My partner and I have been on the fence about a second child for some time. As our first gets closer to turning two, we still don't have a plan on whether we're “one-and-done” or wanting to add another.
Covid-19 has only made our decision-making more difficult. It can be scary thinking of parenting in this climate. Worrying about our daughter's safety and return to daycare is a daily struggle.
I worry about sharing my time or attention with another. Since I've been at home while she’s out of daycare, we've grown closer.
While we’ve been very good at managing our finances, Covid could change that at any time if either of us loses our job.
What should parents consider when family planning in these strange times?
Should we be more cautious than usual or use different criteria to decide if it's best to have more children?
Get Pregnant in a Pandemic?
Yes, in different and difficult times, some things require a careful look - not a frightened one - at what’s really “different” and what aspects of family planning are not.
Look first at the big picture: Worrying about having a second child during your daughter’s infant months, then while she’s still under age two, isn’t unusual.
Two babies are constant work; two children are workable, albeit still busy.
Together, share the picture you each have of what family life looks like… over the years, not just for now.
Being so close with your very young daughter reveals your patience and love. Nothing suggests you won’t give those same gifts to a next child.
But COVID-19 has also created an immediate picture to consider, involving practical considerations, not a grab-bag of anxieties.
First, is how you’d handle a pregnancy. If you’re healthy, had an uncomplicated first pregnancy, choose to go the midwife route (and if it’s available to you where you live) you’d have less likelihood of hospital-based appointments.
That might make you less worried about a pregnancy during these times.
As for finances, anticipating a job loss when things are going well, is just muddling your mind further.
When it comes to the future, I’m all for hope and positivity. Scientists world-wide are working towards a vaccine, which, if and when proven safe, will be the key to ending the pandemic.
One fairly realistic estimate (ignoring the hype of miraculously quick results) is 18 months.
If that’s a time-frame that feels less scary to you for getting pregnant with a second child - or deciding to raise just one - go with what you two can handle.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the former “normal:”
“After two-plus months of not letting anyone get close to my partner and me, everyone wants to be in my face.
“A spa that I once frequented has offered a series of facials - where the practitioner may be as close to my eyes and mouth as a dentist or eye doctor, both of whom I need more.
“A clothing store where I previously bought mix-n’-match items has emailed a discount offer, though I’ve come to enjoy being in my sweats, perfect for working from home and also for taking walks, both necessities.
“The restaurant that we once frequented weekly is offering takeout, and though we’d love for it to stay open, we feel leaner and clearer on the home-cooked vegetables and proteins we’ve relied on, without rich desserts.
“Adjusting forward, instead of back may provide us the few benefits wrought from necessity, during this cruel pandemic.”
My neighbour, 82, widowed years ago, has had seriously compromised health issues in the past. He lives alone. His one son visits him every two weeks or so.
Other neighbours who’ve lived in this area much longer than me, say that his son’s been having an affair with someone who visits him at his place (she’s married, he’s not), throughout the “lockdown.”
That isn’t my concern or business. But I’m worried about his passing the virus to his father who stays socially isolated to avoid COVID-19.
Talk to the Son?
Never act from gossip. Phone/email your neighbour twice weekly to see if he needs groceries, or just a chat.
If you detect sadness, increased loneliness, or any hint of illness, contact his son.
That’s a genuine opportunity when the son might realize he should consider whether he’s doing his best to help his father avoid the virus and survive the pandemic.
Tip of the day:
Family planning discussions should include future hopes, positive thinking and current realities.