The second child conundrum: When mummy wants a no. 2 but daddy’s not so sure


We had a really difficult first year with our daughter – a colicky baby who notched up every sleep regression in the book; mummy back to work at 3 months; both parents hammering away at our own start ups; and on top of that, living overseas away from all our family and would-be support network and then eventually moving back to the UK, all the way from Asia when we then had to navigate a shaky resettling.. Having a baby is no walk in the park at the best of times, but all of the above made everything so much harder.

Because of all of the above, I was not exactly the most zen mum or pleasant person to be around. I absolutely admit that in hindsight. Mix that in with all the sleepless nights, illness, relationship and growing pains…well, it doesn’t exactly make it a tasty proposition for number 2, does it?

With Daddy terminally scarred from the gap between what he thought having a baby would be like, compared to the often harsh reality; coupled with his concerns that number 2 would “send me (or our relationship) over the edge”, we are now stuck.

My heart tells me – you’ve done it all would be so much more confident, less neurotic and more relaxed with number 2. You’d know how to deal with it all, all the quirks, hurdles and pitfalls. You wouldn’t be trying to juggle motherhood with working and more importantly, we would be back home this time, close to our support network. I am stronger than before, less ruffled, already strengthened by the chips and knocks that motherhood has served me. Ok I lose my rag sometimes… but don’t we all?

But then a little voice in my head says…what if he’s right? What if I couldn’t handle another one? Do it all over again? All those sleepless nights and first year demands? Give my all to another one and still find enough energy for our first born? Do I really have it in me? I see the mums with two, three,  sometimes even four kids and I wonder if we are made of the same cloth, or would I fall apart at the seams? Would it kill our relationship or has that already been strengthened by the trials and tribulations of number one?

Then my heart speaks up again – I see siblings cavorting in the playground and my heart lurches…I see my father and his siblings in their silver years (far from perfect, but still a jolly brood), I see how our little girl is instinctively drawn to other children when we are out and about, and wonder, would it be selfish to deny her a brother or sister? Or would self-preservation in fact save the day and the years to come?

Then I think back to how challenging little E has been, how intense as a Highly Sensitive Child, and I wonder, would number 2 be the same? Could we cope with that level of intensity in our household given we have proven ourselves not to be very good at just riding the wave? And I question my desire to what to do it all over again, am I mad? Or am I just programmed that way?

A little voice whispers in my ear that just because you have siblings, doesn’t mean you will get on, and if that happens, and Daddy is right, at what cost would it all have been for? The same voice whispers that there is nothing wrong with being an only child, after all, there’s a reason why the number of single child familes is on the rise, and maybe we will just slope off to be part of that statistic. But I can’t help the murmurings and yearnings of my soul.

We have agreed for the meantime to just “wait and see”. Wait and see what sort of girl number 1 turns out to be, wait and see what our general situation will be, wait and see whether time heals all wounds, wait and see until we’ve had enough of our life back to want to do it all over again, or wait and see until the final ticks of my body clock force a decision. Wait and see wait and see wait and see. I’m worried that wait and see will eventially calcify and crumble away into nothing…but then we have a bad day and my mind swings right back the other way.

If anyone has been in the same situation I’d love to hear about it, and what happened in the end…

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  1. I’m keen for number 2. The wife less so. Both of us extremely reluctant to start back at the beginning when we feel like we just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s tough. Especially with family so far away.

  2. My 1st child was hard work. New mum and colicky baby that would not sleep through the night, it made me very stressful. 5 kids down the line and I have come to the conclusion that as parents we just muddle on through and somehow manage to make it out on the other side smiling xx

  3. Interesting post. We’ve just had our second child (a week old) and I can honestly say the bonding has been instant this time. I appreciate every little quirk, even at 3am. Still the same lack of sleep issues, settling first child, juggling everything and it’s very early days but I’m so pleased we made the decision to do it all over again. Remember every baby is different and you are different now too. Good luck with your decision. X

  4. Not with the second, but we did umm and ahh over whether to have a third child. We were concerned about the strain it might place on our relationship and our finances, and in the end we gave ourselves an arbitrary 9 months to see if we would conceive – in the end it took just 2 months. The last nearly 3 years have been hard work in every respect at times, and in many ways Kara has been the most difficult of the three, but ultimately no regrets. But that was just us – of course, every couple is different and you can only decide for yourselves.

  5. I’m in the same position: I would like another, husband really is not keen. I can 100% empathise with his “cons” but I’m not sure they negate all of my “pros”. I suppose, in my heart, I know I’m lucky to have one so I can’t get too upset that he doesn’t feel the same way as I do. Gwenn was two on Monday and I am getting a lot of the “So, when are you having another one” questions now. I always say “No, because my husband doesn’t”. Maybe that’s harsh but it’s a good summation of the situation! x


    • Absolute snap in every way! My little one is even the same age and I say the same thing! I wonder if things will change for us? Time will tell..I tell myself the same to be grateful for one and to enjoy and let the hands of time do the rest x

  6. No doubt it is a tough decision to make. Right now for me it doesn’t seem like we could ever be ready for a second child, but then I didn’t feel as though I could ever be ready to have a first.

      • I definitely think it could change! The truth is there is very little in life that you ever feel completely ready for. Pushing beyond those barriers it what helps us develop and improve and gain. We have an eight week old daughter, I couldnt have imagined I was capable of handling the things we have gone through to end up with a healthy child to our name. Right now she’s a handful, so a second seems unrealistic – right now – that can change though, I almost expect it to in fact.

        • Will be interesting to hear how your view changes as she gets older. 8 weeks such a teeny weeny! Ours was a handful from word go right until, well basically now at almost 2! Which is probably why I’m starting to soften about the idea…

  7. I have two girls. The partner I am with now (4 years nearly) is the father of my youngest but isn’t the Dad to my eldest who is 5. I really want a 3rd (and last) baby next year but he doesn’t! I am really hoping he will change his mind by then!


  8. When I decided I wanted another child (OH wasn’t keen at first) my son was a non talker with the possibility of being Autistic. I still went ahead anyway. I suffer from endometriosis so I didn’t want it to get to the stage where I couldn’t have children anymore. To be honest it was a doddle, even with my second being 6 weeks early and in NICU for 12 days. Having two isn’t much different than having one. You learn to adjust and cope. If I didn’t have so many problems carrying children, I would keep on having them 😉

    Thank you for linking up with the #WeekendBlogHop

    Laura x x x

  9. It’s so hard isn’t it? We both really want another at some point, possibly in the near-ish future, but the thought of going through all the really tough bits again is so scary, and this time we will have an older one to look after too. I am sure you would cope and everything would work out in the end, but I understand why it is a hard decision. I hope you make the right choice for your family xx #sharewithme

  10. Moving post Talya. The seeing the light at the end of the tunnel was certainly key for our decision to go ahead with number 2. I needed to know that we would come out of that early period. And I think age 2.5-3 was it for us. The difference between an almost 2 year old and a 3 year old is enormous. J was already 2.5 when we conceived and of a cognitive ability to understand a baby was coming. He took to the twins so well. I partly put that down to his personality but also I feel we did prepare him well.

    Something you don’t read about often is the feelings of loss and grief of losing the one to one parent child relationship that a sibling brings. I’m glad I recognised this aspect of having another and discussed with others who also felt the same as I mourned before they arrived, if that makes sense. Having siblings of course changes the dynamic but, well for us, it was not the upheaval and rollercoaster of the first time. You bring all your mother and fatherhood skills you’ve developed to the next.

    • It will be interesting to see whether the difference between 2yrs and 3yrs makes any difference to where we are with our respective views at the moment. I read a really interesting post recently about the grieving a mother went through when she had number two for the close relationship she had with number one…something not many people talk about (oh another blog post perhaps?!). I guess that’s why people always say that number one will always be special…

  11. I had a a wonderful but very tough year with my first child.
    I returned back to work at 7months and was happy to do so even though I adored my baby. I was missing adult conversation and using my brain again was quite a novelty. Popping out for lunch without being attached to a buggy was a luxury!
    But it wasn’t easy! My baby went to nursery 3 days a week from 830am to 530pm – even 5 mins late of pick up incurred a fine. When she was sick, my mobile would ring during a meeting (with all men – of course;)) and I would have to leave work to pick her up…

    I would return home with her, stressed and bad tempered. My work, in both senses, was suffering – leaving meetings, tired and inattentive mothering … I was no longer good at anything. Did I want another child? Ummm, not at that time!

    My husband had always wanted more than 1 – so had I…but that was before I saw how hard it is.

    Just as things started getting easier when she was almost 1 year old, I discovered I was pregnant again (unplanned) – uh oh, seriously? Hubby was delighted and I was a little shell shocked.. Central London nursery fees and nannies would eat up my post-tax salary. What was the point? Yet, I didn’t want to give up my job as I knew I’d be a terrible full time Mum…… What on earth to do?

    Anyway, cut a long story short… yes, I had a difficult first year and was contemplating not having more children and thank god I revised that opinion!
    I adore my second child and I am so happy to have him in my life. My 2 children are like chalk and cheese. You never know what the future will bring.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience which sounded like a toughie! I know that in the long run we would be overjoyed to have the two, but I just don’t know whether that is enough to see us through the hard times of having another one…Only time will tell!

  12. It was a similar situation for us but I didn’t want to get too far out of it to start all over again and rather talked hubby into seeing my side as we still had all the baby stuff and still were in baby mode we thought it best to get it done twice together so now we are seeing the benefits of getting out of baby stage with our two toddlers and selling all the baby stuff. But so many people do it all differently. Hard when one wants it more than the other. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  13. This is a really interesting read, the gap question is a big one, but for me question of number 2 is also one to consider. I suffered with HG while I was pregnant and Boo had colic and silent reflux so there is a lot for us to consider. It’s a difficult decision and there is so much to think about!

  14. There is no right or wrong here, just working with what is right for you and your hubby. If you go ahead you will cope and wether it is tough or not you will find that you could never imagine life without child no.2 (much as with child no.1). You genuinely have learnt so much from your first baby and have grown in experience as a mother. Two is genuinely hard work though and there is no telling the circumstances (Although going from none to one is the biggest shock) Personally I am very happy to have had no.2 son although I worked harder than ever for a few years. But for me now, stopping is right so no No.3

  15. I am so ready for a second child and have been since my daughter was about 6 months old! She’s now 3 and I’m finding carrying this broodiness around is hard going! My husband isn’t as keen but has said it’s not an outright no. He just doesn’t think the time is right or that we have enough money or a big enough house. All these things are true but I feel like saying “Let’s quit being sensible and just wing it, I’m sure other people do!”
    Bit of a risky strategy I imagine.

  16. Such an honest post, a great read. my OH wasn’t so keen for a baby 2, (his number 3) but I knew, no matter how hard baby 1 was (and like all she was no walk in the park) I would always want another. That being said there ended up being 11 months between 1 and 2 – don’t get me wrong I wanted another but certainly not that quickly! It has been hard and baby 2 is certainly a challenge but I think a lot of that is particular to him as he was prem and has several other medical woes keeping us busy. But despite how hard he is, it is inifinitely easier this time round, I am better at the whole bedtime routine, I am less neurotic and infinitely more chilled. I have learnt so much from baby 1 and taken it with me to baby 2. The OH and I wouldn’t have it any other way now, obviously. But what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another and only you guys will be able to know what’s right for you, the only thing I would say, is even though baby 2 is harder baby than baby 1 I can deal with it so much better and am definitely less stressed this time around, oh and grandparents are golden!! Xx

  17. I just had my 3rd. I’m only 23 and my first was born when I was only 18 and honestly I love the fact that my boys will always have eachother. They fight and do mean stuff to each other but they also take care of each other, they always have a friend, someone to play with, and they share a kind of love that I, being an only child, will never understand. But it is momentous. I was terrified all 3 times lol. And sometimes I lose my cool because I feel so stretched thin. But I wouldn’t trade this or change it for the world. Also my younger two were EXPONENTIALLY easier and happier than my oldest as a baby lol.

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