Family, Pregnancy

Sibling Spacing

January 21, 2016

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When Ainsley turned 9-months-old, the questions about baby #2 started to roll in. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but that sounds a little early to start talking about the (hopefully, God willing) next baby, doesn’t it? I mean, I’m still calling myself a “new mom” and still very much feel like a new mom in so many ways, and people are wondering if I’m thinking about round two?

Like most women once they’ve had a baby who starts to grow away from baby and closer to toddler, I get nostalgic for those sweet newborn cuddles, itty bitty clothes and everything that is so very tiny and sweet about a new baby. I see commercials with babies on TV and I oooh and ahhh about newborns because let’s face it, they’re so incredibly cute! (See example, below)

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I joke quite often that I vacillate between wanting to have 10 kids and wanting to only ever have one kid depending on how the day is going. But these very real questions about baby #2 have me thinking about if there really is a good time to start thinking about the next. The answer, I’m sure, is that there is never any perfect timing in life and eventually you just have to do the dang thing, but I’m pretty certain that having one baby has made me even more terrified to have another. Knowledge is power, right?

The truth is this: Our family has now fallen into a pretty good rhythm with Ainsley. She sleeps well, naps (fairly) well, we’re becoming more mobile and enjoying all the things that we couldn’t enjoy with a very little baby. Each and every day she gets more and more fun and my enjoyment for motherhood grows with her.

But when I think about those first few months I get a little sick to my stomach. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because after two miscarriages I’m so very thankful to have the opportunity to be a mom. However, those early months were so much harder than I could have anticipated, and going back there scares me to death.

Since Ainsley didn’t nurse I was stuck in the most awful cycle of exclusive pumping and multiple midnight feedings. I would feed Ainsley a pre-pumped bottle of milk, then put her back down and pump for the next feeding. It took so much time and energy and drained me emotionally. Next time around if presented with the same situation I think I would give myself permission to throw in the towel right off the bat.

And then there are those awkward first few months that come with the postpartum body. Anyone who has been pregnant knows what I’m talking about, right? Between the night sweats, the ever-changing sizes and the clothes that don’t fit and more, it’s just so very awkward. Now that I’ve finally gotten back into shape even thinking about doing it all over again is giving me pause.

We’ve always said we think we want a little more space between our kids, but I can see the obvious benefits to having your kiddos close together in age as well. And while it’s ultimately going to be a personal decision from family to family, I’m curious to know: How did you decide when the right time was to have another baby? How did you decide on spacing and age gaps? 

Madison

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10 Comments

  • Reply andreabrogle January 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Oh I hear you about having a bit of fear! We had our first after 3 years of trying and two miscarriages and didn’t even think about number 2. For the reasons you stated and because we needed a little assistance in the process from Doctor’s and neither my husband nor I were ready to take that on again. I always tried to remember that God had the timing down right. We think we can plan for things but it’s always His timing and He surprised us with our second when my oldest was 2. I was terrified and felt the coming hardship of a newborn and didn’t savor the moments as I should’ve. But God’s been good to give me the help I have needed and the strength to persevere and the rest for the day and has changed my heart from frustrated (over His seemingly wreaking our easy days with just one) to full of love and joy for these two little ones. Joy over your children doesn’t always happen naturally or as you think it should…But the hardships and sanctification we have experienced after two children has definitely been rewarding in the end…and we’re still in the throes of it (3.5/1). God knows your family…the size, the timing, your heart and He’s good:)

  • Reply CJP131 January 21, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I swear every time you post a baby related topic it takes all the jumbled thoughts in my head and puts them (in a much more eloquent way) onto paper.

    My daughter is just a few weeks from her first birthday and we get asked about number 2 ALL the time. Before having our first I was so set on having kids 2 years apart but for many reasons now I would like to space them out a bit more. For one we are really enjoying our daughter now, and selfishly I want more time with her before introducing someone new to our family and having to divide the attention! For another, I had her in winter and for my sanity, I think the next baby I would prefer to have in any other season! It would be nice not to be completely snowed in for the first 8 weeks. Finally, physically, I’m still not where I want to be. People laugh when I say I want to lose weight before having another baby – but I want to have the healthiest pregnancy I can for the next child and if that means losing weight and getting back into a workout routine first, then I need some more time! Ultimately my Husband and I have said we would try when our first is a few months shy of 2, meaning at closest they’ll be about 2.9 years but it doesn’t always go as planned so for all we know the next could take longer!

  • Reply Britt January 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    My husband and I got pregnant very quickly with trying for #1 and my husband wanted to start trying for #2 when my son was six months old. Now, my son has just turned two years old and we still aren’t pregnant. Gosh, I have learned that if God wants you to get pregnant you will get pregnant. If it was up to us we would have had them closer and I’ve had to surrender that to the Lord and trust His timing.

  • Reply Kelsey LaValle January 21, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    There are 2 years and 4 months in between my first 2 kids and then 2 years and 5 months between my 2nd and 3rd. It took us longer than we thought to get pregnant with #3 but like others are saying, God knows the timing even if we want something different! I definitely enjoyed the spacing between my first and my second. You’re experiencing everything for the first time- especially that first year and I wanted that time with just my first instead of trying or worrying about being pregnant again. We’re done having kids now but if I were to have more, I would space them closer together just to get it all done!

  • Reply Martha January 21, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    We have a 7 year old and a 6 year old boys. They are 18 months apart. Not by choice but due to a premature birth with our second. It is certainly more stressful in the beginning, going from one child’s needs to other… Then back to the first one. There are advantages though. We moved out of stages quickly and they had each other to play with. They’re best friends!

    They are in first grade and kindergarten. The homework at school is about the same so we can do it all together versus me having to spend double the time helping them. The boys are at the same level in swimming lessons so, we can put them in the same class versus two separate ones… (Time saver!) When it comes time for sleep away camp they will be able to go the same week… Which means we get to take a VACATION! When we take family trips their ability level is about the same so, we don’t have to plan activities that one of them won’t be into just because the younger sibling can’t do certain things.

    I thought I wasn’t gonna make through at times during those early years. The small age gap can make life hard and stressful, but now that they are older I really like it.

  • Reply J. Johnson January 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    The week I went back to work after having our first, I was offered and accepted a new job. After going through a year of this new job, I started to think about another baby, and it seemed like if we could have another one in the Spring, early Summer, it would have been a pretty good time for me to leave my job for a few weeks. We were also kind of on the tail end of our group of friends for having kids, and after seeing how some of them spaced their kids out and the relationship that was happening between those siblings, we decided to try for another one to see if our kids could be about 2.5 years apart. I often looked at my relationships with my siblings along with my husband’s (I have 3 older-the closest is 7 years older, and one 4 years younger; my husband has one brother who is two years older) and I didn’t always have the best relationship with my siblings because we were always going through such different phases. My husband and his brother have an amazing relationship because they shared so many experiences growing up. For us, this just seemed like the right time and I feel like God put those thoughts on our hears because that’s exactly what happened. We now have 2 boys, 2 years and 4 months apart.

    The first few weeks after #2 were some of the hardest of my life. It was hard for #1 to adjust to sharing our attention, I was recovering from my 2nd c-section, I was trying to balance pumping throughout my day (p.s. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I only pumped through the night for the first 2 weeks. After that, I went to a 4 times/day schedule so most days I only had to figure out how to pump once while my hubby was at work and if baby slept through that 6 hr stretch, so did I.), and battling exhaustion from adjusting to running after 2 kiddos instead of 1. I started getting into a routine though, big brother started embracing little brother, I learned when/how to ask for help, and things just started to fit.

    I think there are always going to be challenges whenever you decide to change your family dynamic. Everyone has to make adjustments and sacrifices. So if you feel like the time is right, or that God is leading you in a direction, follow your heart.

    Your thoughts of wanting 10 kids one moment, and one the next totally resonated with me. I love soaking in those moments at every stage. However, I will also tell you that after having #2 and experiencing some of the things we have this year, my heart is perfectly content with staying right where we are. Should God’s plan see otherwise for us, we would be overjoyed, but we are just fine staying right where we are too. =) Good luck!

  • Reply Jourdan January 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Here’s the deal, as you know I’m sure, we don’t get to decide when that baby will actually come and also I think it just depends on both the baby and toddler’s personalities (and the mom’s too possibly) how easy/tough it seems. We started trying a little after our daughter turned one for our second, but experienced some secondary infertility and two miscarriages. Though we wanted them closer, ours ended up being almost exactly 3 years apart. It has been nothing short of amazing and the most wonderful experience. I felt the same way about the newborn days with my first, simply terrified to have another. However this time I think you’ll find yourself so much more relaxed about things and just enjoying everything much much more. I do think it was much easier to have them 3 years apart as our daughter was able to do so much on her own and has loved playing the big sister role. However, I think we’ll try to have them closer again next time! All this to say, its hard to know what will be best for your family, you just have to remember God has it! I could not have imagined a better plan for our family (though it was hard to see during certain times), He knew so well what He was doing and I am so thankful for His sovereingty!

  • Reply Natalie Borton January 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    We’re right there in the same boat as you, Madison! We definitely talk about baby #2 and are planning to wait a bit longer in hopes of a 3 year age gap between the kiddos. But of course, sometimes my hormones and mind get the best of me and I get paranoid that it’s going to be difficult to get pregnant, I’ll have a miscarriage, etc. It’s just a reminder that we have to trust God in it all, I guess!

  • Reply Allison Thomas January 21, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Lots of love to you! We got pregnant with Rory when Lark was 14 months and I was scaaaaaaared. I remember those same feelings of thinking about the early baby days and just dreading it. The girls are just over two years apart and now I love it. I did struggle with post partum anxiety after the second baby and, though I am thankful for how God worked in me, it was hard! The comments of ‘another baby’ are fewer after number 2, but they still come. Having kids is a leap of faith, that’s for sure! I love how God plans our story. Rory is how old Lark was when I was pregnant again, and I do NOT have the baby fever I had then. You’ll *sort of* know when you’re ready again. Prayers to you for peace and guidance 🙂

  • Reply Heather Disarro January 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Our boys are almost exactly 3 years apart and I really love that spacing between them. It gave us time to figure out how to parent and gave W time to fall into a rhythm and learn to be a little more independent before a second came along, which helped enormously with nursing and figuring out how to raise a newborn (again).

    The only thing is that I hope the age difference won’t be TOO much of a gap as they get older. As in I hope that they will be able to play together and be close friends as well as brothers, which might be hard during the preteen/teen years if the gap is too large.

    The reality though? Is that we’re not really in charge of any of it. I say if you guys think you might want to start trying again soon(ish) then just enjoy being together (wink wink) and let God do His thing 😉

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