DD and a DS, 2 years apart. Of course not all siblings get on......
Thank you all for your replies. Providing a sibling for our DC is my current main argument, along with the feeling of our family being somehow more complete (not that a family with one child is not a valid family, it just feels different). I have been making the point to him that the baby phase is very short. I guess he just doesn't have this desire/ urge that has arisen within me and so he is approaching it more logically. I'm finding it hard to meet his logic with further logic. I do feel like we are parents already so its not such a big deal, when compared with becoming parents in the first place. We are already completely in the parent lifestyle.
One of my friends is only child. Both her parents have passed away. She said it was awful going through it and not having a sibling to share her grief, talk over what to do with the stuff that was left in the house etc.
She said growing up was quite lovely too for things like holidays etc
Peppa that is a good (and sad) point that I hadn't thought of, the burden being all on one child as we age and going through the loss of us alone. Its almost too sad to think about but it is the truth.
Well it's useful to have someone else to blame for eating one/both of the DCs Easter egg.
DH is an only child. When his DM become terminally ill he only just managed to deal with it, and possibly only because I was helping too. I would not want my DS to go through that on his own - his DSis, due in Dec, will be with him and they will support each other. Also I didn't want DS to be an only child, to be able to share things, and hopefully to have a friend for life.
Because I knew that my family wasn't done. Which is why I had number 2 and am having number 3. It's not logical. If you were completely clinical about it you'd never have any children.
The baby phase is short
It will be easier this time
Small sacrifice, then you'll potentially get double the grandchildren and double the number of visits in your future nursing home, and decades of pleasure from knowing your second child
Completely illogical to not have another!
"I'm finding it hard to meet his logic with further logic."
You're not going to be able to, OP, because this whole situation is not about logic. If it was, many more of us would be choosing not to have children at all. I am actively jealous of couples who are certain that they don't want children. What a boon! All that money and freedom, with no lingering sadness at not having kids.
But that isn't your situation.
But to edge into logic territory a little: your DH needs to play the long game. Another thing people don't like talking about: people get old. And while we can't expect our children to help us more and more as our years increase, wouldn't it be nice?
Tell your husband to take a look at your child: the little kid who has just started school. That person will, in all likelihood, be bearing the load of your old-age care in decades to come. Easier alone, or with a sibling? What does your husband think? Because that is a reality that many people are living. My DH is one of them. When his remaining parent passes away, he will be organising their funeral, sorting their property, the sole guardian of all those memories.
I realise I sound maudlin but that is the reality. Does your husband realise that he is being fairly selfish?
Listen, people will respond to this with the "not all only children" or "not all siblings". So folk will say - not all only children would like a sibling, not all siblings get on, not all siblings share parental care duties, not all not all not all.
I haven't done the mathematics. I don't know what exact %age of siblings do get on.i cannot tell you anything beyond the same anecdotes (not data) of anyone who begins with the "not all" line of argument.
I can only say this -
1. I am the only child of parents who broke up in an Asian country where divorce is taboo. I am the only child of these now ageing, single parents halfway across the world. I feel fucking torn and tired. Don't know how care will work out. Yes #notall siblings would have shared the pain of my home breaking. #notall siblings would share care duties. But #notall isn't really a valid argument. Usually mostly, (I don't have data) siblings are useful.
My dad and his single sibling have a shared living arrangement, as does my mum, grandparents were cared for by one or two of 5 siblings. #notall of my parents siblings helped evenly! but meh.
So I will have a second. Yes, they may not get along as adults. Yes, I shudder to think I may ever be a burden on them, but if I do, they may not share the care. I cannot predict that. But I wish to give it a chance. Because not-al-sibs-get-on isn't a convincing reason for me to decide he doesn't get a sibling at all.
I have two children myself and am an only child so I can see it from both points of view. My parents divorced when I was young and I had a happy enough childhood... but was very lonely. I had no one to play with, no one to chat to and whenever we went away I had to make a massive effort to make friends. Now my two sons are two years apart and are thick as thieves (half the time - the rest of the time they fight like cats and dogs). The other thing to bear in mind is that your older child will probably be a great help with the baby!
I agree about the realities of losing your only child, or losing your parents as an only child. Not something people like to think about, but the first could happen, and the second definitely will.
It's not guaranteed that you'll have your child around in your old age to help care for you, but having 2 increases the chances. I work with older people and I see the reality of people who are on their own with absolutely no family because their partner has passed away and they didn't have children or their only child lives far away.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.