Carolyn Hax: How do they decide if they should have another child?

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Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Caroline: My husband and I have a beautiful little girl. He’s an easy baby, as babies go, but it’s been a tough year.

We start to wonder if we want another child – or at least I do. He says he agrees with one and has many reasons, mostly logistical and financial.

He’s not wrong, but I also watch almost all of my friends and family who have two kids. I know that shouldn’t be a factor in my own decisions, but it’s really hard not to think, “They all did it, why not us?” We are both reaching 40 years old. How do I either accept that we are complete as a family of three, or decide that we would be able to handle the physical and emotional stress of becoming a family of four?

Decide : If all you see is stress, or if your husband agrees with a definite no, then it’s a no.

If you can imagine good results either way, though? I won’t pretend that’s true for everyone, but I think people generally grow in the lives they create for themselves. So if you have another child, you will adapt and deal with the physical and emotional stress of becoming a family of four. You will find ways, because this will be life and the to-do list you wake up to each day. If you decide not to have another child, you will adjust to a smaller family than you had imagined. Because that’s what you’ll wake up to every day.

Unless something bigger takes over and decides for you – something like a health issue or a move or any tail wagging your family dog ​​- the biggest say in how satisfied you are with a experience to another is self-acceptance. If you can assure yourself that either choice will work well for you, in different and not entirely predictable ways – or will take its own course, good or bad, anyway – then the pressure is off and you can let go. the answer will come to you. Thinking there’s a wrong answer might be what’s tripping you up.

Re: Children: Consider your personalities when considering family size. I have a cousin who is an unmarried child and was quite miserable, because her parents were introverted and she felt very lonely. My husband has a cousin, also an unmarried child, whose parents have actively involved his friends in play dates, vacations, etc.

Anonymous: Good point, thank you. However, there may be sub-possibilities here that are difficult to predict. The only child may also be introverted and/or content with not being very sociable; the first and second children may have different social tolerances or not get along.

So perhaps all parents, but especially parents of only children, need to be aware of their obligation to provide for their children’s social needs, even if it goes against their own tendencies.

Re: Children: I am one of those families that you see with two children. I just wish I had one. I knew deep down that I only wanted one, but my husband wanted another and, “Hey, everyone did. I will regret not having a second. Do what’s best for your family, not what you see others doing. You don’t always know what’s going on in the minds/hearts of those other families.

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