If two children make your heart swell with joy, won’t three be a better number? It really depends, say parents and experts; are you, for example, on the same wavelength as your partner on this subject? Can you afford – in terms of time, money and energy – another baby?
“Family planning can be a pretty delicate conversation, and partners are encouraged to keep an open mind when discussing it,” says Bene Katabua, school psychologist at Intercare Health Center in Abu Dhabi.
“It helps to explore the reasons for having another child, as well as the reservations. It is best to avoid this conversation if you are very stressed, anxious, or particularly upset. Instead, wait for a better time to explore this conversation, ”she adds.
I recently came across a conversation on Reddit about how a family made the decision to have a third baby. User iambevin wrote, “I wanted 3, my husband wanted two. He didn’t want to move because he was worried about the finances, which is fair enough. Me too. But I wanted three and there’s no way to quench that desire. It is a physical impossibility.
“I went to the consultation because I didn’t want to cheat on him in a third or bring a child into this world that wasn’t 100% wanted by the both of us, but I didn’t know how to turn this absolute need off at the inside me. The advisor basically said you can’t turn it off, you just take care of it. You cry for the child you never had and one day you will overcome this grief. We both ended up going there one day and she went over our pros and cons which was helpful. My husband saw that my decision was made with my heart and his with his head. We talked a lot about money and so on. and finally he came. … I am 9 weeks pregnant. He is nervous but happy.
“I recently spoke to a friend’s mom about the situation. She said she wanted a third but her husband put his foot down and said no. She said she cried for 15 years for this child she never had. She was in tears just talking about it and her son I’m friends with is almost 35 years old!
Conversation not war
Speaking honestly – and without making it a battleground – is imperative. “When it comes to a compromise, it’s also important to be honest and clear. So that it does not present itself in the future as resentment and contempt. Be careful not to fall into the trap of seeing him as a winner or a loser, but rather to bring new life to your family, ”Katabua explains.
“Also, take a moment to personally reflect on how important this is to you. Before you start the conversation, it helps to have a good idea of what this means to you and your personal boundaries. Which boundaries are firm and which are more flexible and permeable, ”she adds.
Factors to consider
When it comes to adding a new member to your family, it’s not just you that you need to consider. Kabatua urges parents to consider whether they have a capacity for a third party. And if not, what needs to change for them to have the capacity?
Financial constraints can be an obvious snag on baby’s plans, but there are intangibles to consider as well.
“Do they have the energy to take care of two children, while getting very little sleep because of a newborn baby?” Is there a reliable support system? Are both parents clear about roles, responsibilities and expectations? Do parents take time to support and another more intimately, outside of parental duties? How independent are the first two children? ” she asks.
Now is also the time to reassess children’s education; ask yourself this, Katabua suggests: “What are the expectations when it comes to babysitting, housework, expenses, time spent as a couple, etc.? and how will they be managed with the arrival of a third child?
And talk to the kids, but not too early. “Children can be introduced to the idea of having a sibling when parents are comfortable with sharing. It is usually around the third month of pregnancy. Because of the risks of pregnancy, it is not advisable to discuss it much earlier, ”she warns.
“Having a one-off conversation is not enough, and children may need advice on what it would be like to have a younger sibling in the home. Depending on their age, this can be done in a conversation, a song or through a book, ”she adds.
But be prepared for a backlash – no one likes to be taken out of the center of attention – and constant communication will avoid a lot of resentment and temper tantrums along the way.
“Children’s feelings certainly matter, but their feelings do not guide the decision of whether or not to have a larger family. It is in the hands of the guards, as adults, ”Katabua emphasizes, adding that even if the decision is not in their hands, their opinions are. Respect and allow a child the freedom to express themselves – their hopes, dreams and even fears. It doesn’t have to be with the parents, but even with a close family member, friends or a professional.
Reddit user arth33 described the pros and cons of having a third child on the job: “Long reliant on the kids involved, especially the two you already have. I have three (all boys; 9.7 and 3) and it’s great. But my first two are very good kids… Adding a third to this mix was child’s play. The third is now a new player in their games and their cheering team.
“What I would say is that it makes relationships a lot more interesting. In two, the fraternal relationship is older-younger. Complete stop. There is no real variation there. With three, the number of permutations suddenly drops to seven possible variations. The network of relationships is amazing to watch.
He also addresses logistical concerns: “They will want to start more and more extracurricular activities. That’s a lot of travel when you’re outnumbered. At about seven o’clock they start participating in practices and game night, or lessons and performances, or whatever, but it’s often three evenings a week per serious activity. Multiply that by a few things, three kids, and you can see how hard it is to get them across. It’s not impossible, but it’s complicated.
The consensus is that three can make great company – or be a crowd – it depends on you and your family. The choice is ultimately yours.
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