WHY DO I WANT ANOTHER CHILD?
This is such an obvious question, yet it needs to be asked. Just because you had your first kid doesn't naturally mean you must have a second.
And just because your friend is having her second child doesn't mean you should do the same as well.
Think about the reasons underpinning your decision. Certainly, you shouldn't drift into this without giving it serious consideration. The decision is yours, after all.
WILL SHE BE LONELY WITHOUT A SIBLING?
There are plenty of children in the world who grow up to be well-adjusted, sociable and happy individuals, without having had a sibling.
Likewise, the same applies to kids who have brothers and sisters. And then there are those with siblings who are fed up with their position in the family.
So there's no guarantee that having a second child will be good for your two-year-old, or that keeping her an only child will make her lonely.
AM I PHYSICALLY READY?
Pregnancy is physically demanding and you have to be sure that you've fully recovered from the birth of your first child.
Take your general health into account. Your doctor will be able to advise you.
There's no harm in ensuring that you and your spouse are in good physical condition, get plenty of exercise and follow a healthy diet.
No matter how many or few children you have, the fitter you are, the better.
CAN I AFFORD ANOTHER KID?
Many parents worry about this more than anything else, and the fact is that raising two children is more expensive than one.
But it rarely turns out to be double the cost, because you have all those hand-me-down clothes, toys and baby equipment from your firstborn, which greatly reduces the financial impact.
Even so, it's worth doing your income and expenditure calculations. But, in the end, few parents make their choice based on purely financial criteria.
WHAT WILL THE AGE GAP BE?
When the age gap between children is around two years, sibling rivalry tends to be strongest during early childhood.
On the other hand, they are likely to become closer during their teenage years.
When the age gap is four years or more, jealousy tends to be less intense because they lead such different lives. But, these are only tendencies, not inevitabilities.
DO I FEEL CONFIDENT AS A PARENT?
You should! After all, you've done a good job bringing up your baby so far.
Many parents worry that while they can cope with one child, they'll struggle to manage two.
Such self-doubt is understandable, but remember that you are an experienced parent this time round, and you are a lot more skilled. Have confidence in yourself.
IS THIS RIGHT FOR ME AND MY FAMILY?
This is perhaps the most crucial consideration. You should weigh all the different factors and think long and hard about them. And, of course, speak in detail with your spouse about whether you should expand the family.
If you both decide that the time isn't right, that's fine. And if you feel that you're ready, that's okay, too.
Whatever you choose, don't worry that you should have done the opposite. You'll make the right decision as long as you decide together.
This article was first published in Young Parents.