Growing up, the thought of having children was something that I truly never questioned. I was baby obsessed from day one and longed to be a mother from very early on. My childhood drawings often depicted toddlers waddling around, sweet happy family homes with little ones aplenty. And I did my best to convince my cousins and friends to play dolls and house with me until I was far older than I’d like to admit. For the majority of my life, I pictured myself with no less than four babies of my own. And the moment I found out I was pregnant (here, if you’d like) I felt as if my deepest desires and greatest wishes had been granted.
So when my daughter’s second birthday rolled around and the urge to procreate once more was still absolutely non-existent, it threw me into a bit of an identity crisis of sorts. The thought of being responsible for yet another life – a second child – felt literally impossible. I was, admittedly, still not sleeping for longer than three hour stretches at a time* – something that has since been resolved, but definitely not forgotten. And for a really long time I convinced myself that maybe we were just one and done.
It took me months to come to the realization that the two (ish) age gap between children was a concept that had been entirely societally projected onto me. And that maybe, just maybe I wasn’t completely done, I just wasn’t ready for a second child yet. The relief that washed over me when I decided to undo everything that I had been pre-programmed to believe was immense. To allow myself the gift of daydreaming about what life could look like with a four year age gap, a six year age gap, and heck, even a ten year age gap instantly felt so much better on so many levels.
It seems silly now in retrospect, but it truly never really occurred to me that we could talk about having another when my daughter is ten, if we’d like. And that there would be pros and cons to any and every age gap.
Though we still don’t know if a second child is for us – there is so much to be said for having just one and doing a really phenomenal job… I feel so much peace from taking the pressure off of this arbitrary timeline I didn’t even realize I was holding onto. I love the idea of simply seeing how things unfold.
All that said, one thing that I do find helpful is to picture our distant future. How many people do I see sitting around our Christmas dinner table? The reality is that the baby years are so short and fleeting, so to make a permanent decision based on a couple of potential hard years is something to be considered. After all, we will know our children as adults for far longer than we’ll ever know them as children (both heartbreaking and relieving all in the same breath.)
When I last casually mentioned a few of my thoughts and fears on Instagram stories a few months ago, I was inundated with people who were in the same boat. So if you, too, find yourself on the fence, I encourage you to do some digging. Try to figure out what’s yours, and what’s not. And give yourself some time and space to simply not have the final answer at this very moment. The not knowing isn’t particularly easy for me, but I will tell you it’s a whole lot more peaceful.
*My daughter, bless her soul, was a really terrible sleeper – she never got out of the newborn phase, waking just about every 2-3 hours every night until just after her second birthday. It was rough. But we made it and live to tell the tale!
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You do you. It’s as simple as that. For those important decisions we make in life, there are pros and cons. Only you will know when to take action or not…go with your heart.
You should do EXACTLY what you want to do!!! You are fabulous!
Thank you for sharing! I was also in the same boat. My younger sister pregnant with her second right at the two years a part point. I felt a lot of pressure, knew I wanted so badly for my daughter to have another sibling but I just wasn’t ready yet! Now, I am in my third trimester due in April with my second. There is a five year age gap and I am leaning into all the PROS of that! The timing finally felt right and we are so excited! Post partum was hard with my first, I navigated extreme fatigue and thyroid issues that weren’t present before. My body and mind needed time to heal so that I was healthy and ready for baby #2. Always listen to your intuition Mamas! Xx, Emily
There are no rules! Glad you are doing what works for you. My husband is an only child and was raised to not be self focused/selfish so it can be a good thing.
You can write your own rules! Just enjoy your time with Ivy until you are ready!
Well, IMHO, it’s all about the sleep. I couldn’t fathom having a second until my daughter was solidly sleeping through the night (18 months old). My kids are 31/2 years apart and it’s been so great. My daughter wasn’t one bit jealous when her brother was born & wanted to help with everything. They played so so nicely together when he was a toddler because she was more mature. They slept in the same room & loved cuddling each other and she would read to him. The extra years between them was wonderful for our family. Every family is different and hopefully you will find your ideal spread.