Poll Time: Why would anyone have another child?

14 Oct
Cutest Baby Alive

Incidentally, HOW GORGEOUS IS MY BABY???

Jake and I had the chat last weekend.  Yes, THE chat: Should we plan to have another child?

Now, before you get all WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS SO SOON? let me explain.  Jake and I are both sprinters.  We don’t tolerate lollygagging.  If we are going to give Seabass a baby brother/sister, I’d rather it be sooner than later for two reasons:  one, I don’t want to change diapers for the better part of a decade, and two, my body isn’t getting any younger.

So, we entertained the idea over a nice lunch, and, unfortunately, Jake and I are experiencing a difference of opinion.  Can you guess who wants what?  That’s right.  I want to keep building our family, and he’s crying uncle.

Each of us has some very good arguments and some not-so-compelling arguments.  In general (and not surprisingly), mine are more emotional, and his are more practical.  Here I share my own, and then Jake gets to defend his reasons in his own words.

Jaime:

I want a girl.  I know, I know.  I can’t control that.  And if it’s another boy, I’ll still be over the moon.  But the thought of having a little girl touches something really deep inside me.  I guess it’s always been my assumption that I’d have a daughter sooner or later.

I’m finally (mostly, pretty much, generally) having fun with Seabass.  And glimpsing this makes me curious to experience more, with a different little bundle of love.

I don’t want to be left out.  One of the greatest gifts of my nascent parenthood is connecting deeply with other moms in the same boat.  The thought of being left behind as they continue having kids makes me sad.

I don’t want Seabass to be an only child.  If he’s anything like me, he’ll be horribly self-involved without having to learn how to share.  And that’s a valuable lesson that’s only fully absorbed in the home.

Four makes a family.  This isn’t true, of course.  Two makes a family, and Jake and I have always been very clear on that.  But something about an immediate family of four just feels nice.  Okay, not my best argument.  Shut up.

Jacob:

We can’t afford it.  With the first child we had state-sponsored health insurance for the birth and the boy’s first year, making him cheap to have.  A second kid would likely run us $5k+, in addition to an extra ~$300/mo in health insurance.
 
The pain.  I feel the first child nearly broke us spiritually/emotionally.  My wife’s on meds for crying out loud!  I experienced many moments with Seabass screaming like a banshee in which I swore one was it.  I told myself I don’t care what anybody says, I will not be swayed from this absolutely final decision that there can be only one, because it was that painful.  I am a peaceful, mellow, even passive guy, and I was tempted towards violence.  Violence!  That’s not even considering Jaime’s birthing pains.
 
We’ll have a boy.  Jaime wants a girl.  When will the madness stop?  10 kids?  15?!
 
We can’t afford it.  Did I mention that already?  We want to buy a house.  We want to send the first boy to college.  We want to live above the poverty line.  Don’t give me that BS about how kids don’t really cost that much.  Jaime can insert here some link to how much a child is supposed to cost in the first 10 years or whatever.
 
People only have a second kid for the first kid’s sake.  My theory is that foolish newlyweds say they want five kids.  Then they have one and realize how hard it is, and the count goes to two, maybe three.  But why have more?  Just because they think the first one needs a friend, that it will teach him to share.  The second one comes along and they see how hard THAT is, and they run to the doctor for a vasectomy.  Then the two they have that are supposed to be friends and distract each other so that their parents can take a breath end up at each others’ throats until they move out of the house…at which point they become best friends.
 
C-Bass will be better off.  If we can conserve all our precious resources (time, money, energy, attention) then C-Bass will get to enjoy more of them.  Maybe he can go to a better school.  Maybe we can take him traveling somewhere special, whereas when carting two kids around it’s unlikely we’ll make it further than the local campground.  Knowing how dead to the world we are currently with a  5-month old, imagine us trying to pay any attention to him when he’s a couple years old but his 5-month old kid sister has drained us just like he did.  It doesn’t get better as they get older because there’re just more events, activities, clubs, etc. that will divide our attention between children.
 
The difficulties will be different.  People say that if we had such a hard time with this kid, then the next one could be easy.  BS.  No kid is easy all the time.  Not even a vast majority of the time.  I remember Jaime being jealous of other moms whose kids were so easy during get-togethers and whatnot, only to find out that they’re waking up with them throughout the night.  Each kid has its difficulty now or later, and it will most likely be something different than what we’ve figured out with this first one.  New pain.

Alright folks, here’s the poll.  We want to know how you all feel about this and how your thoughts play (and played) into your actions.  So please answer the following three questions, and be honest!

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34 Responses to “Poll Time: Why would anyone have another child?”

  1. Oma October 14, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I think you both have valid points. But I want more grandchildren. Sorry Jake.

  2. Sara Nesper October 14, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Still rockin’ the zero in the kids category, but if that picture doesn’t make me want one- even just a little bit- then I don’t know what will. He is so stinkin’ cute!!!

  3. LindaA October 14, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    Where’s the radio button for 0 kids? 🙂

  4. roxanne October 14, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    when all is said and done remember; “children are a blessing of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is HIS reward.” Psalm 127

  5. Lorrie October 14, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Follow your hearts & give it some time. I swear, after the first year things are so different!

  6. Kristin October 14, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Ok – here are my two cents. Both valid arguments for different reasons. Jake – kids do get easier. As the parent of a 5 yr old – I can tell you I would do ANYTHING I could to turn back time an have another. Why? Because now – I’m all he’s got. For friendship, companionship, figuring things out, make believe time, endless!! dinosaur stories…I wish he had someone I could say – “go play with your sibling” bc mommys gonna scream if you ask me one more question. All I ever hear is mom..mom…mom.. And if you think Jamies losing it now – just give it time. Yes, they cost money. So do you. Yes, you can still travel. Stay in hostels. The love you feel now will be doubled. And everyone will have someone to sit next to on the rollercoaster ride next time you go to Disneyland.

  7. Patrick October 14, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    I’m going with Jaime’s arguments…Jake sounds like a whiny toddler. 😉

    Have you thought about adoption? Fost-adopt could be the answer to most of your and Jake’s concerns…still hard, but in a differnt way.

    I’m available for lunch if Jake wants to talk…

  8. BA October 14, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    Well, we just had our third so perhaps I am a little bias but even though it is difficult at times (okay, a lot of the time), I don’t regret it. The boys have made an incredible bond, one that I hope they will have their entire lives. It gives me comfort to know that as they grow older they will always have each other.

    I live in Canada and reading what it costs to have a baby in a hospital in the USA makes my stomach churn. I just walked out without paying anything! I can’t imagine what medical costs would run with three kids if I lived in the US with no insurance. Yikes!

    Good luck with your decision but after the year-mark, when sleep is restored, things are different and life is viewed through a different lens.

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

      Yeah, the universal healthcare debate is a pretty major one here in the States these days. Couldn’t have come at a better time in our household. Needless to say, we think about it an awful lot.

  9. J.C October 14, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    I will always remember someone saying to me ‘it’s the kids you don’t have that you regret, never the ones you do have’. I wanted 3, hub wanted 2, I miraculously got knocked up again when #2 was 1. And yes, it IS hard in those early months. Natalie is 3.5months now and still colicky, but I wouldn’t trade what we have for anything.
    As someone said, they get older, they play together more (our big girls are 5.5 and almost 2 now and watching them together? so beautiful). It definitely gets easier.
    Also, this post makes me grateful for our health system here in NZ. That whole cost for birth and insurance sounds pretty heavy, but totally worth it I’d say 😉
    Good luck! plenty of time to let it simmer til you are both at the same place on it.

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

      HEALTHCARE!!! AAAAAAHHHHH!!

      Yes, we spent six months in Italy and then another six in NZ recently (In Marlborough – where are you?) and enjoyed state-funded (taxpayer-funded) healthcare even as foreigners! It was incredible to walk out of an emergency room with X-rays and prescription meds without having paid a cent! I envy you kiwis that.

  10. Kat Kauthen October 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    I think I talked to my hubby about more kids like 3 weeks after Scar was born.. haha…

    But I’m in the camp of the more the merrier! And Jared always at least 4, so we’ll have our “talk” after the fourth.

    As far as vacations, I’m from a family of 5 who did tons of traveling (always on a budget, mind you, but we even a family to Paris one year!)

    And, difficulties ARE different — my two brothers have Down Syndrome — but, when you get right down to it, difficult or not, you can’t imagine how dull life would be without that sister, those two brothers and the monkey…I mean those three brothers.

    So those are my pro-baby arguments for ya 🙂
    Lovin’ the blog, by the way! Keep it up!

  11. Nicole October 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    That’s so funny that you posted this today. Just last night the hubby and I were talking about the extact same thing. We have a 2 year old and when she was a baby I said I would never have another one. She was the WORST sleeper ever. I didn’t feel like I slept for a year. A YEAR. But now, as she is becoming more independent it makes me miss when she was a baby. And only recently has the thought of another baby came into my mind. And the one thing I always say is, “the second one has to be easier right?”. I mean, I WILL KNOW what I’m doing this time around (mostly). So, it was decided last night that we would try for baby #2. Good luck and I hope you two can come to an agreement, maybe even in a few months 🙂

    • Nicole October 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

      Oh, and my husband just told me last night that he wants 4 kids. SAY WHAT?! Yeah, I’m good with 2.

  12. photosheri October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    He’ll change his mind when the little one is older. 5 months old is still a crazy, unsure, sleepless time. When he’s like 14+ months, and loving riding on Daddy’s shoulders, playing in puddles, and running to the door when Daddy comes home, he will probably feel differently.

    I can’t believe how much it costs to have a baby over there. I live in Australia (although I’m american) and here Medicare pays for everything. I didn’t pay a cent to have my daughter. Not for ultrasounds, pre-natal appointments, a big private birthing suite, follow up visits to my home by a midwife, and continuing early childhood appointments. Oh, and the government also gives us women $5000 to have a baby.

    It’s crazy that the U.S. is so far behind in healthcare.

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

      Sheri,
      What would you say the level of health care service is in your area? And what do you think you lose by having the state cover your care? I’m just trying to figure out why so many people here are against state-sponsored healthcare.

      • photosheri October 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

        The level of healthcare in my area (Sydney area) is quite good. The only thing is the doctors are so much busier, so it’s not like in the states where every time you go in they take your blood pressure and your temperature and all that stuff. And if you need “elective” surgery, you go on a waiting list and sometimes the list is quite long. Of course that’s way better than having nothing and not being able to afford it at all if you didn’t have insurance. Pre and post natal care is excellent. Oh, and unless you have private health insurance here, you pay for extras, like the dentist and glasses/contacts. I don’t think I lost anything by having the state cover all of my pre and post natal care. We had private health insurance at the time, but I got the same level of cover going with medicare and didn’t have the $5,000 excess we would have had with private health insurance. Yeah, we didn’t go to a private hospital or get to pick our doctors, but they were all excellent in the public hospital, so that didn’t matter anyway. I think state funded health care is definitely a good thing.

  13. M October 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Here’s the thing. I’m an only child so I feel like it makes me biased. All I wanted growing up was a brother or sister and I really feel like I missed out on a lot not having had a sibling. So I’ve always wanted a big family because of that. Especially since my extended family lives abroad so it was always just the 3 of us at holidays and vacations. I have a 3.5 year old boy and a 3 week old girl and I’m already telling my husband that we’re going to have a 3rd (one day!).

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

      Enjoying the book? 🙂

  14. Molly October 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Totally hear both of you. We are blessed to have a boy and a girl, which has made us seriously reconsider our desire to have three kids. We recently discussed how three kids might do US in. Having one kid is challenging on a relationship that grew for so many years into a solid partnership and marriage. To repeat it with another kid adds more strain, more sleepless nights, and takes more time away from the original relationship of two. That said, I would never wish my life any other way and would die without my #2. BUT, it’s definitely made us think very hard about a #3. I grew up with 2 and I didn’t like the dynamics my bro and I had. I think that’s more my parent’s doing (shhh) and I’m praying we will be better parents. I really appreciate my #1 having a #2 to be with. Their relationship is so special, AND, #1 is learning that life isn’t all about him. I could go on and on, but in the end, I still hear both of your very valid points. And yes, kids are expensive, unless you use cloth diapers and want to breastfeed them until they can get a job and pay for themselves.

  15. Kendra October 14, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    You are on fire this week Jamie! Jason is on team Jake, and I am on team Jamie. In our family we will most likely have 2, and if I had it my way we would adopt number 3. Only time can tell.
    To support why one needs a sibiling, I will share… Three years ago my grandmother passed away from brain cancer. From being diagnosed to death it was only seven months. During those months I was by my mom’s side, helping with what ever I could. See, she is an only child, and just had me to help. The hard part was, her pain was on a different level than mine. It was not until we were walking into my grandmother’s hospice care home, that my mom turned to me and said “I am so glad I gave you a sister”. I realized in that moment, my mom was alone with her pain, with no one to share it with. I hade never been so greatful to have a sister. She will always be my sholder to cry on, my sounding board, my cheerleader, and she will understand at a level that friends can’t touch.

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

      That is a very good reason to have more than one. I have shared this with Jake.

  16. geiska October 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    This was one of my favorite posts! I’m proud of Jake for being so honest on YOUR blog. I too was wondering why 0 kids wasn’t on any of your polls. It took us 5 and 1/2 years after number one to be ready for number two and honestly in hind sight we would have moved it up. One month. I love having a 6 year old and a baby. AND we are WAY better off than we were financially 6 years ago – you probably will be too. But remember – no matter what the arguments or what you two decide you are LOVED and have a ton of support out here. And in the words of my husband the first time I asked him if we should have more kids after number one, “what’s wrong with the one we have?”

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

      0 kids wasn’t an option on any of my polls because I’m self-centered and figure that no one else lives any differently than I do. Isn’t that horrible?

  17. Travis October 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    Seriously, have more kids. The joy that one, two or ten more will give you far outweighs the hardships that occur during the process. Jamie- you could pull out the bigger guns and look toward the Bible for wisdom on this. I believe marriage and procreation go hand in hand

  18. Valarie October 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    First of all: thanks for sharing this. Second: I think it’s unfair to say someone’s feeling are whiney or invalid…there’s no right or wrong here…maybe just a good or better. Judd and I have decided to not try to have more than one. What we went through to have the one nearly broke us (not to mention PPD). I can honestly say we are so content with just one. I do get the “left behind” twinge sometimes but that’s not a good enough reason for me to have another. We can and do devote so much time and resources with only having one. And I make sure she plays with kids every day–either cousins or friends or at a park. Looking forward to hearing how it turns out for you! 🙂

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

      Val – I actually thought about your perspective when we wrote this, and I’m so glad you weighed in! I respect your decision so much. And your honesty about it. In defense of my dear husband, I find the whole “children are a blessing from God” argument taken out of context as a reason to have loads of them. Isn’t it possible that having loads of children is a cultural holdover from the days when more children equaled more manual labor?

      And if having more children is the pathway to holiness, why didn’t Jesus have any?

      All of that being said, I still would like another one. Thanks for your comment, friend.

  19. mamasowould October 14, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    My own little family just never felt complete until that third one rolled along. I don’t know why it didn’t, then suddenly it did, but we went with it. My husband was of the same mind yours is, and it took me 4 years to convince him…and we got our girl, who promptly wrapped him around her little pink finger. But the thing that neither of you considered is that you have not/cannot/will not experience that ultimate love that only comes AFTER the first one, when the second one arrives:”How could I ever love another child as much as I love THIS one.”–and then you do. And you understand. ‘THAT’ love is one of God’s greatest miracles. Truly.

  20. mamasowould October 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    and incidentally: Pretty freaking gorgeous. He makes me lactate every time I look at him, and I haven’t done that on purpose in 15 years.

    • jaimeclewis October 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

      LOL, Megan. And I don’t type that lightly.

  21. mamasowould October 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    BS. No kid is easy all the time. Not even a vast majority of the time.
    __________________________________

    Patently not true. I have three. ONE of them is high maintenance. The other two are a breeze. The third one I wrote in his baby book right after he was born that he was like a happy sack of flour. VERY little has changed in the subsequent 15 years. Kids keep us young. You are too young to feel old, so you cannot appreciate the validity of that argument. So here’s my next-best one. There will NEVER be enough money. Period. Don’t commit yourself to a life of material satisfaction at the expense of emotional fulfillment. Your future children are waiting to bring you the best years of your life.

  22. chris October 14, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    i’m sorry C has been difficult.

    i don’t know what i would have done if faced with the challenges of a fussy baby day after day… i actually don’t remember if we had days like you’ve mentioned?? i’m sure you’ve realized that having a support group of friends is important – i don’t know if jake’s parents are close enough to help? we didn’t have grandparents who lived near us until the girls were almost middle school age, so we were on our own… and NONE of our friends had children so we just took them along wherever (putting them down on beds to sleep while we played cards, BBQ’d, and visited).

    this must be creating some difficult moments between the two of you. keep an open mind & know the decisions don’t need to be made now. jaime – you are still young! believe me – there are a lot of women having babies into their 40’s now. not that i would think that would be a plan for you & jake.

    jake – there is NOTHING wrong with taking meds for depression – the meds might be temporary for jaime, there are many people who must take the medications to function due to chemical imbalance.

    as for being able to afford children – no one can ever afford children… it’s a matter of priorities at this time in your lives… is having a house more important than a child? being able to afford the medical costs of having another child is probably a more realistic concern… the travel, college, clothing all seem to fall into place when the time comes.

    after spending so much time abroad, i would imagine the two of you became very good at stretching the dollar! and you know people in the US consume more (& seem to “want” more) than people in other countries (& i’m not talking about 3rd world countries). the two of you have great consumer skills, so i have no doubt this issue will remedy itself when you make your final decision about whether to have another or not.

    and finally, your second child WILL actually be easier. they seem to sense when parents have “HAD ENOUGH” and quiet much quicker. really – do a poll of your friends with kids. i bet they’ll say the same thing.

    only the two of you can make this decision….

  23. december1219 October 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Growing up, I was the youngest of three. By the time I was ten, both of my siblings had moved out and where no longer on speaking terms with my parents (due largely in part to their dysfunctional father). Over the course of my childhood, I had known both to have and not to have siblings, and I much prefer someone to no one. I would have given my left arm for a sibling, even if it was a younger brother who stole my diary & tattled about eating the last brownie. Unless you had planned all along to only have one, Jake, it’s almost like punishing little Seabass for life for being a little bit of a pain in the behind for a mere few weeks. He may take 20 or 30 years to fully appreciate his sibling, but trust me– one day, he’ll thank you for it.

  24. alenski October 23, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    Hi 🙂 I’m a follower of your site, love your posts. Both have their own pros and cons. Before giving birth, my plan was to have 4 kids since I grew up in a big family and I’m the youngest. All of us are very close and I can say that our home is always loud and happy, although I didn’t get to finish my ballet classes, I’ve never experienced having swimming lessons, no piano lessons, no summer camp, I studied in a state university and not in the university that I wanted, I didn’t get to study my preferred course since studying as a Physical therapist in our country costs a lot and my parents have to budget everything so I dont get to do what my friends/classmates are doing(like ballets, swimming, etc).

    I gave birth last August 14 and after 2 months of taking care of my baby, I guess I have to side with Jake. Not that I don’t find taking care of my baby awesome, it is, it’s just that all those late night wailing is really getting on my nerves and I’m afraid I’ll be experiencing it again once I have another one. I want to be able to provide all the best to my baby and I won’t get to do that if we have another kid. I want to be able to enroll her to a piano lesson if she wants to and I’m thinking that instead of having all of my husband and my attention to her, we’ll have to split it to accommodate the needs of her sibling. Or maybe I’m just saying this because I’m having baby blues all the time, but whatever, for me 1 kid is enough 🙂

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