Is there such a thing as “perfect timing” for having your second child? Is there an optimum gap? What about the physical, emotional and financial issues of going from one to two?
Whether your first brush with motherhood was a challenge or a walk in the park, there are many issues to consider when planning for a second baby.
Would you and your spouse be able to another round of endless feeds and diaper changes, and the sleepless nights? What about other physical, emotional and financial issues that you will need to take into consideration if you have another baby?
For some couples, it is a natural progression to have another baby soon after to provide companionship for the first. Other couples prefer to wait until their first child is independent before they consider conceiving again.
Issues to consider
After your first birth, time is needed for the body to heal and regain strength before preparing for the immense pressure of pregnancy again.
It takes plenty of effort and preparation to get your body back in condition for the next child. There are also medical and fertility issues to consider and some couples may have to contend with the problem of declining fertility which makes a delay in having a second child undesirable.
Not to forget, having a second child can be very draining – emotionally and physically.
Couples must first understand why they want a second child: is it an attempt to have a boy or a girl? Is it to provide companionship for your first child?
If emotionally, one is unable to accept the second child due to gender, then there are definitely issues in coping with the additional burden of a second child.
In addition, your older child will also have to adjust to having a new sibling around. Some children may feel a little insecure after the new baby arrives and this may result in sibling rivalry.
Having a second child can also strain the finances.
Before embarking on having another child, couples should plan carefully for the future, keeping both the kids in mind, and to ensure that the family’s financial situation is sound.
Other practical issues like childcare arrangements should also be looked into, taking into account options like extended family support and infant care facilities.
Optimal age gap
Experts say there should be sufficient time gap between the first and second child. According to gynecologist and obstetrician, Dr Tham Kok Fun, it is advisable for women who have gone through a C-section to wait at least six months to a year for the surgical wounds to heal completely before trying for Number Two. The optimum age gap is between 1½ and 2½ years.
“This is logical because it allows the children to grow up together, resulting in more interaction and similar interests as they grow up. The gap also allows a reasonable time for the couple to settle down with the first child and to be ready for the second.”
Note that every pregnancy is different and you should be prepared for an entirely new experience from your first. Eating sensibly and keeping fit before conception as well as abdominal and pelvic floor exercises would help mums to prepare for their second pregnancy.
Having a second child is a wonderful and exciting experience and taking the necessary steps to prepare adequately for it will help reduce the tension and strain on the marriage along the way.