The Second Time Around...


So things are finally settling in. You are well on your way and finally getting into the grove of Mommydom and you start thinking of a second child. Perhaps you and your toddler are now weaned, they are sleeping in their own bed, YOU are finally getting some sleep again, they are starting to communicate more, their ability for independent play so Mommy and Daddy can have a moment here and there is happening often. Insert big sigh. Then this crazy notion to pull the thread that unravels quite a bit of progress creeps into your head and heart. Is it time?


Lots of families today they are choosing to space out siblings with several more years in between the two, or three. The theory being to enjoy that special time with each child separately and having them be older when the baby comes along they a) may understand it better and b) be able to help out with their brother or sister. To be able to participate in caring for their brother or sister they may feel a sense of importance. Also, as time goes by there will be lots of special things that only they can do that the age difference affords them. They will have their own circle of friends throughout school and even be out of the house possibly when attention needs to be brought back to the adolescent era with their sibling.

On the other end of the spectrum there is the argument that the older child has had that much longer to ground themselves as the center of both parent's universe garnering their attention as needed and are even more inclined to encounter resentment and frustration at sharing the spotlight. They may also develop distance with their sibling over the years as they constantly find themselves absorbed by activities and interests that, through age, exclude the other.

The heath aspects of not having children close in age, from the mother's perspective, is, too soon and your body has not yet replenished itself to be in optimum heath to go through a second pregnancy. In fact, there are concerns that you will not deliver the highest amounts of nutrients to your growing baby without having reached a leveling off and return to norm for yourself first.


It is exciting to think of siblings close in age though so that throughout their childhood the same activities are age appropriate and appealing to both and meal planning is easier. Putting all the sleepless nights, breast-feeding, diapering, potty training closer together makes for Momma milestones of saying goodbye to some of those times, however cherished. To be able to move forward rather than dreading starting all over again. These ideas appeal to many regardless of the extra emotional toll it may take.

Also, there may be financial and career aspects that factor in on the decision making process. Having children closer together allows a mother to possibly stay home in the young years, keeping the household budget reigned in and living simply. Then both kids are headed to school around the same time allowing mom to return into the job arena. Overall, possibly more committed and focused than feeling like she's missing being with her children in those precious toddler years.

Some mothers must weigh age considerations or any health conditions that can narrow their "window of opportunity".  You may have little say in the matter if you are set on having "x" number of children. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and the medical world continues to be surprised by women conceiving healthy children regardless of age or illness.

The argument can be made though if your body allows you to conceive it must be ready and healthy enough. Body aside, there is also the mental and emotional toll a pregnancy takes to consider. You could end up feeling like you are missing time with your 1st born all too soon. It can be incredibly difficult to chase a toddler while the newborn needs to be nursed.


I have to rely on the testimonies from friends both with children close in age, those whose kids are spaced 1-3 years apart, and those who have a larger age difference between children. I have heard is it's overwhelming at any given moment as well as the best blessing ever in all instances. As I made dinner tonight and was beckoned non-stop by my almost two year old to come here, go there, tug-tug on my leg, some other moment there was crying, it was a blur. As I reached down and touched my belly six weeks into pregnancy I had a surge of "you have got to be kidding this kid is just going to have to live in a sling". 

Yet, I'm consumed with thoughts of women, just several generations removed that 5, 6, 7 kids in were doing heaps more than I can conceive of. Maybe there is just that inherited ability in women not only to allow our hearts to expand for each and every child that graces our lives but that we also keep expanding to take on all that comes with each additional child.

I don't think so much thought went into family planning in all the centuries previous as is currently going on in the past several decades. There is a lot more to "plan" around, isn't there? Heck, before it was just a matter of simple survival and less reliable birth control methods. Now we drive ourselves nuts considering every possibility and where every tiny choice takes us.


Whatever your choice, the idea that having them closer in age or further apart will assure or negate a possible connection over the years remains to be seen. There are good healthy relationships to justify either choice.

Perhaps we can feel blessed to be having such dialogue if only on the basis we are trying to consider what is truly best for our families. That alone is a sign of parents who are tuned in and wanting their children to have every happiness in the world. As when deciding to have one child or four to have each spirit that enters into your family be a wanted and welcomed child is all that matters. 

The excitement and emotions we are already feeling this time around are different and unique. I'm sure that's a preview of the truth that stands... every pregnancy, birth and kid is so special and unlike the one before. Again, bearing witness to countless scenarios with friends whatever the age difference of siblings turns out to be perfect for that particular family and they wouldn't have it any other way. 


PureMothers said...

Hi Kate,
I'm glad you found my blog - and I was just enjoying yours. Did you just start in January? You're doing great! Love all your posts. I think we would be friends if I lived in your town :-) Well, we can be cyber-friends - that seems to work well these days. Best of Luck to you. Do you have an email subscription feature (feedburner) or such?

Kate Ogden said...

Indeed we would be friends. I already have felt a kindred connection to you, especially with the "burntout" honesty post recently. I think it's an exceptional gift for us to bare the good and the bad with other moms. Yes, just starting on this front. In 1st trimester with 2nd kid so a bit worn-out right now and taking a break. I also have much to learn in this realm before proceeding as far as theme, structure, organization of content etc. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note. Take care.


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