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Should mom be content with one-and-done?

HI, CAROLYN: Lately, I've wanted another kid. I'm already lucky enough to have a 4-year-old and a supportive partner. I'm now in my early 40s and two years ago, I discovered I couldn't have any more kids. My husband and I knew it was a possibility. I was interested in pursuing adoption and he's interested in looking into a donor egg. We went to an adoption information session but my husband left discouraged. He's incredibly content with our family situation, as am I. Sometimes I think another kid in our family would add so much, a sibling for our son to play with, and I just think kids are wonderful. But I also love our family as-is. What do you think? Happy one-and-done, or maybe two-and-done? My husband also thinks it would be too disruptive for our son.

Baby Fever

BABY FEVER: There's an easy answer here, if you want it: To have another child would involve a significant effort — which means anything less than 100% enthusiasm from both of you says "one and done."

There are also some creative answers out there, also if you want them: I'm reading between the lines a bit, but I take it you're a happy, strong, mature little family unit with some means and some extra love and energy to give. A second child isn't the only possible place to put that stability, love and money. Look around, see who or what needs you. I wrote a while back about two neglected adolescents, and all I could think about was how many people would love to step in to help them if they only knew of the need to.

So, here's a chance for you to look around, ask around, give of yourself. Call your local child services to learn various ways to give.

The third answer is a kind of hedge: Keep doing the research, keep discussing and even get into the early stages of the family-building process you choose. There is a famously long time ahead of you before you'd actually have a child, so you might have plenty more time to think.

RE: BABY FEVER: If a main motivator for having another child is to provide a playmate for your current child, you may want to rethink things. The age gap is already four years and could be five or six years by the time you have another child. That's a wide gap and unlikely to result in besties.


ANONYMOUS: Good point, thanks, though even siblings with a substantial age gap can bring enormous benefits to each other in so many ways.

Of course, they can also torment each other — even kids close in age aren't guaranteed to "result in besties" — so your point works best when applied broadly: No emotional or logistical outcomes are guaranteed. Look at it that way, and the only reason to have a child that stands up to scrutiny is wanting to have a child.

If I had my way, though, we'd change the saying from having a baby/child/kid to having a person. That really brings home, doesn't it, what parents are committing to?

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