I want another baby—but not yet

I want to give my son a sibling, but I have to consider myself, too.

how long should you wait to have another baby

I'm the only one left among my circle of friends who doesn't have at least two kids. My son just turned 4, and somehow, I've missed a deadline that I wasn't even aware of.

I'm often asked, "Is he your one and only?" And I smile and say, "Yes," because right now, he is. Though I do still want to have another child, it seems I've fallen behind the curve.

All of my son's friends have younger brothers or sisters. He's been asking me for months when we can have a new baby. He will be a wonderful older brother—he's helpful with chores, and he's a sweet and compassionate boy. He deserves to have a sibling to love and to play with. And I want to give him one.


There's a "but" coming.

I want to give him a sibling, BUT I have to consider myself, too. My own timeline. There are reasons I've waited this long, and those reasons will keep me waiting for just a bit longer.

I'm a little in awe of the moms out there who've already jumped into the unknown, embracing the challenges of raising two kids. A little in awe, and a lot intimidated.

I see other moms out there, making it work with two kids—or more! One of my best friends just had her fourth and she seems blissfully full and content. (Tired, but content.) When I see moms changing baby diapers at the park while their older children play on the equipment, or carrying baby number two on their chest over a swelling baby bump—all while managing to drop their first off at preschool—I am in awe of them.

But I'm not them, and I shouldn't feel pressured by the fact that I have "only" one child. Their situations may be different from mine. Their mental health and their goals may be different from mine. They may have family who live close by; mine live 15 hours away in another state. They may have a partner who comes home from work every night; mine is away for weeks and months at a time. They may have a household to run, or even a small business to manage. I'm keeping our small farm running on my own and trying to make writing a career.

There's another factor in play for me that has had a huge impact: my anxiety disorder.

I worry (thanks, anxiety) that my disorder will be worse with two kids. I worry that it will make for an unhealthy pregnancy, or that it will strain my marriage even further while I struggle to make everything work. I worry, I worry and I worry some more.

Meanwhile, my husband is about to be gone for the better part of the next year. Not exactly ideal circumstances for bringing baby number two into the world.

So for now, I wait. I worry. I watch the other moms out there making it through, and remind myself over and over that if they can do it, so can I. I might be a little behind on that "deadline" for getting pregnant again.

But that's okay.

Because I do not have to do what I'm expected to do. I did not have to raise a child in order to be a fulfilled woman. I do not have to raise multiple children to have a full, happy family. In fact, I do not have to do anything because I may be judged as "less than" if I fail to meet an expectation.

In the last five years, I've weathered a lot of change. I endured my partner's deployment while I was pregnant and working 12-hour night shifts. I birthed my first child. I left my job as a police dispatcher, a job I loved, to become a stay-at-home mom. I have held down the homefront with a deployed spouse three times in the past four years, and am about to do so for the fourth time. I have moved to a new state four times in the past six years.

It's enough to make anybody hesitate before taking on another major life change.

And yet, I still find myself wishing that I could just take the leap. Wishing that I could dive in, instead of hovering around the edges, piling up insecurities and uncertainties, thinking of more ways that I could fall short—more ways that finally trying for another baby could be a terrible decision.

In the end, I find that waiting has given me some space. It has given me time to really come to terms with my anxiety disorder and to seek treatment to help me manage it. It has given me time to watch my friends move forward in their parenting journeys, and to glean inspiration from their struggles and joys.

Hopefully, I'll look back on this season of my life and say that waiting was the right choice for me and for my family.

But if not, then at least I'll know that I didn't fall victim to outside pressures about something that didn't feel right for me just yet.

Kaci is a bibliophile, writer, military spouse, outdoor enthusiast, and Enneagram 6. Her work is forthcoming with Coffee+Crumbs, Motherwell, and OC87Recovery. You can find her writer page on Facebook.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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