When your first child reaches their second birthday, it is so easy to forget the hardships we have suffered as Mums getting to this point. Once we had decided we wanted a family, it felt like it took an age to get pregnant. Every month spent waiting to see if this was the start of a pregnancy or if we were starting our period. We feel so excited and nervous and worried when we finally get a positive pregnancy test for our first baby. The rush of hormones and emotions is quite overwhelming.
Then, of course, the really hard work starts. The sickness, the cravings and the weird shape of our backsides aren’t even the worst of it. The first pregnancy is terrifying, full of bumps and wiggles, and pain and discomfort. We’re frightened and elated at the same time. Hormones get us crying at the most inappropriate and inconvenient times. And we just keep getting bigger and bigger!
As if that wasn’t enough, labour is the most awful thing in the world the first time. You don’t know whether everything you feel is normal or not, and the moment you stop caring and want it all over no matter what is the worst. You feel guilt and horror at the same time, just moments before you see the most beautiful face in the world and it all melts away.
So why on earth would you want to do it all again? Did we not punish ourselves enough? Aside from getting all the gifts for a baby in the UK at your baby shower, the first time you held your new baby or looking at your toddler now and seeing his smile or hearing her giggle, how could you not want another one?
There are many pros and cons to having a second, third, or even thirteenth child. Not everyone can do pregnancy and birth more than once, and not everyone would want to. So here is the list of things to consider before you do take another chance of making a new life.
Siblings – Having a brother or a sister is a gift to be cherished. There will be someone there for the rest of our lives to take care of us, listen to us whinging about relationships and work, and to give us a hug when we need it.
However, siblings fight and they hate eachother more than once in their lives. They will beat the wotsits out of each other and steal from each other and say the most hurtful things. All the while this is going on, you have to endure the pain of seeing your beautiful children turn into little monsters. Seeing this worst side of your own flesh and blood is incredibly upsetting. We all want to believe our children are little angels. We bring them up with good moral groundings and social courtesies. To see all that disappear and our kids turn into the worst things we can imagine is heartbreaking.
Find some relief in knowing this is perfectly natural and healthy. Only siblings can fight and behave like this and end up best pals at the end of it. Lone children don’t get to explore this side of human nature as it is completely unforgivable and unacceptable to behave like this with strangers. Family put up with all that is within us, and maybe exorcising these inner demons this way is psychologically healthy. Know when to intervene, and how to disperse the anger siblings raise in each other. Hitting is never acceptable. Neither is bullying. Until your kids have experienced both sides of it, they’re not going to fully understand why.
Cost – Yes, having an extra mouth to feed and body to clothe and education to fund hurts us financially. There are extra costs in terms of days out or utility bills for the extra shower. A second bike and scooter, and a bigger trampoline for two kids to play on all cost more money than an only child. Or does it?
Parents of an only child tend to splash the cash as if they have a large family. They are trying to compensate for the lack of enrichment a sibling brings by buying their child everything they can think of fill that gap. Some families find they run out of space in a house with only one child far quicker than those who have several kids. When you haven’t got to spread the budget round so many, it can be easy to go wholeheartedly into a spending overdrive for your single child.
When you have more than one child, hand-me-downs become a way of life. This saves an absolute fortune. Lots of stores will happily give you a small discount if you are buying two or more of everything as well. When you have a larger family, the kids easily find ways to keep themselves entertained and active, without the need for regular expensive excursions.
Love – If you are the kind of Mum who always wanted a large family, you may find creeping feelings emerge about how thinly spread your love might be. Can your heart truly grow at the same rate as your family? Then there is the quality time. When you are breastfeeding one child, can the older ones still feel that special bond with you? Are they going to feel resentment toward their new sibling as they see you stare lovingly into your new baby’s eyes? Could you bear it if you only had time to put one of them to bed tonight?
The good news is your love for your children will always be there, no matter how many you have. So you may forget one or two things, like cutting the crusts off for Joey and Kayley only wears pink socks. But the important things like how cuddling each of them makes you feel, and how each of their first giggles rang out in your ears like a fanfare, will never be anywhere but at the forefront of your mind. You can love all of your children infinitely with 100% of your being, no matter how many there are. And each of them will love you too.