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How do you know when youre ready for a second child?(14 Posts)
A few months ago I felt I was but we decided to wait some months until DH's employment situation was improved and the consequent financial benefit. Now the time we decided on is rapidly approaching I feel anxious and like I'm getting cold feet about it. Partly because DH's employment has turned out to be more precarious than we expected - a reasonable worst case scenario would see us managing but being a good few thousand pounds down over the course of a year or so (which is pretty significant on our household income) - and partly because I'm just panicking about the realities of having two of them. Our DD has just turned 2 and was a high needs baby and is still 'spirited'!
So, how do you know when you are really 'ready' to have another?
I just felt an unstoppable urge although when I came off the pill I then did feel a bit freaked out! We waited until our DD was 2 as I felt that was a good age gap and i had well laid plans about DD going to nursery so that I had time with the baby which as our baby was born at the end of feb this year didn’t quite work out as planned! I do feel it’s a good age gap though as DD is toilet trained, mostly sleeps well and doesn’t need carrying about and can get herself dressed (if she feels like it). We also had to factor in it having two sets of childcare to pay as we couldn’t have survived that.
Pregnancy is tough with a toddler and I read a thread on here that said pregnancy is harder than a toddler and newborn which I was sceptical about but was true for me.
Thanks - I had HG last time too so I'm also dreading pregnancy but there will be childcare for all but one day a week and I could probably get that day sorted too if needed.
Likewise we couldn't afford two sets of nursery fees before the 30hrs kick in for long, which is one of the reasons we've waited this long.
We didn't want to have too big an age gap between our two, somewhere around 2 years and we ended up with a 28mth age gap. It meant that I had 2.5 days a week with just me and my second baby whilst his older brother was at nursery, which was lovely to have that quality time with him (and being able to sleep when he slept if I so wished, which was obv near impossible to do with his older brother around!)
Of course this age gap has meant that we will have had 9 months of having to pay nursery/preschool fees for them both, since my mat leave ended until our eldest starts school in sept. I'll be honest even with the subsidised 30 hours has been really tough going at times! A couple of things to bare in mind with the funding; you are only eligible to claim the funding the term AFTER your child turns 3, you don't get it straight away, now this can work in your favour or against it depending what month your child was born in! Also if your nursery/preschool is all year around rather than term time only, then the 30 hours will be spread across the year, I think ours works out at about 22hours (roughly) a week and then we have to pay a top up for the additional hours he is there. We do get a small 5% sibling discount on our eldest's fees as well whilst they are both there. Typically we have to pay around £170-£270 a month for our eldest's fees and that's with the funding and submit discount taken off. Just something to bare in mind 🙂
I think only you will know when you are ready, and of course it's natural to feel some nerves at first when you do decide to go for it! If you are concerned about your dh work situation then maybe you would feel less stressed waiting for a few more months and then reassessing the situation and if you both feel ready? Fingers crossed you won't suffer with such bad sickness next time around🤞 x
*submit discount should say sibling discount! 🙈
Yes childcare will work more expensive for two than with one even with the 30 hrs - like you it is spread across the year and then there are small top ups on the 'free' days for food etc. We are actually hoping DH will be able to go PT as well which would reduce the cost of childcare. One thing I do need to consider is that currently my DM has DD 1 day a week and I don't think she'd want to have both DC at once, and she may not want to have two days of her week full with childcare and I'm not sure it would be fair to accept that even if she offers?! So there's that to consider too. We can definitely afford it all though but things could end up being very tight for a few months in a reasonable worst case scenario, we do have some savings to dip into if needed though.
We could wait and that probably seems most sensible, but the reasonable worst case scenario may very well not occur - in fact the most likely situation is actually that DH continues onto a permanent contract at a higher salary. And I feel we would both be gutted if that happened and we had been too cautious to go for it, as we'd be looking at a bigger gap than we wanted for no reason at all! There is also the possibility that he could get put on yet another temp contract and then where does it end, we could be looking at another year of waiting around? And the logistics of that with one being potentially in school and one in nursery right from the get go of me returning from mat leave. Seems easier to give myself some breathing space by having two of them at nursery for as long as poss before we have to rejig things to accommodate school iyswim? DD is summer born so we are considering keeping her in the nursery for an additional year partly for her benefit and partly for ours in terms of logistics of childcare. She wouldn't access the 30hrs til the September but then DC2 wouldn't need nursery care until they're 9-12 months old anyway depending on how much leave we decide to take.
When dc 1 was sleeping through the night.
When dc 1 was better with behaviour and general high needs had substantially reduced.
I was traumatised by dc 1.
Slept through the the night for the very first time when he was 5 and at school.
I still struggled with his behaviour and high needs, but it was an absolutely terrorising thought that I could have another like him.
I knew that I could not go through it again.
In the end, we struggled and it was 10 years after the 1st that we eventually had a second child.
A totally different parenting experience, completely different.
We waited until our older DS was 'ok'. His early years were full of appts and therapy so we held off until we thought he didn't need our full attention any longer. So he was 5 when his brother was born.
I understand you are trying to plan all the different childcare timings and costs, but there's no way of knowing how long it will take you to conceive - it could be 1 month or 18 months - both of which would be considered "normal". No point trying to control the timings too much as it's an unknown !
Luckily for us we both had well paid jobs so that wasn’t an issue.
We went for it quickly before we got used to having a full nights sleep!
Yep totally understand that @MeadowHay! As a previous poster said it may take longer than you anticipated to fall pregnant anyway!
Our first child is also a summer born, so we had to wait until the sept to get his funding, he also has GDD but we have decided to not delay his school start as the costs of the childcare for an additional year would be crippling and also we feel it will hopefully push his development more than his preschool setting can.
It sounds like you would have more potential regrets in waiting rather than starting to try soon & I think deep down you probably do want to start trying soon. As you say there are so many what if's and you can't keep delaying your family plans just in case xyz might (or might not) happen!
I was actually thinking about this the other day, as my friend is currently pregnant with her second & it's so strange to think that when my eldest was the same age as my youngest is now, we were pregnant again! Whereas now we aren't having any more, I can't imagine being pregnant again now that our youngest has reached the same age. I think when you know you want a second, you know! x
I wouldn’t assume you’d defer yet until you know a bit more about your child’s personality and development next year. I’ve got a summer born starting in September and there is no way we could have held her back a year despite being the i ally able to. She’s very ready and chomping at the bit to get started.
I think whatever gap you go for there are challenges but as long as you’re vaguely ready I’d crack on as there won’t be an ideal point to wait for.
Yes, you're all right, one of the reasons we are reluctant to wait much longer is actually the fact that as you say it could easily take a year (or of course even longer). And of course we haven't made any finalized decisions about when DD will start school as she's only just 2 after all but we are definitely considering keeping her in nursery an extra year, we may well decide not to as well of course.
I suppose that is true about really knowing when you ARENT ready - for example I know people who had very small gaps which I absolutely could not have coped with!
I should have said too that we are in our twenties so time isn't a huge issue for us in terms of fertility or anything.
Thanks for sharing everyone
Good luck with whatever you decide to do @MeadowHay! I think from your replies it does sound like you might be ready but only you and your other half know if you are or not!
I'm super nervous about my eldest starting school in sept (they have said he is 18mths-2yrs behind developmentally) but he is SO excited about going to "big school", he would be gutted if we said he couldn't go for another year. See how you go closer to the time 🙂
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