Saturday, 30 January 2010

Mind the (age) gap.

I recently posted about my want (need?) for another baby, and lots of kind people said lots of nice things, and in particular several (Chic Mama, Expat mum, Potty Mummy) said that I wasn't too old, and that I had plenty of time, and should just leave it a little while until I'm out of the baby thing, and see if then I really want another.

But the thing is although I know I'm not too old (despite recent purchase of anti-aging cream - aargh!), I don't feel as though I do have the time. In fact, I feel as though if I'm not pregnant in the next nine months, or year at the outside, I'll have missed the boat, and it'll be too late.

Why? I'm not nearing the menopause, there's no biological, or other, clock ticking away, surely I've got plenty of time....? Well I have, but I've also decided that I want this baby, if there is to be a baby, before A&S turn 2 1/2.   Which means if I'm going to get pregnant, I really need to do so in the next year.

Is this ridiculous?  Certainly A&S actually arrived sooner than we had intended (got pregnant quicker than we expected and then they were born at 36 weeks (this is standard for identical twins at our local hospital)), so there are just over 19 months between L and S, and just over a minute between S and A.  I suppose if I'd been able to pick and choose I'd have had a gap of about two and a bit years between each of my children.  Why? I think probably because that's what there is between me and my siblings, so it's what I know. 

So I have this feeling, or maybe a fear, that if I let there be a bigger gap than that between them, particularly in view of the fact that L and the babies are so close in age, that the hypothetical baby will be a tail end charlie, a little loner, tagging along at the bottom of the family, always struggling to keep up.  Or that I will find that having got all three of my girls to a stage where they are a bit more independent and I can occasionally read the paper or have a cup of tea in peace, I will resent a baby for being needy. 

So I'm asking: what is the "right" age gap?  Is there such a thing? And if there is a big gap in your family, how does it work?  And how was it going back to tiny babies and nappies after a big break?  Are my worries totally unfounded, or is there a grain of truth in my fears?

16 comments:

  1. Oh lordy, there is no right nad wrong in this. We had planned a two and half year gap between the boys and ended up with a fifteen month one (well it took ten years to get maxi)!

    The thing is, it is all I know. people say I have my hands full, but I wouldnt have it any other way and if things had been different, we would have been well on the way to a 4th now!

    I do agree though that a large gap can make for a harder time. 3 and half years between me and my bro and I hated him as a youngster

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  2. there is 18 months between me and my sister then another 3 years to my brother and then my youngest sister is 10 years younger than me.

    My relationship with my brother and youngest sister are definitely better than with my first sister- we were just too close in age when we were younger and clashed over everything. I think it's nice to have more than a school year in between. It makes it less competitive. Maybe- that's just my experience.

    Can't imagine having a 10 year gap with my own though it would feel like starting all over again!!

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  3. Awww, you've got to do what YOU feel is right. There is 19 months between 2 and 3- I personally wouldn't choose to do that again and those two fight the most. I loved having the four year+ age gaps between 3 and 4 and then 4 and 5 because it meant I could indulge myself in baby cuddles virtually all day whilst the next one up was at school. It was a selfish thing. Boys one and two have 2 years 11 months and they really get on, have similar interests etc...
    Good luck whatever you choose. xx

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  4. I think 2.5 years is good, it works quite well with my first two. My sister is three years younger than me which was always ok too. My brother is seven years younger and for some reason I'm closer to him. Maybe it's less about age gaps and more about personalities? As for planning the age gap between our children, there was no planning!

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  6. "A big break"? Come on. You're talking months, not years.

    My friend has just had a 5th baby (unusual in UK, I know, but not that unusual in my part of the US). Her others are aged between 5 and 13. I think that baby will have a lovely childhood, just because of the lovely welcoming family she is born into.

    There are no rights and wrongs when it comes to age gaps. For every downside, there is a compensation. And it's so mixed up with gender, personality, etc etc. We aimed for 2 years between our first two, and ended up with 3.5 years, and then liked it so much that we went for similar between our 2nd and 3rd. I now think that 2, or 2 and a bit, is a difficult gap. Younger than 2 seems good (too young to remember not being the youngest and older than 2 seems good (a bit more mature, out at preschool, not so threatened by new baby). But as I say, there's no right and wrong. You're thinking now about babies and toddlers, but your kids have their teenage years and adult lives ahead of them. Honestly, a few months isn't going to make much difference. I think it's more to do with whether you really want this or not.

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  7. I know what you are going through - I am the same. I have just under 2 and half years between my first two (28 months). It was what I was aiming for, but when I got pregnant I spent the entire pregnancy agonising over whether it was the right gap. It's turned out well and I'm really happy with it.

    I'm now thinking of having a third and I wanted a smiliar gap - which would mean me already being pregnant but I'm not even trying yet. I realised that I'm just not quite ready and I think I would struggle with a newborn, so we're going to wait another 6 months and then start trying - aiming for a 3/3.5 year age gap between the 2nd and 3rd.

    But I do worry that the gap will be bigger than I'd ideally like, particularly the gap that there will be between my 1st and my 3rd. But I am also happy that I will be able to really enjoy the 3rd as my 1st and 2nd will be a bit more self-sufficient - and let's face it, it's not that big a gap. I hope by leaving it a little longer, we will all enjoy it rather than just get through it!!

    I have 2.5 years between me and my older brother and 5.5 years between me and my younger sister. If anything, I'm now closer to my sister and we did play together a lot when we were children - if anything it extended my childhood as I'd happily play with her until I was 12/13!! But I wouldn't want quite that much of an age gap for my children. We weren't close at all when I was in my teens/early twenties as the gap was just too big then. But I think personality has a lot to do with it - my sister and brother are close despite a 7.5 year age gap, as they are very similar people.

    It will work out whatever you decide.

    S x

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  8. Whoa, sorry for leaving such a massive comment!!

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  9. There were 4 years between my sister and I and we did not get on at all until we were late teens. this was the reason I wanted mine relatively close together (2 years apart). Also i wanted the baby stage out of the way and some nights of unbroken sleep at some point in the near future. I am happy with the age gap we have and the fact that they play together, and having the second when the girl was 2 seemed to leave no resentment on her part - i doubt now she can remember a time when she didn't have a brother. so it worked well for us. But you need to do what you think is best for you and your family and if you and your body are ready to get pregnant now or if it better to wait.

    Yeah, so basically no help at all there from me really. sorry.

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  10. For want of a better opening comment, it's an interesting conundrum to be in and , as you say there are pros and cons.

    I just have a couple of comments:

    1. You're 'only' 33 and complications generally only arise in 'geriatric' parents and you don't fall into that category, not by a long way! Therefore you've got time to see how you feel about having another baby/babies (sorry...)

    2. Having ID twins does not increase your chances of conceiving twins again but you already know that!

    3. I only have twins and the thought of another baby (as lovely as my girls are) made me send hubby off for the snip! I admire you for even contempating the idea!

    I'm not going to be any help either :)

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  11. I think there are pros and cons to age gaps, and if you are lucky enough to be able to fall pregnant according to plan then it comes down to what is important to you.

    There is two years and one month between my sister and I which I think is perfect. Close enough to be able to play together, but far enough apart that it's not too tough on the parents. It's what I would do if I could.

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  12. I don't think there is a perfect age gap. We had 19 months between our two and I'm not sure if the small gap contributed to the problems we had with the pregnancy ... possibly not but it might have

    I still would dearly love a third, my family doesn't feel complete but I need a break, need to have some time when I'm not breastfeeding or pregnant and so any discussion around trying is deferred until Babygirl is 1 so we will have a bigger gap next time around

    All sizes of gap work out ok in the end - perhaps get out of the baby phase and see what happens ?

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  13. i'm 34, have a 20mo, am not pregnant and am definitely stressing about the gap being too big (assuming i can get pregnant again). i think small gaps are brilliant but i was nursing so much i never stood a chance of getting pregnant. plus it took a while first time round. soon i'll start stressing that i'll never have another... it's all tricky!

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  14. We keep thinking about it. 19 months between my 2 boys. There would then be a gap of 4 years to the next one. I'm not far off 38. I haven't changed a nappy in a year. We sleep through. It is nice. But it is now or never for us, so we need to make our minds up!

    I like having 2 so close together, they fight but they will be doing things together. Not sure whether a third for me would feel a bit left out? Who knows. Such a personal decision, do what you think is right for you and your family. big hugs. xxx

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  15. Thank you!

    Jo and Heather both say they're not going to be much help, but they and all of you have been more help than you could possibly have realised...

    B and I had a day off on Sunday. My sis came and sat on the girls and we went out of London and had lunch in a pub, and a walk along the river, and we talked about the stuff that matters.

    And it appears that those of you who said "shut up you stupid woman, you've got plenty of time, and whether or not this baby does or doesn't get on with the girls will have nothing to do with the age gap and everything to do with its personality" (or rather kinder words to that effect) were right.

    Because it turns out that B too had read all of your comments, and that he isn't anti another baby, what he's anti is another baby in a terrible rush, "we must have it in the next nine months or else the world will come to an end...."

    And I've realised, reading all your thoughts, that you can't plan these things, and that my (and BinB's) worries of a little one being left out will or won't be true because of lots of factors that I can't possibly predict now.

    So I'm going to get off the case, leave the baby as a twinkle in my eye, and relax. Just for a minute.

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I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

So please do. Comments are great...