Hubby and I talked a lot about how many children we wanted to have, before we got married. In fact, I think I’ve said before that I made it clear to my then future husband on our second date that I wanted to be married with children within five years. While of course I wasn’t expecting him to agree to be the father on my children on a second date, if marriage and children weren’t on his life agenda, then we’d call it quits there. I was 27. I didn’t feel like I had time to spend three (or more) years wondering where things might be going in a relationship, to end up back at square one.
Fortunately, this crazy talk didn’t put my husband off and here we are, seven years later, married with a toddler and expecting our second baby. He did that typical bloke thing of being too scared to move in together for ages (it took almost two years before we even rented our own place together). However, once we got over that hurdle and he realised that I am indeed the perfect woman (haha, I jest, but I like to think that I am the perfect woman for him), we quickly jumped the next few relationship hurdles by buying a house, getting engaged, getting married, then having a baby all in consecutive summers. We joked just the other night that we’d obviously decided to have a quiet summer this year, before realising that actually we’d made the decision to have baby number two, and I’d spent the summer holidays chomping on gluten free ginger nuts in a bid to keep morning sickness at bay!
So why did we choose to have a second child? And why now? Whenever I’ve told people that I’m pregnant and they’ve enquired further and I’ve said Little M is sixteen months, they’ve invariably said, “ooh, that’s quite close together, isn’t it?” Er, is it? I hadn’t really thought about it. In fact, I thought a two year age gap was fairly standard! Well, we were aiming for two years; things actually happened a bit more quickly than we were expecting and Little M will be around 22 months when this baby arrives.
A number of things factored into our decision to have a second baby. Firstly, my husband and I were raised as only children (I phrase it like that because I have two brothers, but they are much older than me and had already flown the nest when I was born). Hubby took a fair bit of convincing on a second child originally; I think because he was an only child and is perfectly happy with his childhood, he didn’t see any reason to have another. That’s not to say that I was unhappy as a child, far from it. But I can see the benefits of having more than one.
For me, I feel that giving Little M a sibling means that we’re providing her with a safety net of family for after we’re gone. I know, there’s a chance our children might hate each other and be estranged for their adult lives, but I like to think that there’s an equal or greater chance that won’t be the case. I also think it’s important for children to learn to share and cooperate at home. Hubby and I are both quite selfish; not in a nasty way, but it’s taken us a while to learn how to communicate what we’re thinking effectively and negotiate our plans etc. I put this down to us spending most of our lives only having to consider ourselves and our own needs and desires.
Why now? Well, I’ve written before about how I have Polycystic Kidney Disease. I’m very fortunate that currently, my kidney function is good and I got through my pregnancy with Little M unscathed. However, as I get older, there’s a good chance that may change, and a further pregnancy could increase the decline of any future loss of kidney function. So, my renal consultant advised me to have my children before the age of 35, ideally and if possible. I turned 34 last month, so I was mindful that the clock was ticking and I was concerned that it might take us longer to conceive second time around. Fortunately, we were lucky again and are now looking forward to becoming a family of four next year.
How did you decide how many children to have, and when to have them?