I’ve literally gone from one end of the spectrum to another with my boys born just 14 months apart and my daughter born 8 years later. Both age gaps have brought their challenges and triumphs, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
We’d not long moved into what was going to be our family home, chosen for it’s big garden and close proximity to a good school when we found out we were expecting. It was a little sooner than we’d planned, but we were truly over the moon. Elliott was born in March after a positive birth experience and the months after seemed to fly by.
Rob and I had always wanted more children, but we certainly were not prepared for me to become pregnant when Elliott was just 5 months old! I remember getting the metallic taste in my mouth and thinking uh oh. An appointment was booked to see the nurse and she took a urine sample and confirmed I was pregnant. The tears flowed and I thought how the hell am I going to cope with another baby when Elliott was still a baby himself. It seems silly now, but I was so totally in love with Elliott, I even wondered if I had enough love for another baby. You absolutely do of course 🙂
We decided to find out the sex of the new baby as we wanted to prepare as much as possible. We kept Elliott in his nursery, in his own bed and in familiar surroundings so we didn’t upset his routine and went on another shopping spree to buy another cot, more bedding and look at double buggies!
Luckily we were expecting a baby boy so we didn’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe and seasonally the clothes seemed to work really well.
In the later months of pregnancy I found it really hard to play on the floor with Elliott and felt incredibly guilty, but we got through it. The cheeky afternoon naps definitely helped. He was such a good boy and I was so lucky that he was in a routine for me to be able to get some rest. I’m not sure what I would have done if he wasn’t sleeping through the night.
Joseph was born the following May and was such a dream baby. Maybe it is because he was my second baby and I was a more confident mother or maybe he was just very relaxed, but he quickly got himself into a sleeping pattern and slotted into Elliott’s daily routine. He was more than happy to sit in his bouncy chair whilst I helped Elliott with things and Elliott was mesmerised with him from the very beginning so wanted to include him in all his games he played. There were definitely days I felt like I was either feeding, rocking a child to sleep or changing a dirty nappy and I still remember Rob coming home from work knocking on the patio window with me spoon feeding Elliott his dinner in one hand and bottle feeding Joseph his milk in the other. There was of course no dinner prepared for us!
As the boys grew, things definitely got easier and easier. It was without a shadow of doubt hard work and although we didn’t plan to have them so close together we wouldn’t change anything for the world. I think we even managed to eliminate sibling jealousy, that I know some parents can experience when a new brother or sister is introduced as Elliott was still so young.
I’d always dreamed of having three children, but when we discussed extending our family, we didn’t think we had enough room or enough money for another baby so the plan was shelved; indefinitely 🙁
7 years later I’d missed my period and Rob said “you’re pregnant”, but I refused to entertain the idea. I had no early symptoms and we were using protection, so I couldn’t see how it was possible. But another week passed and I thought maybe I am…. Well you could have knocked me over with a feather when two blue lines appeared on the pregnancy test. I felt so many emotions all at once. Pure unadulterated love and happiness that I was going to be a mummy to a little baba again and pure panic. How were the boys going to cope with the news? Could we afford it? Where was everybody going to sleep? Then the tears came again, but they soon stopped when I saw Robs beaming smile, felt his tender embrace and heard the words “we’ll be fine, stop crying, we’re having a baby, this is what we’ve always wanted” I’m crying as I write this as it was, it truly was all we wanted and we feel so blessed, no matter what the age gap or the changes in dynamics it was going to have on our family. That sounds incredible selfish, but it’s weird how you just cope!
Telling the boys conjured up mixed emotions. Joseph just wanted to know he would still be treated like my baby (he is definitely a mummy’s boy) and Elliott didn’t want to give up his room. Elliott’s huff lasted all of 5 minutes before he was over the moon and suggesting baby names. Phew! He did in fact name Anabelle and got the inspiration from a book he was reading at the time. Luckily Joseph is still my baby boy as Anabelle turned out to be a gorgeous little lady.
When Anabelle was born she just slotted into our family life so easily. She’s been dragged along to football every Sunday morning since she was born and seems to have mastered skills quite quickly from having older siblings to learn from. Both boys absolutely dote on her and it’s great having two little helpers. Although things are a tight squeeze at home and we’ve had to adjust life slightly, I wouldn’t say it’s had a massive impact on our family dynamics. We have to carefully consider our outtings and holidays to cater for all ages, but the boys are more than happy to compromise and there are times when we’ll have special dates with just the boys or just Anabelle.
I’m not sure I believe there is a wrong or right time to introduce a sibling to your family you just have to go with what works for you (or what life throws at you). Whether that be 14 months, 8 years or anything in-between or beyond, there will always be challenges. So if you want another baby I say go for it.
Fate decided our children’s age gaps for us, but I’d love to know if you had the chance to carefully plan and consider what age gap you’d like your children to have? Did it work for you? Do you think there is a magic formula?
Image by Anna Clarke Photography