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The destructive power of the second child

on 20/05/2013 2558

Majority of the married couples out there will agree with me that having a baby is truly a blessing and the most fulfilling experience one can have. Irrespective of the difficulties that we face during the first few months, there are many married couples who are eager to have another baby soon.

If not now, then when? Soon after having the first baby, there are many couples who think that they have already got the hang of it and are ready to go for the second one. For some, having two children is the perfect fit for a ‘happy family’ portrait. Even traditionally a second child is seen as completing the idea of a ‘happy family’.

But contrary to this misconception, various research and studies in this area has shown that even the strongest marriages are susceptible to the pressures of second-child syndrome.

Recent studies involving 31,000 wives and husbands by San Diego State University researchers found that the marital satisfaction for young couples today plummeted 42 % further after the first baby compared to that of their own parents. With each child added to the family, happiness dipped even more.

The second child, according to Susanna Abse, director of the London-based Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, is in no way to be blamed personally. But their arrival - especially if they are born soon after the first can often be a tipping point for a relationship that already has cracks.

Candlelit dinners, weekend breaks replaced by sleepless nights, fights over whose turn it is to change diapers along with shortage of cash… all these harsh realities become less appealing and leach the fun out of a relationship. Besides, having a second child is not just limited to lack of sleep, but also signifies more responsibilities, no time for emotional and physical intimacy, very less leisure time and also less discretionary income.

On top of that, life completely changes after the second child. It’s not just about handling the new born but also focusing on the first one who may experience various kinds of emotions such as excitement, jealousy or even anger.

Most of the energy begins to drain out of the relationship and especially if the children are problem sleeper. It is difficult to synchronize the sleep schedules and it adds extra stress on parents. According to the Channel 4 survey reports, three out of ten couples who had split up said sleep deprivation since having their child was a factor in their breakup.

After the second child there are many cases where the woman actually loses sight of who they are. Their life starts revolving around the kids and the concept of intimacy with their partner dries up greatly.

In fact up to 70 % of new moms say their marital satisfaction dropped dramatically after the child birth. It thereby causes the couples to drift apart, spelling marital disaster.

Also, your partner might feel that you are pouring all your love and kisses for the kids but not for him. It is also known that half of all married couples end up in divorce due to not having enough time for one another.

Also, it’s a fact that majority of the marriage relationships do not end up just because of the apparent reasons of cheating or violence. Even though they may lead to the climax, marriages generally end up because the couples gradually grow apart from each other.

It is based on the simple logic, the more time you spend on children, the less time you’ll have in order to focus on the well being of your partner and marriage. Irrespective of whether you have been couple for years or just got married and wanted to have a baby quickly, the idea of skipping from couple to a family life is really challenging. It’s even more challenging with the second child around because now you need to sacrifice a lot and devote yourself completely to parenthood.

You can still manage when you have one kid but when it comes to two it’s indeed a rough transition. Now you have to completely transform yourself from relaxed parents of one baby to exhausted, edgy parents of two children. It can damage both sides, as men tend to become childlike, withdrawn and even to the extent of having affairs; whereas the women will start to feel frustrated, angry and abandoned.

Everybody loves their children and it’s indeed one of the most fulfilling experiences once can have. But we have to understand that the very best thing which we can provide to our children is a good relationship with our partner. This will provide our children the love, emotional and financial security, as well as the values that they can emulate us. Don’t you think your children will be happier and feel more secured to see you sharing a strong bond with your spouse?

Each and every couple or family is unique in its own way. There is nothing to be correct or incorrect, but only about what’s the best for your family.  Always remember when there is love, mutual respect, and honesty in your relationship you can overcome anything- and then only you decide whether to raise single child or a family full of kids.