Often couples with one child, get burdened with the pressure of having a second child. This could be from in-laws, the society or even friends who are already parents to more than one kid. Here are some pros and cons of having a second baby for parents to ponder on when you are thinking about having your second baby.
I have a younger brother, but I have never really experienced sibling rivalry. It could be because of the huge age difference between us. On the other hand, I have heard many of my friends often cribbing about it.
It is said that is two children is better than one because siblings provide companionship. They make life more fun and create memories to treasure for a life time. However, there are pros and cons of having a second baby. Prime among them is sibling rivalry. This is a sense of competition. It arises because of a want for more parental and worldly attention. This rivalry is usually more intense as children grow and especially if they are close in age or of the same gender. So, somewhere, the parents need to decide on –
- Whether to have more than one child.
- How many years later they will have the next offspring.
- How they will handle the rivalry when the time comes.
There is some savings post having the first child. For example, you won’t need to buy a new cot. However, the amount of discounts that subsequent children bring is minimal. This is especially in terms of maternity leave, reduced hours of work, dropping out of a full-fledged career and most of all the physical and mental exhaustion that a mother faces.
I know of a mother who says that parenting multiple kids is like wanting to buy two houses – both require a lot of investment in terms of money and emotions. This might not be the best analogy, but it does carry a lot of weight. Every new offspring brings with it a repetition of the entire cycle of feeding, staying up at night, adolescent mood swings, exams tension and even relationship turmoil. For a mother, the magnanimity of this can truly be quite mentally and physically exhausting.
Thus, a mother of a teenage daughter says, how happy she is raising an only child. According to her cost-benefit analysis, she would rather use her remaining energy on devoting time for her daughter’s homework, planning holidays and sometimes peacefully reading a book.
A Mother’s Career
A mother of two, one four and one six months old, who is a qualified dentist once, told me that having more than one child was a conscious decision. However, for that she sacrificed her career. Another mother of three, all teenagers now, is an interior designer. She nevertheless, continued to do freelance work even when her children were young. And recently she has resumed full time work. Scenarios, in fact, can be different.
- A mother wants to give up her career because she wants to devote all her time to her children.
- A mother has to give up her career after the second baby comes. This could be because she has no one where she can leave her child or is not allowed by her in-laws to leave them at a crèche.
- A mother has to continue work to make the finances of the family work despite more than one child.
All these cases can holds true even while raising an only child. Ultimately, what the mother decides becomes very situation specific.
Effect on Marriage
A friend of mine, rightly said the birth of a child, single or multiple, will always change one’s married life. After all, when a kid is born, parents have to centre their lives on the child. This makes couples put their time for closeness in the back burner. As a mother, the responsibility increases manifold, if she decides on having more than one child. The balancing act between kids and the spouse becomes increasingly more challenging.
A relative of mine, who is parenting multiple kids, usually complains to me about never having any time either for herself or for her husband. She says that her husband and she are growing apart.
However, all said, it is difficult to answer whether one child better than two because each has its own pros and cons. In addition, how many you choose to have depends on your own capacity – it is a very individualistic perspective. At the end of the day, the satisfaction and responsibilities of parenthood remain the same.