QUESTION: I recently gave birth to my first
baby, a girl -- and I'm in my mid 40s. I want another baby, badly. Should
I have another child so soon after giving birth?
ANSWER: You have just entered a new chapter
in your life that involves both fulfillment as a mother and loss of
the freedom afforded by life without a child. Allow yourself the time
to process all the feelings that are part of this enormous transition
before pressuring yourself about whether or not to have a second child.
It's possible that you are substituting "making a decision" for taking
the time to resolve the natural, ambivalent feelings that motherhood
evokes. Ambivalence in motherhood is a sign of healthy adjustment, which
all parents must recognize and come to terms with over time.
Most women just coming out of pregnancy and childbirth
do not want to even think about another pregnancy for at least six
months! Perhaps the last year of physical change and transformation
has left you tired and projecting these feelings into the future.
So much is new, it would be difficult to project how you'll feel when
your child is two years old.
However, if you feel you have "pushed the envelope"
by having your first child in mid-life, you are in good company! In
the last decade, there has been a burgeoning of parents who have delayed
parenthood. Mid-life brings to childrearing both strengths and weaknesses,
which probably won't change significantly for one or two children.
Yet, younger parents may lack the maturity of middle-age, which may
make parenthood an easier adjustment!
The concerns you may have as mid-life parents may
include resources related to your health, money and energy. But you
have already brought one child into your current situation, so you
must have some faith in your future. And the biggest commitment to
change (parenthood) is already sealed.
You are currently in the midst of tremendous psychological
change as you become parents! This next year will bring not only your
daughter's first birthday, but the birth of a new relationship based
on family life. You have the opportunity to discuss how you want to
share the responsibilities of parenthood.
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