Dear MrDad: My wife wants to have another
child, but I'm not sure I'm ready. The first one
keeps us so busy already that we barely have time
for the both of us. What should I do?
A: For a lot of couples, the question
about whether to have another child isn't really a
question, it's a given. For others, though, the
issue is more complicated. And most of the problems
have to do with exactly what you're going through
in your home: one spouse wants a second (or third)
child while the other isn't nearly as excited about
the prospect. Unfortunately, there's no easy
solution to this problem.
The time crunch, as you mention, is a common
concern of prospective second-time parents. But
it's usually not the only thing they're worried
about. So sit down and make a list of other factors
as well. You might want to start with these:
Finances. Can you really afford to have another
baby? If you answer No, does not having enough
money really make a difference for you?
Your own childhood. Were you an only child or
did you have brothers and sisters? How did you like
growing up that way?
Ability to love more than one child. Are you
worried that you won't be able to love your second
child as much as the first one? While this is an
incredibly common worry, the simple answer is that
your capacity to love your children--no matter how
many you have--is infinite.
Labor and delivery. Are you worried about
putting your partner through another painful
pregnancy and labor? Since she's the one going
through it, leave that decision to her. Consider,
though, that while being a parent is exhausting
enough, trying to be a parent while you're pregnant
is something altogether different. Is that OK for
your partner or not?
Your firstborn. Do you have a child with a
difficult temperament? If so, keep in mind that
your next child's temperament may not exactly
mirror your firstborn's.
When you've put your list together and had a
chance to think through each of your concerns,
schedule a time to talk them over with your wife.
You'll probably find that even though she's more
gung-ho than you are right now, she shares many of
them with you.
©2007, Armin Brott
* * *
It's clear that most American children suffer
too much mother and too little father. - Gloria
nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott
is the author of Blueprint
for Men's Health: A guide to a health
Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for
New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First
Dad's Guide to the Toddler
Single Father: A Dad's Guide to Parenting without a
Partner and Father for
Life. He has written on parenting and fatherhood
for the New York Times Magazine, The
Washington Post, Newsweek and dozens of
other periodicals. He also hosts Positive
Parenting, a nationally distributed, weekly
talk show, and lives with his family in Oakland,
California. Visit Armin at www.mrdad.com
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