Baby Love: Are You Ready For Another Child Or Is the Shop Closed?

My blog homie Britni Danielle, who holds it down lovely over at Clutch (my online Bible for all things young, black, smart and feminine), has been putting in work at BabyCenter, where she blogs about motherhood. I’m so very proud of her work there (and super happy that someone thought to add a mom of color to the massive blogging line-up that, until Britni joined, included only one non-white mom my homegirl Kimberly Allers Seals of Occasionally, Britni gives me a heads up on her writings, and yesterday, she hit me up on Twitter with this:

The comments are heating up. What do you say? Ever feel pressured to have more kids?

She was referring to a piece she’d written on BabyCenter, in which she declared that her son would likely be an only child, not because she’s not physically capable of having a second baby, but because she doesn’t want to have one. In her post, “Ever Feel Pressured To Have More Kids,” Britni writes:

Growing up, I visualized a house full of kids. I’d picture myself whipping up meals, while my children made mud pies in the yard, or I’d think about corralling them into the minivan for a family road trip. When I pictured my ideal life all those years ago, I never thought I’d be the mother of an only child.

Until he was born.

After having le munchkin I realized just how much work and energy and love and money and emotion and attention went into raising a child. And when I think about the amount of time I spend with my son, I can’t imagine trying to divide myself up between other children.

Her post came just days after the New York Times magazine ran “Unnatural Selection, a cover story on the increase of women choosing to terminate half of their twin pregnancies. One woman profiled, Jenny, said she aborted one of her fetuses because she and her husband already had grade-school-age children and she knew that adding twins to the mix would have made her a horrible mother capable of giving the new babies only half of her attention and half of her love. “This is bad,” she told a reporter just before a doctor aborted her fetus, “but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have.”

Both articles left me reminiscing about the decision Nick and I made to have our second child; we loved our baby, Mari, and wanted to have another child not just to give Mari a sibling, but because we thought it was prime time to add to our family another beautiful baby. She was wanted. And made from love.

But by the time Lila arrived, Nick and I were thoroughly exhausted; my second pregnancy was kinda rough, both of us were working full time and writing books and freelancing to keep a roof over our heads and money in our nanny’s pocket, and Nick was traveling four hours each way every other weekend to visit with his son from his first marriage. The stress was overwhelming and, as much as we adore babies, we knew Lila would be our last. Basically we couldn’t emotionally, mentally, physically or financially afford another child.

Let the comments section on Britni’s BabyCenter post tell it, and there are a lot of moms who feel the same way, particularliy in this time of recession, where paychecks are hard to come by and the cost of caring for kids is astronomical. And while I was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a woman working so hard to have a baby, only to abort one of the twins she carried in her womb, I respect the decision of the mother in the New York Times story to do what was right for her family just like I did with mine.

But I’ve got a confession: Some days when I see mothers with their little babies and I get a whiff of that sweet smell and feel their baby breath on my face and their wiggle in my arms, I reminisce about my girls when they were little and kinda wish for one more. Easy don’t get it twisted; shop is closed. We won’t be birthing any more babies this way. But every once in a while, I do feel that itch.

What about you? Do you ever feel pressure to have more babies? Or just want another? (Feel free to answer here, but make sure that you show Britni some love by checking out her story on BabyCenter and diving into the comments section over there.)

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. My husband and I were talking about this the other day. We just had our first child 8 months ago and she’s been such a joy! I’ve always wanted two children, but right now, while I’m in the throws of my new life as mommy…I don’t know when I’ll feel ready for another one!

  2. I have a 2 1/2 year old and I really don’t want another child. I feel bad because my husband does, but he told me he’s okay with only having one. I’m a sahm right now, and I’m so looking forward to going back to work once my daughter starts school. Also, I was raised in a large family, and felt like I never got a lot of attention that I needed/wanted so I look forward to giving my daughter all of my love and attention.

  3. After my daughter was born, I swore I was done having children. Except I didn’t take the necessary precautions and 3 years and 3 months later, my son was born. My children are an absolute source of joy and delight. I completely understand not wanting additional children. The amount of energy, vigilance, and love it takes to raise a child is overwhelming. I’ve learned that God has given me exactly what I needed and exactly what I wanted (even if I didn’t know what I wanted). However, 2 children is my max, and this time precautions have been taken.

  4. Both my partner and I have one child each from a previous marriage/relationship, and although his son lives in another city with his mother, we are firmly on the “we’re done” train.

    This is not a popular stance, as we are “still” young, and don’t we want “a baby together?” No. We don’t. Right now we have the exact number of children we can afford to support comfortably- my ex-husband and I can hold the Princess down with lessons, school expenses, vacations, and Mister supports and regularly travels to see his son. We’re good.

    Kids are expensive period, and the same folks who complain that you only have one are the same folks who would you at you crazy if you asked them to babysit on the regular. No no ma’am.

    Although I feel you on the “baby smell” trickbag- that “new human smell” can make your ovaries flinch a little if you breathe it in too long lol.

  5. Its so weird because I want a daughter so where deep inside. Like a yearning. But I do not want anymore children until I have a Masters in hand. I also do not want a baby. There a cute and all but I had three boys and two miscarriages, one of which was a lost twin…and I’m done filling up my womb.

    I’d much rather adopt a pretty brown girl to add to our brood. So in the meantime, my boys get old enough to be a help, I finish school and we dream about our little brownie waiting to join our clan.

  6. I feel the same as Nicole. I am the oldest of six and always felts pushed aside with each new sibling (I often joke that siblings are overrated). Me and hubs were married 9 years before we had our daughter exactly two years ago. We agreed I’d stay home until preschool. I just turned 35 and, honestly, I cringe at the physical rigors of pregnancy. we are leaning toward not having another baby. People tell us we are wrong to raise a single child, but no one is offering the resources to help us with #2. When all is said and done, it’s a personal decision for each individual family.

  7. I’m content to have one. Our son turned 3 in April and it’s tough work being a parent to a toddler. Between birthday parties, play groups, basketball and tumbling, I’m exhausted. I also work full-time and volunteer. I’m 36 and my husband is 38. I told him I am willing to try again when the baby is 5, but not before. People are always telling me that I need to go ahead and have another one now, so they can grow up together. I tell them that once they give me $30,000 in day care costs for the first two years, that I would be happy to try. They usually shut up at that point. Let me say this…there is no real growing up together with siblings. I am the oldest. My sister is 3 years younger than me and my brother is 9 years younger than me. I spent my childhood helping to raise my siblings after my parents marriage ended. We were not friends. I was a substitute mother. I don’t believe that you should have more children believing that growing up together will be good for them. My son is content being an only child who gets to do everything. My sister has 2 kids and my niece and nephew always comment at how my son is lucky because he has everything they don’t. It breaks my heart each and every time. If God sees fit that our son remain an only child, then we will be happy with the blessing that was given and not worry.

  8. My husband and I just had our second daughter. Our girls are 15.5 months and 2.5 months old. They are both such wonderful, blessed joys and I am completely content with just the two of them, but deep down my husband always wanted a son and also always envisioned a family of 5. He always stated that he wanted 3 kids even before we started having babies. But given the timing of the birth of the girls, I can’ imagine having a 3rd child any time soon. Perhaps in a 3-4 years I’ll be mentally/physically/emotionally ready for another child, but I always envisioned my children being no more than 18-24 months apart in age, so I really don’t know if another child is in our future…

  9. I’ve always said I wanted to have more than one child. Being an only child myself, I didn’t want my son to be like me (that’s a whole other post, lol). I was so young when I had my son, unwed, and unsure of the future. Still, the thought of having another child crossed my mind often.

    The one thing that has helped me deal with only having one child is the fact that we come from a huge family. Even I didn’t completely feel like an only child because I always had a host of cousins around me.

    Today, I am always watching my little cousins and calling them my own. While it doesn’t replace the feeling of being an actual mother to them, I am okay with not having anymore children. I’ve put up the CLOSED sign on my shop for now, but I may just flip it.

  10. D,

    first of all THANKS! i love you, i stan for you…the end.

    Now…i feel you. When i see babies I get the SAME itch. They smell soooo good, and are sooo soft, but then they grow up and need tuition and shoes (good lord, THE SHOES!) and everything in between. I’m not ruling out another child all together. I’m fairly young, but the older le munchkin gets, the more I think the shop is closed. And I’m ok with that.

  11. My shop is closed! This issue comes up often for me because, despite the media’s desire to portray single black men as rampant “baby daddies,” I tend to meet men without children. So then the questions become “well, what if you are really in love?” or “well, what if you get married?” None of that would change my feelings on the matter. I have two children and that is plenty. I love babies and I would have no problem dating a man with children, but me giving birth to another child is just not gonna happen. In the words of LL Cool J “never ever, no never.” For those women who want to have a gaggle of kids of all ages, more power to ’em. I’m just not one of ’em. I even blogged about it!

  12. I have different feelings than most of these comments (though I completely understand their point of view). We have four young children and I love it. I might, just possibly, have wanted more if I were younger and circumstances were different. I’ve struggled with that closed sign; I wish the “done” feeling came more easily to me.

  13. I have been conflicted about this since I had my son 4 years ago. My partner has two older kids, so he doesn’t want more. My reasons are mostly financial. Day care is expensive. Clothes and shoes just get more costly the older he gets. I will admit that having one child is much easier. I can give him more time and energy. There’s no one for him to squabble with. In addition, I was 40 when he was born, so age is a factor. So barring some miracle, the shop is closed. But I’ll always wish I had been able to have at least more.

  14. You know, I’m just sick of other people judging folks about their reproductive decisions! If a woman only wants one, who is anyone else to question that decision? If a woman wants five, who is anyone else to question that decision? I want to have more children, and I am constantly almost berated by people who are questioning that decision, asking how am I going to do it, saying that things are already perfect with a boy and a girl, saying that I haven’t yet finished my PhD – but who asked you?? Not that you have to be any of these things not to be questioned, but I’m Master’s educated, on the way to a PhD and JD, have been married for over 5 years, and my two children are well behaved, socially adept, and intelligent. I don’t ask anyone for any thing, outside of the help we all need as mothers, so I say to everyone – don’t tell me and my husband whether its okay or not to grow our family as we see fit. That should go for all women and their choices about the number of kids they do (or don’t) want.

  15. My kids are exactly 13.5 years apart and with the youngest being 6 and the oldest being 19, I figure that age gap means I am done. I am officially perimenopausal and sometimes I think a 3rd would be great but my 6 year old is two handfuls. So circumstances have pretty much decided for me though sometimes I yearn for a 3rd.

  16. I would love to have another baby, however, I’m already on my knees with one. I adopted my son four years ago and have been ready to expand our family for about a year. There’s a catch: while I cherish the times we’ve had solo, the next child will arrive (natural or via adoption) with his/her daddy in tow. As Britni and other mother’s know, child-rearing costs – emotionally, financially and physically. Kudos to those who can juggle more than one child, alone.

  17. And to Britni, I can’t wait to read and follow your blog on BabyCenter. That’s a tough nut to crack. Congrats!

    I blog about adopting as a single woman of color at We’ve got to tell our stories!

  18. My hubby and I are both 43. My son is 22 years old is the father of a pretty baby girl, age 13 months. I adore her with all of my being, but I still want to adopt a child. My shop is closed to childbirth, but my heart is open to rearing another child.

  19. i’m on the other end of the spectrum – i have 2 children, a girl and a boy – they were born exactly 2 years and 9 days apart and people can’t believe i want another one – i always wanted a large family – originally i wanted 5 kids but i just turned 39 and i doubt i’ll be popping out 3 more children – as it is, i’m doing everything i can to talk the husband into a 3rd

    i will never understand why people feel the need to comment on the life choices of others – i respect people who love children but don’t want any of their own – it’s probably one of the least selfish decisions one can make – the world is filled with people who should have never had children and had them for all the wrong reasons – and as far as being “one and done” – we’re already an overpopulated nation, why are we guilting people into having more?

    how about we all have the children we know we can love and support and call it a day!

  20. I had two pregnancies (therefore 2 babies) and we adopted our youngest from Ethiopia. I was one of 4 growing up, and felt like my mother was all stressed out all the time. So I promised myself that I would NOT have 4. Nonetheless, there are times where I look at our beautiful babies, and think “maybe one more!” But the thought of another pregnancy…makes me reconsider!

  21. I love my little girl and sometimes I think how nice it would be to have a little boy but I just can’t go through morning sickness again. Delivery only lasted 24 hours or so, morning sickness seemed to last forever…lol..

  22. The shop is closed, but I have mixed feelings about it. While I don’t want another child, I don’t like knowing that this is it either. If I could do it over and life circumstances were different, I would have had a 3rd child.

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