To Have That Third Baby or Not?

Updated on December 08, 2014
K.L. asks from Cleveland, OH
19 answers

My husband and I have gone back and forth about a third baby for a long time, usually with me wanting one and him not. I finally gave up on the idea a few months ago and don't ya know, right about that time he decided he wanted another one?? Now I'm not so sure. Here are our concerns: finances- we would need to pay for 3 days a week daycare, and down the road would send to Catholic school. Just starting to feel comfortable in our finances and feeling like paying for high school/college and actually retiring one day might be possible! Ages- I am 37, he is 41, our kids are 9 and 7, so we would all be, well, older when this little one would be born. I'm thinking that when this child would be 30, my husband would be 72- yikes!! Lifestyle- we like to take a yearly vacation, and usually hit an amusement park or take the kids skiing once a year. Nothing crazy, but stuff we enjoy. How much would this little one affect that? I guess that's about it, so I am just looking for thoughts on making this really big decision. I come from a big family and have always imagined having more children. Thinking about the joy another child would bring to all of us and all of the positives makes me lean toward it, but I don't want to overlook the practical stuff. Always get great advice on here, so thank you!!

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answers from Baton Rouge on

With one half grown, and one halfway to teenhood, there is no way I would even consider another one.
But that's me.
I never wanted a second after my daughter was born.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

So they would be 8 and 10 or even 9 and 11. So this baby would be more like an only child. Yes the older ones would love her, but by then they will have their own lives. You will want to do things the little one would want to do, big kids won't be thrilled. Vice versa. A lot to think about.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

A few hard-nosed things to consider; not warm fuzzies but some factors to look at objectively:

If you and he were truly both on the same page it shouldn't have taken this much back-and-forth already. The wavering so far indicates you're both not really together on this. And that's an automatic no, to me.

Your kids are old enough that an infant will rock their world in a way that would not happen if they were much younger. Toddlers or preschoolers won't remember life before a sibling came along; your kids will, and while they may just love baby, they also have more reason to resent baby. Sure, it can all work out. But you need to think about your kids' personalities and needs and how introducing an infant to kids who will be eight and 10 is going to affect them. If either of your kids needs extra from you -- just extra attention, or a medical or developmental issue, or academic issues, or other help -- the baby will of necessity draw that attention away.

Your kids are also old enough that if they don't already, they will very soon have a ton of activities -- things that they themselves choose to do and which reflect their own budding individuality. These things may seem trivial to you compared to a baby, but to kids, these things matter and are remembered. You and dad will simply not be able to get to the field trip, the scout camping trip, the dance recital, the school concert or play, the sports event, etc. Yes, you can tag-team stuff but I have to be blunt: I know a couple of families with three kids and in each case the moms have mentioned how they feel the baby drives everyone's schedules, and the moms feel the older kids miss out on things, and certainly miss out on having parental presence at a lot of events that are meaningful to the kids. The dads work and work more once the third baby came along, too, so they're around less, not more (this depends of course on each family so it may not happen to you). I hear a lot of "I love all my kids but boy, the third was the hardest because there was so much more juggling after the third came." The word that comes up with all of them is "juggling."

Having "always imagined having more children" because your own birth family was large should not factor into this. Your kids' relationships as siblings will not be the same as the relationships you had with your own siblings -- different personalities, different place, different time, and different parents. If you have glowing memories of your siblings, bear in mind those are your own memories and don't transfer to your kids' experiences. They could be the best of buddies, but don't assume they will be.

Finances are a very legitimate consideration. Are you prepared to send three kids through private school and college too? Even with a gap between child two and child three, will schooling leave you and your husband unable to retire fully until you are so old you can't appreciate being retired? Will you be financially able to handle any potential health issues you and your husband might have later in life? And are you prepared -- hard question here -- to raise the kids alone if something happens to your husband? Is he ready to do the same if something happens to you? Insurance money alone isn't the issue; is each of you ready to take on three kids 10 years apart alone if need be? You do have to think about these possibilities to be realistic. In the joyful thoughts of a new baby you have to be able to be objective about things like future health, educational costs and other hard-nosed considerations. The effect on the older kids and your relationships with them is crucial, to me.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think finances are a very real consideration and certainly a reason to decide to leave your family the size it is.

Granted, you have to decide what feels like "done" for you. We chose to have our son and call things good and a BIG part of this was financial. We wanted our son to have not just a roof over his head, but a future which we could at least help with. Age was a bit less of a factor-- while Kiddo was wanted, he certainly wasn't a planned pregnancy: I was 36 when I gave birth, my husband was 44. My husband will be 62 when Kiddo graduates.

We are glad that we had a lot of living behind us before having our son and we haven't felt like we 'missed out' because of him. That said, now at 44 myself, I'm tired a lot. I can't imagine having the level of energy my own son needs plus enough for a night-waking baby. And for us, our house would be hard-pressed to accommodate two children comfortably. Our lives would be similarly impacted, both with the financial burden and the energy and space and effort another child will bring.

So, I'd encourage you to really dig deep and do some soul searching on this. If your financial situation is starting to feel stable,that's a good thing. People often say "have the baby and then you'll figure it out"... I've seen firsthand how faith in that idea has rarely ever led to abundance, just overwhelmed parents. You will know what's right for you-- I really can't decide that. I can say, with certainty however, that I feel confident that having less children and leaving them with less of a burden in dealing with *my* aging and elder care is far more important to me than having more kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You're in a sweet spot right now.
Why upset the apple cart?
In 20 years you'll be enjoying grandchildren and having fun spoiling them.
Are you ready for another set of stretch marks, sleepless nights, breast feeding, colic, diaper rash, doctor appointments, and juggling an infant in between what the older kids are doing?
There's no guarantee siblings will get along and if they don't then there is no peace until they grow up and move out.
You MIGHT be able to get pregnant at 37 or 38 but not everyone can.
Relax and enjoy your family as it is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have 3 but your kids are at a great age so I actually say no. Urges will pass. Starting over is massive. I now am limited in what I can do bc of my toddler. Love her to bits but if I were you, I would definitely sail into the sunset!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

One reason we didn't have 3 is I work and I couldn't imagine having enough time after work to provide sufficient attention to 3 kids. And we had a nanny so didn't even have to pack them all up every day. I also thought of finances and we would still have been able to pay for all colleges but it would have put a bit more pressure on financially. Until college, of course, we'd be spending a lot more money in general than if we had 2. Activities, potentially private HS as well, airplane tickets etc. So I wouldn't if I were you. I only would have if we were so wealthy I could stay home AND have some help and plenty for retirement and anything the kids need. I may be too worried about money but if I had a 3rd, I'd also want to make sure I had enough time for all the kids and honestly I don't see how that can happen with 2 FT working parents and 3 kids. Even 2 is stretching it. Besides that, no way would I want to go back to having to work around naps and the youngest not at all being able to participate in what the older ones are doing. Like we ski a lot. One of us would have to stay back for years before we could all ski together again. And I had 2 healthy children. I wasn't pushing my luck in this day of so much ADD and autism. Finally, I am ok replacing ourselves but not adding to the population. Most people say they adore their 3rd and are the light of their lives bc of course they say that. I'm sure I'd love my 3rd child unconditionally too but the parents sure seem to complain a lot other times how hard it is... I have a friend who does almost admit he wishes they didn't have a 3rd. His child is not that healthy and it's not easy. He says how much easier it would be if they had stuck with 2. Of course he loves his son but still.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

I, too, was on the fence about a third. When we moved overseas and would be there for several years I asked the question and hubby said no. So I thought that is fine and went on to do other things. Later he deiced he wanted another but by then I was out of the baby mode and was not interested in going back to night feedings, diapers and the rest.

There are a few times that I wish the third were around but it is only a fleeting moment. The two we have are healthy, grown, and self-sufficient. I do not miss not having the extra. Besides if you do have the extra all of the things you like to do are on hold for another 14 to 18 years. Do you really want to do that? Perhaps I feel a bit selfish but having kids should not put you in the poor house. Put the extra love an attention in the kids you have and into your husband and enjoy what you have and not worry about the "what if:"

the other S.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

No. I have 2, a 15 yo and 12 yo. My second marriage came with my step dtr who is 18 spec needs and now lives full time with her mom but until this year we had her for the last 6 years. However, adding that 3rd kid changed everything. You need a bigger car, bigger house, "family packs" of everything don't work since they are usually for 4, not 5. And of course it's another cost for everything. And my opinion is your 2 are too old now to add a 3rd, the gap is way too much. JMO. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I was 37 and my husband 41 when we had our son. My husband's kids were 14 and 11. They weren't around all the time but even so I consider my son to be a "single" and not an "only" child. It's not about what's missing - just my opinion. If you're healthy, 60 and 70 aren't so old anymore - not like when our parents were "ancient" at that age! A lot of women are having children well into their 40s, and a friend of mine found herself unexpectedly pregnant (after years of being told she couldn't have children) at age 47!

Vacations - we went to hotels or resorts that offered babysitting or had a kiddie program so we had time with the older kids. We also took turns with one parent staying with the little guy and the other taking the older kids on a ride that wasn't kiddie friendly. But the older kids also like building a sand castle and doing the things they remembered with fondness, and they liked having an "excuse" to do something juvenile with their little brother. They also learned that they could, and should, learn to deal with helping out sometimes. We've also found that you can often rent a house and take a neighborhood student along as a babysitter. The sitter gets some time on the beach, sure, but when you want to go to the amusement park or out for dinner, the sitter stays home. We also know people who take their dog along, saving all the money on kennel boarding, because the sitter helps with that. You have to know the right person, of course, but it's doable.

We took our older kids to Disney when the little guy was 9 months old - one of us "wore" him in the Snugli and we had the stroller. We hired a sitter several afternoons through the Disney hotel people - believe me, their people are screened and insured. She put our kid down for a nap, or we did and my husband took the older ones to the pool. Then the sitter came later and we headed out for a "real" dinner and the bigger rides, and she played with and fed and walked around the grounds with the baby in the stroller. We wound up staying in touch with that sitter and using her "privately" on s future trip. Most other resorts we chose were family-oriented with either some "camp" programs for the kids or some off-duty wait staff happy to get extra money sitting with a baby during our dinner. We aren't wealthy and we weren't going to high-end places, just places suited to families with an age range in the kids.

The finances are real considerations of course. Another college tuition (even though no one can afford college anymore anyway so it's all about loans!),plus private school tuition, and day care expenses, plus buying the stuff you got rid of (car seat and stroller etc.) - all that adds up. We also found we could spend money on good shoes but use a lot of hand-me-down clothes from friends and resale shops, toys from yard sales and books from the public library.

The main thing is, do you feel content with the family size you have now? Does it feel complete? How do you feel as a woman when you think of yourself as being "done"? Will you regret this? Or are you really feeling that your needs can be met with what you have and will have, rather than with another baby. As always, if you need help, sit with a counselor for a few sessions to help clarify things and feel that you really thought it out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

When you see a newborn, does your heart ache? would you feel completely unfulfilled if you didn't have the third? My heart ached when I was yearning for my 2nd. I have two boys now 4 and 18 months... I knew I was done, when I see newborn babies and my heart aches no more...I'm also happy purging the house of baby things. We look forward to moving into the next phase of our lives with the kids instead of feeling "stuck" in baby land forever. I'm 42 now and my husband just turned 40. We can't wait to vacation without needing to bring baby gear! :)

But if you and your husband are on the same page and want the third, then just DO IT. There's never going to be a "good" time. Finances will eventually work themselves out. But if there's any doubt, don't do it, find closure and like us, enjoy planning out the next phase of your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

There's not any valid reasons listed here to say you shouldn't have a child if you want one. I say go for it.

There are hundreds of thousands of grand parents raising grand children right now in our country. So age isn't a factor anymore.

Age doesn't make a parent and older experienced parents make better parents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

LOL. Hubby and I did that back and forth thing for 1.5 years. He wanted the third, I'd be like, no way, and then I'd want the baby, and he'd be like no way.

At 40, we both decided to just do it, we didn't want the "what if" haunting us.

My other two are younger, almost 7 and 5, and the baby is now 21 months. I stay home a lot while the others go to the movies, judo class, étc. Someday it bothers me, but 99% of the time I am amazed by my little one and blessed beyond words to have her. Yes, it's an adjustment, but one that all of us are very happy we made. They big kids adore their sister. I love watching them out on her shoes, help her get food, etc. It's an amazing thing to witness.

If you feel it, you know. Just listen to your heart. When you are done having kids, you feel it. I know I'm down now, and even though I'm exhausted chasing a toddler at 42, i couldn't imaging it any other way. In fact my on,yo regret was wasting so much time pondering more kids. I wish I had 5!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I totally am with you on this! After my daughter was born, I was so on board for another. My husband said he was done for now. Of course now that she's a (very spirited, into EVERYTHING) two-year-old, I'm starting to come around to the "done" side. Every once in a while, I like to entertain the idea of a surprise little one, but then I think about needing a bigger car, shuffling kids around to fit in bedrooms, etc. and I realize that two actually works right now and three might just feel like too much.
It's hard though, when you've got two amazing kids not to want more!
Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Mom of 3 with a career like yourself. If your asking what my advice would be! Going from 2 to 3 kids is HUGE. From childcare to cars to vacation everything is way more expensive and complicated. 2 kids is very manageable 3 or more full time us chaos. And all the things Mel R said too. A third kid adds a whole new dimension of juggling and more time required away from the office too. It is overwhelming most of the time and mine are close in age I can't imagine adding in a baby to the mix.



answers from Chicago on

I had my first 3 at 28 1/2. And then 9 yrs later, my 4th. 3 1/2 yrs later, a 5th. Last 2 were a surprise. I sometimes tease my older kids that since they will be all done with college (for the most part if they pursue further studies) they can pay for the youinger 2. ;) The older ones do help out. The only time we skipped vacation to a beach was the first year for . I am the one that takes care of them. If we go somewhere to do something, we take turns caring for the younger 2.

We have had financial difficulties recently and sometimes i do think--if we had not had one or both.....But really, I don't regret either. The only thing one of my older girls gets mad about is that sometimes she takes the youngest to the park and gets nasty looks because people assume he is her child, not her brother.


answers from Chicago on

With the ages of your kids, I would say no. I have to agree with everyone who has said the baby would feel like an only child growing up. By the time he or she turned 10, the others would be off in college and out on their own. It would definitely cause a big financial strain as well. Childcare 3 days a week for the first 4 years and then Catholic school. I have 3 kids in Catholic elementary school and it's over $10,000 a year! As for vacations, sure it would impact that in a big way. You or your husband would be sitting with the baby while the other one was off with the older kids. Good luck with your decision!



answers from Duluth on

Because of the mention of Catholic school, I am going to make an assumption that you are either Catholic or at least of Christian faith. If so, then you would be best off praying about this and asking for the grace to do what is His will. One of your last sentences "thinking about the joy another child would bring to all of us and all the positives makes me lean toward it" speaks the most powerfully to me in your post. It sounds like in both yours and your husbands heart, you are open to the possibility of the gift of this new life. Put your trust in The Lord and I promise he will sustain you! Finances and life situations are always changing, but the Lord is ALWAYS the same. And He will always be with you, especially in times of need and suffering. When you truly surrender to Him in your heart, you will see that these seemingly difficult decisions will become much easier.


answers from Cincinnati on

Our 3rd was not planned! We were done @2...
Yes it was a big change from 2-3 but I feel it was LOT easier than going from 1-2!!! If you have it in your heart & financially can swing it then
GO FOR IT... Pull the goalie from the net and see what you're blessed with ;)

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