Single parent wants second baby.. am I crazy?
January 10, 2015 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Is it weird that I want to have another kid (but don’t want to get pregnant again). Like adopting one, or hire a surrogate (my egg and donor sperm). I am single parent (mother) already. I think I can pull this off financially (We wont be rich, but we wont be poor either). But is it a very radical idea? I am no Angelina Jolie – just your normal average Jane. The world is still a man’s world as much I hate admitting it or observing it. Will I completely blow my changes of ever finding a life partner if I do this. I feel very strongly about adopting and have been thinking about it for a very long time now. Suggestions, anyone? How should I think about this? My therapist strongly advised against it because in her opinion I haven’t accessed the risks of bringing another kid into my life and my daughter’s life.
posted by Spice_and_Ice to Human Relations (42 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, I should add that I do want to share my life with someone with similar values as me. I don't feel incomplete without a man, neither do I "need" someone for whatever reasons. The only reason I would want another adult in my life is if they make it more beautiful and its nice to share the love. I like parenthood. I think I am a good mom.. atleast I try...
posted by Spice_and_Ice at 5:18 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Does your therapist think you're a good mother now? If so, I really don't understand why she would tell you such a thing.
posted by brujita at 5:21 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Why do you want to do this? Who are you doing it for? Adoption is great but it's not about filling a hole in your life; it's about finding the right family for a child in need. Do you feel rushed? Do not rush into this decision. Something about this post reads a little crazed and that's never a good place to make a decision from. You have all the time in the world, and you already have one small child to care for. I think your next steps should be saving as much money as you can, and perhaps looking into the requirements of providing foster care in your area.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:26 PM on January 10, 2015 [16 favorites]

As a man I can say that once you are past 0, any additional children are no more of a hinderance to your datability. In other words, I'd be just as reluctant (or not) to date a woman with one kid as two. If anything, finding out one was adopted would make you more appealing.

I'd have to say going the surrogacy route when not required would be a bigger flag than having kids, but that might just be my hangup.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:26 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh yes, my therapist thinks I am a very good mom. she said I was nurturing, conscientious and resourceful.. those were her exact words... I think she thinks I am not taking fully into consideration other costs (financial, emotional, time commitment.. I don't know... what are other "costs"??).. She thinks that I play a martyr role in my life.. I hold her in very high regard. She is an independent, smart woman. But I don't understand why she is saying what she is saying. But this is not about her. In this question, I am trying to figure out whether what I am thinking is too radical... ? Is it too risky? What could go wrong? Like if I lose my job tomorrow, it would be pretty bad, yes. But I believe I can figure shit out.. Am I being overconfident? Will i scare men away by this behavior?
posted by Spice_and_Ice at 5:26 PM on January 10, 2015

Hiring a surrogate would be a radical move in most people's eyes - it's a legally and emotionally fraught process and is extremely expensive. I'm not sure you have fully considered the costs here, hard to imagine as a single mom you have that kind of money to spare that you don't need for retirement or college costs?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:29 PM on January 10, 2015 [13 favorites]

It really concerns me you are tying "What will men I want to date think?" into this decision. A baby is a person. Don't have another baby until you feel more secure about your love life.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:30 PM on January 10, 2015 [34 favorites]

Do you have a plan in place if you die?

You don't mention what happened to bio-dad #1, but if he's still in the picture, and you have to deal with him, you might want to consider his reaction. Don't let that make your decision, but his reaction will have to be accounted for. You also don't mention how old your daughter is. You might want to get her opinion as well (bearing in mind kids don't get a vote) if she's old enough to articulate one.

I'm a therapy advocate, so unless you are in therapy for a reason that would preclude additional procreation, I can't see a reason why you shouldn't go for it if you have confidence in your abilities and future. Plan accordingly.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:33 PM on January 10, 2015

As treehorn+bunny mentions above, surrogacy is expensive. A friend of mine's wife did this several times and her fee was $30k every time (and that was a decade ago). Looking online it looks like your costs would be about $70k.

Also, all else aside, it's not weird to want another kid.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:37 PM on January 10, 2015

Response by poster: Bio-dad 1 and I are divorced. He is very much in the picture. He provides good care and love for daughter. I think he will find my decision radical (he is old-school), but i can see how he will agree with it in that it will be good for my daughter to grow up with someone (who he doesn't have to pay for.. ha!)..
posted by Spice_and_Ice at 5:37 PM on January 10, 2015

Like cost of surrogacy is $60,000-$120,000 and cost of raising a child is $300,000. So I'd be concerned if you don't have significant assets and you're just saying "I think I could figure shit out." - I think you need to actually work through the costs and what you have to spend very carefully, emotional aspects aside.

If you're asking "what could go wrong?" I suggest spending a good chunk of time reading up on failed surrogacy and failed adoption.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:37 PM on January 10, 2015 [9 favorites]

The thing is, you don't say why you want to have another child. You don't explain how it would enrich your life, your existing child's life, the life of the new child, anything. You don't seem to have the logistics particularly well thought out. That does tend to lend credence to your therapist's suggestion that this may be about your personally being most comfortable in a situation where there's a lot of difficulty in your life, and this new-kid idea seeming mysteriously attractive and glamorous because on some level you know it gets you back to that martyrdom place. To me, it sounds entirely plausible as a reading of the situation, in much the same way that people will couple and recouple with bad-news partners simply because it feels familiar and comforting to be in a situation where there's drama and hardship.

Regardless of how feasible or fair it'd be for the average person to have/adopt another child as a single mother, it's absolutely not fair for you to do that if you're coming from a place of unresolved trauma/personal issues. It's not fair to the new kid, it's horribly unfair to the child you already have. Since your therapist is the trained professional here, I'd be inclined to trust her reading of the situation and say that you need to get yourself right with your own battles before you add still another caretaking responsibility to the mix.
posted by Bardolph at 5:38 PM on January 10, 2015 [10 favorites]

Speaking as a parent with two kids, I was surprised to find out that the challenge of the second kid wasn't the second kid. It was the first kid, again. We knew how to deal with a newborn by then, but I didn't realize that we'd also be dealing with a suddenly-possessive, more demanding and jealous first kid. Which was surprisingly difficult, all things considered.

I'm not making an argument for or against here, just that this is probably something that hasn't been part of your thinking yet, and you should know about it.
posted by mhoye at 5:39 PM on January 10, 2015 [11 favorites]

You wanting a second child is no weirder than a married couple deciding to try for a second. People don't generally ask a married couple why they want to have a second or who they're doing it for or question whether they are trying to fill some unknown void in their life. I don't know you, but if you can afford it, want it, have thought through how your life would change for you and you daughter and planned accordingly, then have or adopt another child.
posted by cecic at 5:41 PM on January 10, 2015 [27 favorites]

+1 to cecic: I don't understand the people who are asking why you want another child. I think we can just accept that you want another child for the reasons people generally want more kids...

I also don't find it concerning that you're worried about how it could affect your dating life. Sounds like another child and a romantic partner are two of your wants in life right now, and it's reasonable to do some thinking about how those wants might affect each other.

However, if your therapist is cautioning you, I'd explore that a bit since your therapist knows you better than we do and is likely cautioning you for some reasons. Why not just ask what his/her reasons are?
posted by sunflower16 at 5:46 PM on January 10, 2015 [9 favorites]

No, I don't think you'll blow your chance of finding a life partner. Sure, some guys don't date moms, who cares? There are some guys who love the idea of joining a family. A single mom of two I'm friends with met her dream man after exiting a terrible marriage and they've just has a third and they're all overjoyed. It happens.

If you want another, have the time and resources, and have planned for contingencies, do it.
posted by quince at 5:57 PM on January 10, 2015

If you work, is your first child in day care? Do you have a nanny? What will be your plan for the second child - the same? That would be my big concern, costs (emotional and financial) of having to finagle it solo. That would be tough for me - but maybe not for you.

Also if your therapist suggested you play a 'martyr' role, I think that is worth reflecting on what she meant and why she said it. That doesn't sound like an ideal trait to have to bring another kid into.
posted by Toddles at 6:01 PM on January 10, 2015

Okay, so honestly, yeah, this would dissuade me from dating you. You already have one kid and now you're a single mom. That is what it is. But on top of that, when your financial situation is maybe low-end stable and you don't know if you can afford to have a second kid, you're making the decision to adopt another kid -- right now. And then on top of that, your concern about doing this is whether you're going to scare me off from dating you, not whether you can afford to do this or how you can come up with a workable plan to figure shit out.

So, I would be scared that you have poor judgment and don't think things through. It wouldn't be the second kid, per se, because either way you would be a mom and dating you wouldn't change tremendously. It would just be that you rushed into something this big and weren't even thinking about or planning for the important practical consequences.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:18 PM on January 10, 2015 [17 favorites]

What about going through fostercare training? You can decide not to get licensed at the end or restrict yourself only to emergency respite care for infants or whatever would work best with your family's situation, but that's a good avenue to decide if you're comfortable working with your local area's state adoption system, or if you would be better going through private adoption or surrogacy (both expensive and with specific ethical issues for you and the child).

Most of the single moms I know would like to have another child, but want to make sure they have a reasonable safety net for both, either from a good support network or a flexible well-paying job. A couple of them ended up getting married to someone they met later on - the right partner is going to be as good with two kids as with one.

Two kids in one family is less physical work and more emotional work than two single children apart. If you and your child feel like there's a gap in your family, a space waiting, then go for it in the way that works for you all - adoption is both about growing your family and being a family for a child who needs one.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:19 PM on January 10, 2015 [6 favorites]

Your therapist knows you way better than anyone here ever could: I think she may have other reasons for recommending against this, and I advise you to search hard inside yourself for what those reasons could be. Logistics are super important, but I have a feeling your therapist may be concerned about your motivations here, i.e she feels you want to have another child for a reason that may not be fulfilled by actually having a child, in addition to the logistical and financial problems over the longer term.

Have you considered if it's another child that you want or is it a feeling, emotional state, or situation your associate with having a child that you want?

What do your friends and family think of this idea? Have you discussed it with them? If not, why not?

If you do consider adoption, please go domestically and consider fostering as well. Those kids need more attention from potential approve parents.
posted by smoke at 6:25 PM on January 10, 2015 [9 favorites]

Also what is your idea of Plain Jane costs? Because I know people who will not have another child because they don't have a million dollars stashed away for college tuition, and people who are like okay, we'll give up going on holiday overseas and a car and switch to public transit because then we can have another kid. I am absolutely biased this way because I was a rich kid in a miserable childhood and chose to have children and live comparatively barely middle class to give my kids a happier childhood - we have way less material stuff and financial security, but (I hope) in general a happier and better childhood overall. You have to look sternly at your budget and decide what matters - we don't go on holidays because we pay for special ed classes and excellent kindergarten instead. If another child would cut the frills, fine.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was a single parent for years, my oldest was adopted, the other two were biological. Their father was irresponsible, but I managed.

I found a lot of men had issues with the idea of raising "someone else's" children. That was completely alien to me, I loved my kids, I loved the kids I worked with, I loved my friends' kids, and thought any decent man should think of my kids as an added bonus, more people to share love with.

I'd like to hope men of your generation (my kids are a little older than you) are more open to thinking that way.
posted by mareli at 6:29 PM on January 10, 2015

Another thought: have you considered possibly sharing a home with another single mother?
posted by mareli at 6:30 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all for your opinions. I'd really like to discuss the emotional aspect of this (as much as financial aspect is important, I don't want to discuss it here, and I recognize the well meaning intensions noted above). For those who adopted kids.. what were some of your challenges? What would you say wish you did differently?

Regarding the dating aspect - someone who i would date is someone i am considering adding to my family with these kids (or kid). I haven't let anyone into my kid's life yet and will be very careful not to let any selfish / scheming person near them like EVER. But even to unselfish / loving men, would you find it daunting that there are two kids rather than one?
posted by Spice_and_Ice at 6:43 PM on January 10, 2015

You might meet someone who already has a child / children, which is quite common. Wasn't it the basis of the Brady Bunch too?
posted by nickggully at 7:42 PM on January 10, 2015

I'm not a man, but I would find it a little odd to find out you had your second kid on purpose, especially through a process as long and drawn out as adoption. The younger the kid is, the more involved you'll have to be with them, so I can see a lot of men not loving the idea of dating someone with an infant. Or you even having the time to date, for that matter.

Also, what will the kids think later about this? It's not like there's too much of a time crunch if you're wanting to adopt, so why would you be doing this now when you're not in a great situation?
posted by Trifling at 7:49 PM on January 10, 2015

I know a single mother by choice with two children. She is exhausted all the time and reports that it is very hard dealing with the fact the she can rarely give either child her undivided attention. Unless you have boundless energy, a well organized life, and a good support network I would be very wary of going down that road.
posted by alms at 8:11 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

I am actually in the process of trying to become a single parent through surrogacy (and hoping to have 2 kids), so I have some thoughts on this. First of all, if you don't have a medical need for surrogacy, I would not recommend it-- as many others have noted, it's extremely expensive, legally and medically complicated, and has the potential for turning into a disaster. But if you really think it's your best option, and you can afford it, then go for it! I would definitely recommend going through an agency rather than trying to match independently with a surrogate-- there are tons of scammers out there posing as surrogates, and the agencies help a lot with the vetting process.

I don't know why some people responding above feel the need to belittle your concerns about dating. This seems completely normal to me, and is frequently discussed in the single mothers by choice community. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. Sure, there are guys who will be freaked out if you have kids-- but (a) those guys would probably be freaked out by the kid you already have, and (b) there are plenty of single dads out there who would be open to dating someone with two kids (and may even prefer that over someone who doesn't have kids).

Have you looked at any websites or books about becoming a single mother by choice? I've linked a couple that I've found helpful, but I would also strongly suggest finding a local group of single moms by choice (is there a Meetup in your area?) and going to some of their events. I've gotten a lot of valuable advice from people I met in my local group-- you'll meet people going through the same process of questioning whether they should do this at all, choosing a donor, a fertility clinic, etc. Good luck, and memail me if you want to talk more about this!
posted by rhymeswithcheery at 8:12 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

This was a comment I made in a long-ago thread about a slightly different topic, but I think the issues re adoption might be useful for you to perhaps think about in broad terms. I have some experience of adoption from being part of a family involved in it and would say that in a lot of cases it is a very hard process for all concerned and can cause lots of stresses and strains in different ways. It can of course pay off in emotional terms very well but it's an often arduous route to get there. As has rightly been said above, it's about what's going to be best for the children that will be the main consideration.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 8:35 PM on January 10, 2015

I checked your posting history to see how old your child was, and honestly it sure seems like you are rushing things! Just ten days ago, OP, you asked a question about finding guys to date you, and you wrote this:

I do feel financially drained (divorce was very expensive), emotionally fraught (kinda hate my ex-husband as he pulled some really nasty moves – like paying my nanny behind my back etc.). I didn't receive the support I was hoping for from my parents. But I don't want to think about the issues

Which makes me think your therapist probably has some basis for feeling you are taking on too much and you know, maybe you haven't thought this through as much as you should.

You only got divorced a year ago, and your first child is just around two years old, right? This seems like a really impulsive move right now. What's the hurry?

You have gone through several seriously stressful life events recently: Moving, divorce, a new job, an infant daughter to care for on your own. You and your daughter could probably both benefit from less stress in your life. I don't know if she is even toilet-trained yet, but if not, that's going to take some of your focus, too.

On top of that, you were looking for someone to date again just ten days ago. how do you see that plan and this one working out together? Do you plan to date while you are going through the (very expensive and time-consuming) surrogate process?

I urge you to give this more thought, because it does sound like you kinda want everything right now and may be biting off more than you can chew. And I would ask yourself why you feel the need to do this NOW. You may have been more affected by the divorce than you realize yourself.
posted by misha at 9:32 PM on January 10, 2015 [29 favorites]

Being a single mother of one child that you share custody of is nothing compared to being a single mother of two children, one that you have full time. How does that play out? Sister gets to go and have a dad while brother stays at home feeling rejected? The kids get the flu-one week apart. That's two weeks off from work, three if you get it. And child #2 may have special issues that will be an added struggle for a single mom. I'm a single mother of 3 and they out number me. It is exhausting. I've lost jobs because I've had to take off too many days for sick kids. It is a lot of work. I love my children but I see how they would have benefited had I had a co-parent in the picture (he's opted out). There is never enough money or time for much of anything. I don't see any real benefit to you carrying out either plan.
posted by myselfasme at 10:01 PM on January 10, 2015 [13 favorites]

Also two years post-pregnancy is the classic baby-fever time. It is totally normal to go through baby fever right about then, which explains why so many siblings are 2-3 years apart, and the good news is that it generally wears off in a few months and you stop dreaming about onsies and cribs, and can think more logically about having another child. Try to not be around other babies or pregnant women and remind yourself that this is a transient emotional thing and it will pass or at least become manageable.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:05 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

There is something a little odd about someone asking if they should adopt a child while including this line in the post: But is it a very radical idea? I am no Angelina Jolie – just your normal average Jane. Why is your self image/esteem even being broached here?

Is it a very radical idea: I don't know if the term radical makes sense, but taking the legal and moral responsibility to raise a human life is one of the most serious duties one can take on in this life. So yeah.

The world is still a man’s world as much I hate admitting it or observing it. Will I completely blow my changes of ever finding a life partner if I do this.:
The fact that you are weighing the impact this will have on your dating life and desirability is a bit disturbing. It is almost like you are resigning yourself to be without a relationship and are filling that hole with children- making yourself feel wanted and needed by having children- is that fair to those kids?

You say that you have felt very strongly about this for a long time. Part of growing up is learning that merely feeling strongly about something is not a basis for making a life altering decision.
posted by incolorinred at 11:03 PM on January 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

But even to unselfish / loving men, would you find it daunting that there are two kids rather than one?

As J. Wilson points out above, it is not the issue of there being two children rather than one, but of a woman who decided to go through a complicated financially and emotionally draining process of having another child on her own when she already had more than enough on her plate to deal with. To a "reasonable person" it would look like you didn't have really good judgment.
posted by deanc at 11:32 PM on January 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

Single mother of two here: having two small children was infinitely harder than having one. I would not recommend it at all.
posted by mumimor at 2:23 AM on January 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

If you adopt, what are your plans for talking with the child over his/her lifetime about his/her birth family and relinquishment circumstances? Do you live in a state or country that provides adoptees access to their original birth certificates and adoption records? Would you engage in an open adoption and allow some level of access--or encourage an ongoing relationship--between your child and his/her birth family? What are your thoughts on parenting an adoptee?
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 2:55 AM on January 11, 2015

Put it all on hold. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you wait a year. Let your daughter grow up and become more independent, get more used to being a single Mom, get your routines established, get your finances more stable (they can always be more stable.)

This is not something you need to rush into right now. When you're caring for your daughter and living your life, think about how having another child might impact what you're doing in the moment. So when your toddler is throwing a fit in the grocery store, how would having an infant, or a baby, who may also start wailing make you feel? When you're strapped for cash and just barely have enough to cover toilet paper and fresh fruit, think about what it would mean if you had to buy diapers or formula.

If you can't wait a year, if this desire is burning such that your ability to delay the gratification is such that you feel like you need to run out and start pricing the process,'s for sure not a good idea.

So wait a year.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:04 AM on January 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

To second rhymeswithcheery, join SMC and post your questions on the forum board. I can think of a few members that either had or were thinking of having a second after having their first with a partner so it's not an unheard of circumstance. And everything that's been brought up regarding here has been or can be discussed there with other women who used some combination of pregnancy, surrogacy & adoption to create their families. Many of us have or will be having two and while it may be difficult, we think it's worth it or we wouldn't have done it.
posted by bluesapphires at 8:45 AM on January 11, 2015

Mod note: This is a response from an anonymous commenter.
For those who adopted kids.. what were some of your challenges? What would you say wish you did differently?

I also am a plain Jane and I am raising my adopted son by myself.
It took 18 months from the time I started the process until the time we had a child placed in our home - a healthy domestically adopted child. I spent at least a year before that reading everything I could on adoption issues and talking to people who had adopted or been adopted. Then after placement it is another year before the adoptin is finalized. So please don't hurry the process.

Why do you think having a sibling would be good for your daughter? There is literally no evidence to support that in regular families, let alone adoptive ones. My son turned out to have severe mental health issues and a learning disability despite a very thorough search for the right child for our family resources. And yes I love him, but it has been very stormy and very difficult and financially draining. Do you want your child to grow up with a sibling who is suicidal, violent, has age inappropriate behavior, acts out sexually, can't ever be left alone etc... Don't say well that won't happen if I get an infant. You never know... and many social workers are thinly stretched and highly rewarded for not finding out too much about the kid.

In addition, I had the challenges of dealing with a bureaucratic system where once you adopt your level of your support drops drastically. The post adoption services are spread thin and consist mostly of basic parenting classes (don't hit the kid). There are shortages of psychiatrists and therapists who work with children. And forget trying to find a dentist if your child when your child is on Medicaid for that first year.

The one thing I wish I did differently: I wish I had a supportive close at hand family, lots of friends and neighbors who would help out, a local group of adoptive moms to talk with, my own therapist to talk things over with, and a safe religious community. In other words, if you don't have a really strong support system in your community, that will have your back - please do not adopt.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 AM on January 11, 2015 [11 favorites]

I think it's unreasonable that people are criticizing you for thinking practically about how this decision may impact your likelihood of finding a partner. These are both important parts of your life, and it only makes sense that you're thinking about it. Don't let the holier than thou make you feel shitty about it. That said, I really don't know the answers there.
posted by namesarehard at 9:53 AM on January 12, 2015

OP, you're 33. You have plenty of time to add to your family later. There is no rush.

I wonder if the fact that you so recently left your marriage, 17 months or so ago, is possibly making you think about the what-if scenarios of the path not taken -- now would probably be about the time you and your former husband would have been contemplating having another baby, had you stayed married.

Give yourself some time to really think this through from a healthier place of rational maturity. You've framed this question in these dramatic terms like "Is it weird" and "am I crazy"? I agree with ThePinkSuperhero that "Something about this post reads a little crazed and that's never a good place to make a decision from." Stop. Breathe. You really do have loads of time to have another biological child - and there is obviously no time deadline on pursuing adoption or fostering.

You should definitely take your therapist's advice, and continue your personal work with her on your martyr issues. Figure out what she's telling you. Face that head on. It will be so beneficial to your 2-year-old daughter if you do.

Your financial situation is very concerning to me. This and your prior Ask read like you are maybe trying to convince yourself that you are more financially confident and job-secure than you really are. Again, you don't seem to have fully thought this through. And yes, you are ignoring some financial risks here.

You say: "I think I can pull this off financially (We wont be rich, but we wont be poor either)."

Wrong on the second count. You don't know that you "won't be poor." None of us do. Look around you -- most of us 99%ers are one major health crisis or job loss away from financial oblivion. Single parents are even more at-risk. Research backs up what I am saying. Single parenthood is one of the greatest predictors of poverty, even moreso for women. You can't say for sure that you "won't be poor." That's wishful thinking.

From your last Ask just a few DAYS AGO, you said the following:

* You "got laid off last year,"

* You "want to do fun things on weekends," [not going to happen as cheaply and as frequently when you don't have a co-parent with whom you share custody]

* You "feel financially drained (divorce was very expensive), emotionally fraught (kinda hate my ex-husband..." and

* You didn't receive the support you were hoping for from your parents.

Seriously, NONE of the above statements bode well for you as a potential single mother of two. Nope. But say, a few years from now, when you're a little more mature-- after you've been in your new-ish job for awhile, and have saved up a lot of money, and have a better sense of how your family will actually be helpful to you (or not!), and have a better sense of what your dating life and your weekends look like - then, and only then, will the new baby dream of yours begin to sound like a reasonable, loving, and thoughtful idea.
posted by hush at 11:51 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

My wife gave birth to our second child a few weeks ago. Our first is 3 years and a few months old, and I will second mhoye said upthread: most of the trouble with having two children comes from the first. When we had one kid, my wife and I agreed we had a new appreciation for single parents. Now that we have two, we don't know how anyone does it without a really great support system, which it sounds you don't quite have right now. Two kids in diapers, the second capable enough to cause trouble if she's in a grumpy or cantankerous mood. Two children to feed, one who eats every 3 hours. Two different bedtime schedules, with the baby waking up throughout the night.

I'm lucky in that I can go to work now. My wife doesn't go back for a few weeks, and when our second kiddo is gassy and fussy all day, my wife can be at her wits end. The bad days and long nights can strain our relationship, and we're at a good place otherwise. Trying to date while juggling a newborn and a 2 year old sounds like another set of unknowns to throw into the already chaotic mix. Can you make it work? Sure. Might it be easier if you wait a year or two? Most likely.

My parents adopted a 6 year old girl from Russia when they were in their 40s, when I was 16 and my brother was 13. It was easier in that she was a capable little person, my brother and I doubly so, not babies or toddlers who needs to be cared for 24/7. But my sister had to learn English, and might have some minor learning disabilities (we're not sure what her mother did while she was pregnant, but she drank and used drugs later). My sister was a handful as a teenager, but has grown up pretty well at this time.

From that experience, I still support adoption, but think it can be a challenge to throw that into the mix, moreso than a child of your own. Just like the anonymous poster pointed out, even a fully healthy child can have surprises down the line, moreso if its an adoption, because you don't know the full family history.

But all this said, I also recognize the appeal of having two kids, and of having a baby again. Our first kid can be loving and wonderful to his baby brother, but has also tried to sit on him, not realizing his own weight and how fragile a new baby is. And I love my second kid -- it's a joy to have a baby again, but it is also SO MUCH WORK. Our world revolved around our first son's schedules (eating, napping, eating and sleeping), so our social options are limited by those confines if we want a relatively well-behaved child. It's getting trickier with the second, and we find it much easier to stay home as a little family. But you are looking to form new relationships, or at least one new relationship, through dating.

Lastly, on the possible issue of being something of a martyr, please talk to your therapist about this. I say that because it makes me think of my mother. She puts everyone before herself, until she reaches the breaking point, then she can lash out or at least get angry that no one is considering her. There other ways to play the martyr role, and none of them are positive or healthy in the long-run.

As an attempt to summarize my scattered thoughts: a toddler and a baby together are a lot of work, and can be an emotional, physical and financial drain, especially on a single parent. You're young, and unless there is a particular reason to do this now, I'll echo the crowd who says wait a year. You've had some significant shifts in your life, and it sounds like you're still trying to find out how everything will work for you and your daughter. Have fun with her, and on your own. Find your new normal, then think about disrupting that with another child, through surrogacy, adoption or fostering.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on January 15, 2015

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