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I don’t know if I want to have a second child.

My husband and I always wanted two kids but now that we have a 5 month old, we're not so sure about having a second baby.

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Dear Is This Normal,

My husband and I always said we wanted 2 kids. We currently have a 5 month old and struggle SO much with his sleep that it makes us not want to have another 😭 we love our baby more than anything in the world but not sure if we could go through this again. Is this normal 😂

Signed,

One and Done?

Dear One and Done?,

So I have this theory. It’s not at all scientific, just based on my own observations as a parent in this world, who moves through a lot of parenting circles. My theory is thus: most people want more than one kid, until they actually have a kid. You see, parenting does this thing where it knocks you so hard upside your head that it feels like you’re basically walking around concussed for the first year of your child’s life. And you can’t prepare for it, I don’t care what the books say. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can prepare you for what awaits you when you have a child. So when people finally get a taste of what it’s actually like, they quickly realize that doing this for a second or third or fourth time sounds like a legitimate act of lunacy! So what I’m saying is yes, oh my god yes, your feelings about having a second baby are totally normal. They may also change, and I’ll explain why.

You are in the thick of it right now. 5 months is a tough age! Hell, months 0-120 aren’t exactly a walk in the park. But wee babies require SO much time and attention, and so much of YOU. And the sleep thing is brutal. That phrase, “Sleep like a baby”? That is a whole lot of BS, because if we all slept like babies, we’d be walking around like sleep-deprived zombies everyday (which is not far off from how parents of infants feel anyway, tbh). When my girls were this age, the longest stretch of sleep I got on a regular basis was three hours. Three hours at a time! For MONTHS! That seriously messes with your brain and body and is not an ideal time to be making irrevocable decisions, let’s be honest. It’s like going grocery shopping when you’re starving or getting bangs after a bad breakup—ill-advised.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind: this particular phase is just that, a phase. Your baby won’t be Team No Sleep forever. Think about how fast the first five months went—flew by, right? Time moves fast when you have a baby, and one day you’ll blink and they won’t be a baby anymore. And somehow, our brains do this weird thing where we forget what pregnancy was like and what childbirth was like and what those first 6 or so months of parenting were like and suddenly it sounds like an absolutely brilliant idea to do it all over again. The hard parts are all you can focus on right now, I know. But in the not-too-distant future, these hard days and weeks and months will be like a hazy memory, something you vaguely recall in the recesses of your brain. And when you look back, you’ll marvel at just how fast it all went, no sleep and all. 

The bottom line is, it’s totally fine and absolutely normal to change your mind about having more than one kid after you actually have one and realize what it’s like. It’s also totally fine to change your mind about it right now and then change it back again in a few months or a year or two years from now. Or not! I don’t fault you at all for not wanting to do the newborn and infant stage again. But I do gently suggest that you and your husband maybe just table this discussion right now, rather than take the option off the table completely. Because the newborn and infant stage is very short, big picture-wise. And what’s on the horizon (first words, first foods, first steps, first time your toddler kisses you square on the lips out of nowhere) is so good. SO FREAKING GOOD. 

There is nothing at all wrong with being one and done, and there’s nothing wrong with being one and done…for now. I didn’t think I wanted a second child until I got pregnant with my second baby (risky move, I know), and the ways in which my life is better for her being in it are too great to quantify. For now, just focus on getting through this rough spot. Close the door if you need to, for sure. But leave the window cracked just in case. 

Two and (Definitely) Through,

Is This Normal

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