This post is for those of you who are tossing with the life altering question "When to have my second kid? Or should I have one.....???"
Disclosure: I have two kids!
Now, lets get done with the second part of the topic... "Should I have a second kid ?"...
Well, I am an only child... for the those of you who have siblings, I can give you the first hand insight of growing up alone...
Growing up alone... oh man, this sounds very negative! But no...Life as a single kid is awesome, you get two sets of clothes for Diwali when your friends with siblings just end up with one dress, you get all the attention, you get window seats all the time AND You don't have to share your mom with anyone!
What did I miss as a single child... mm.. I don't know.. I could only guess!
But I remember an incident which happened during my 7th standard - One day my classmate who had a lovely long hair wore a big hairpin in the center of her head - it was a funny sight. When I enquired what happend, she mentioned that her brother cut a bunch of her hair while she was sleeping. She mentioned this as if it was the most common thing - she was not mad at her brother. She gave a half smile and explained how she had infuriated her brother before she fell asleep. That was the first time when I thought that being a single child was not a boon - maybe it was fun to have a sibling!
Of course there were other times - the time when I realized that my cousin brother was an "own" brother to my cousin sister. But then I never regretted that I was a single child as a kid.
Is there any negative behavior that I associate myself with the fact that I was an only-child? Mm.. No!
I don't think I am a spoilt brat. I usually adjust to circumstances and am a no-complainer. Sharing is slightly difficult for me... I wonder how other girls enjoy swapping dresses with friends!
Bottom line is that your single child can grow up to be a normal and healthy human being without having a sibling!
My only point of advocacy for having a second child is "to create a support system for your first one".
Who will I have beyond my marital bond after my parents are gone. (God, Let my parents live long!!). I can hear many of you say friends and cousins...! Believe me they are not the same as having a sibling.
Every summer, every holiday I have spent with my cousins! I have loads of cousins...my best memories of childhood feature them. But all of us have sort of drifted away with our marriages, kids and careers. My kids know less of their second-cousins...and second-cousins are just not same as cousins :)
My friends...my gang of gals from college are the closest I have to sisters... We hang out together when we can and our children are friends with each other too. But..my friends have siblings and of course I am no equal to their sister or brother!
Just one incident which made me believe that one needs sibling was when my dad got hospitalized. Both my Dad's siblings and my Mom's siblings were the ones who took complete control when me and my mom were stumped. Of course, my dad's best friend was there for him. But weeks of staying and caring were done by the siblings. Just think for a second on whom you will call in case of an emergency... will your kid have someone to call on in case of emergency when she is old. For those of you asking what if the second child and your first born are not supportive of each other? Well, its our responsibility to raise them with a great bonding.
Your first born may have the greatest friends and cousins but if you want somebody to stand together with her/him after you are long gone.... then consider having a second child.
WHEN TO HAVE MY SECOND CHILD?
This is the easier part - as soon as you can :)
- With the current generation's marriage age averaging at 27, finish the job soon so as to reduce the risk of medical complications.
- Your parents are getting old too - they need to have the strength to pull you through another pregnancy and infant caring.
- 'Life before sibling and life after sibling is never the same', having a lesser age gap might diminish this memory.
- Practically speaking, for a easier pregnancy you will be better off with an elder kid who can walk on their own.
Pros of bigger age gap is caring for the second kid becomes easy with the elder one being able to feed herself, bathe herself and so on. Cons being, the elder one might feel left out and uncared for even if they don't let it show. My friend still cribs about how his life changed upside down with his brother's arrival.
Pros of a smaller age gap is that they barely remember their life before the younger one, making them less hostile towards their baby sibling. Lesser age gap usually makes the siblings bond easier. Cons - your pregnancy is likely to be difficult. I would vomiting in buckets when my 2 year old comes to me asking to read her a book!
So, "when" is a question that needs to be tackled personally. Just a word of caution - don't delay deciding; it might just stop you from having your second baby.