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Eight things to consider before expanding your family

Will you be growing your family this year?

Will you be growing your family this year?

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Updated: August 30, 2012 10:42AM

Being a parent brings you joy beyond what you thought was possible before you became a parent — bet you didn’t you know your heart was capable of that much love. Are you considering sharing your love with another child? Will you be growing your family this year? If you are doing some fence sitting, here are some considerations:

◆ Are you and your partner on the same page when it comes to wanting more children? Obviously not a problem if you are a single parent, but it is probably the prime consideration if you aren’t. If you are unsure, it is time for a serious heart-to-heart conversation.

◆ Another major (and quite practical) consideration: do you have enough space to add to your family in your present home or will you have to move? If you do need to move, how will the other children — as well as you and your partner — be affected? New school? New friends? Living further from extended family? Longer commute?

◆ Ditto your family finances. Is there enough to go around if you will be adding to the family size? Can you manage on one income if it is your plan to have one stay-at-home parent?

◆ What if you aren’t able to get pregnant? Would you consider adoption or surrogacy? What about becoming a foster parent?

◆ What other time consuming commitments do you, your partner or your other children have? For instance, are you part of the sandwich generation caring for elderly parents while also caring for your young children? Do you have other responsibilities that take up a lot of your time that would severely limit the time you have to commit to a new baby? Time is one commodity that is impossible to get back.

◆ How satisfied are you with the status quo of your life now? If you feel content, how will adding another child to the family shake up the status?

◆ Do you have good health and fitness habits? Are you in shape to get pregnant or chase a toddler around or do you need time to get into shape before you consider another child?

◆ Raising children at varying stages of development can sometimes be a challenge, especially if your older child is at a demanding stage. Being organized is an enormous help: Prepare a daily schedule and include alone time for each child with you as possible. One-on-one time can go a long way toward getting your child’s cooperation when you really need it.

Tip from the parenting trenches: Often, a parent who loves his or her child deeply might believe it would not be fair to have another child because there will not be enough love leftover to give the new baby. We are not born with a finite amount of love; the more we love, the more love we have to share, so don’t let this thought hold you back from having another child if you want one.

Gannett News Service

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