“I’m never doing THAT again,” every mother after giving birth (and, if you’re anything like me, for the first few months after that). Eventually though, something strange happens. Your hormones settle, the post birth aches and pains wear off and you settle into your new normal. Suddenly, the idea of another baby doesn’t seem quite so crazy. You start to notice pregnant women everywhere and instead of thinking; “I’m glad that’s not me,” you feel a little bit wistful, envious even. You find yourself clucking over tiny 0000 sized clothes and picture your current little one as an older sibling. And it hits you; maybe you’re ready for another baby.
While we can’t give you a definitive answer as to whether you’re ready for another round, we do have some questions you can ponder on your road to making a decision.
Is my body ready?
This is probably the easiest question to ask and answer. Pregnancy and birth take a real toll on your body, and everyone recovers differently. First thing you’ll need to ensure is that your period has returned, and you have a regular cycle as it’s kind of important for falling pregnant! If you’re breastfeeding on demand, your period may not return for many months. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t ovulating, but it can make falling pregnant tricky. It is a good idea to speak with your GP as they can advise on the best course of action and how to get your cycle back on track. If you haven’t already seen a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for a full check-up, now is the time to do so. They can assess how well your body has recovered both internally and externally and advise on whether you’re ready, physically, to try again. It’s also important to check in with your mental health. Sleep deprivation and breastfeeding can have a huge impact on your mental state and adding pregnancy into the mix can put you under a lot of pressure. Pregnancy with another child underfoot is very different to your first pregnancy; kids don’t really care that you’re exhausted, constantly nauseas and have an aching back and sore boobs. It’s important to consider all these things and how you’ll manage them before taking the plunge.
Is my relationship ready?
As you’ve probably realised, a baby changes EVERYTHING. The dynamics of your relationship will have shifted after the arrival of your little one and adding another bub to the mix changes things again. During my first pregnancy, my husband was able to give me all the hands-on support I could ever need. From letting me nap every Saturday afternoon to taking over cleaning the cats litter box, he took as much pressure off me as he could. Fast forward to my second pregnancy and it looked a bit different as we had a toddler. My husband took on as much toddler-wrangling as possible, but it didn’t leave a lot of time for foot rubs and my share of the chores! It was more a ‘divide and conquer’ approach that gave us a taste of what life would be like with two, then three kids. Our relationship had to adapt to the changes, and we needed to find new ways to stay connected. Ensuring that your relationship is on solid ground and you’re on the same page about expanding your family is key to moving forward as a united team who has each other’s backs in the parenting trenches.
Are our finances on track?
It’s a boring but necessary question to ask yourself! As you’ve probably already realised, kids aren’t cheap! While you’ll no doubt have most of the baby gear you already need, you’ll eventually have two times the bills for things like day-care, swimming lessons and nappies. It’s also important to check your parental leave allowances and access to things like Government funded Paid Parental Leave., to see if eligibility has changed or if there is anything you need to do to meet requirements. You may also need to check in with your private health insurance and have a discussion with your partner about the model of care you are considering the second time around and how that will look financially.
How do I feel about breastfeeding potentially ending?
If you’re a breastfeeding mum, then you’ll probably be aware that your breasts and milk will change during pregnancy. While this doesn’t always lead to your little one weaning, you do need to be prepared for the fact that that can happen. This can be a very emotional stage for both mum and bub. Conversely, some little ones will want to continue nursing despite your desire for them to wean. Many women report developing a nursing aversion during pregnancy (where they find it really, really tough to feed), while others find it extremely painful with an increased tenderness to their breasts and nipples. Whichever way your breastfeeding relationship goes, it can take a toll on you both physically and emotionally and it’s important to be prepared to manage this if you’re still breastfeeding and considering falling pregnant.
Getting back on the baby train is an exciting phase of your life as a parent. While there will never be a ‘perfect’ time, asking yourself these questions and spending some time considering your options can help you make the right decision for you and your family.
If you are gearing up to welcome another bub, then we recommend having a look at our Milkbar Birth Kit to get yourself ready for the addition of another bundle of love!