Giving My Child A Sibling Was The Best Thing I Never Planned To Do

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siblings-read-book-on-bedIt seems like the second you have a baby people immediately start asking when you’re going to try for number two. It’s an obnoxious line of questioning since not everyone intends or is even able to try for a second child, but after actually having a second kid, I can understand why some people get so excited at the prospect.

My daughter was an only child for two years, and during that time I spent a lot of energy dodging the “when are you trying for more” question. One child was enough for me, and we were perfectly happy with our little three-person family. My husband was an only-child and he turned out swimmingly. Also, if I’m being honest, the thought of going through pregnancy and the newborn stage again made me want to play in traffic, so that’s I told people: we’re happy how we are and have no plans for more, so kindly pick an orifice and shove your questions into it.

Then, right after my daughter’s second birthday, my IUD failed and I found out we were expecting another. We were apprehensive, but not altogether opposed to the idea, so we prepared for the unexpected and welcome an awesome little boy to our family. The transition ended up being a lot easier than I expected, and even though my daughter would have been just fine on her own, I have to admit I’m really happy that my kids have each other. Not only is my son one of the most amazing little people I’ve ever met, but the whole sibling dynamic brings so many things to our family that I never expected or predicted.

Siblings are built-in playmates and friends. There’s no guarantee they’re going to adore each other, of course, but watching them bond is a really special experience as a parent and they learn so much from one another. Younger kids absorb everything their older siblings do and older kids learn patience and sharing through their interactions with their baby pals. Also, bonus: sibling play takes the focus off mom for about five seconds so she can pee. Praise everything.

Having two kids has also made me a better version of myself. I don’t have as much time as I used to, so I manage what time I do have more efficiently. I focus on quality time with my kids instead of just quantity. I’m also more relaxed and willing to go with the flow. I can’t micromanage our days the way I used to be able to with one kid. Similarly, grandparents and extended family have better relationships with the kids and don’t just smother our one child with affection and piles of gifts, though you’d have to ask her if she really considers that a benefit.

The biggest benefit, though, has just been watching our family grow and change and seeing how strong we are together. I’m amazed at how well my daughter handled the transition to becoming a big sister and I’m really proud of how my husband and I navigated the change as well. I had Postpartum Depression the first time around, so was really nervous about what would happen with our second child. We pulled together and made it work and the experience has only been beneficial.

My daughter’s capacity for love and caring that she puts on display whenever she’s around her brother is stunning and he loves her more than anyone in the world. I have two sisters, so I know the inevitable fights and rivalry are coming. I also know that our family was just as loving, strong, and happy with just the three of us, but when I see my kids together and as I get to know my beautiful son, I really can’t help feeling like we made a great decision.

(Photo: Shutterstock)