age gaps - planning ahead & taking others comments personally

(22 Posts)
BeauNatt Mon 19-Aug-13 14:54:20

Our first child has just turned ten months. At the end of my maternity leave (Autumn this year) I'll be starting a degree (3-4 years) so my gut feeling is to wait until the end of the course to get pregnant again. Also I have depression and the thought of another baby now panics me... but we definitely want 2 or more children eventually.

Twice friends have asked if we're planning another and I explain about the degree and they've sounded concerned and said that such a large age gap won't be good for the children. That makes me question our decision.

Should we try for a closer age gap? I could have a year out of my degree. Should we "get the baby stage out of the way" as I keep hearing other mums say?

Treague2 Mon 19-Aug-13 14:57:03

OP when you have one, people simply don't tire of asking when you're having another, and they never see it as the intrusive question it is.
I would say: never explain. And understand that for a while, everyone has an opinion on what the ideal gap is coincidentally it will probably be the same as they have done if they managed to get pregnant easily but the fact is, children have personalities and a family so what's right for one won't be right for another, even within the same family.
SHort version: ignore!
And good luck with the degree.

mrsravelstein Mon 19-Aug-13 14:57:11

6.5 year age gap between dc1 and dc2 was waaaaay easier than the 23 month age gap between dc2 and 3 for me.

it depends if you see the baby stage as lovely, or something to be 'got out of the way'. (i loved that and wasn't anxious to be 'free of nappies' etc)

also depends if you've got lots of family to help or can afford a lot of help as 2 little ones can be much harder than one at school and one at home.

also depends how old you are and whether you are in a hurry to get on with it because of impending 40s, for instance

rootypig Mon 19-Aug-13 14:59:55

There are 6 years between me and my brother, we get on marvellously. 13 years between Dsis 1 and 2 and they are close too. do people say what they mean by not good? in what way?

OP do what YOU want. Is that your degree? Do you think you would get it done with two children, or a few more years down the line?

BeauNatt Mon 19-Aug-13 15:01:25

"Never explain" is good advice Treague2. Maybe I should say we haven't thought about it yet and not be so honest!

AndyMurraysBalls Mon 19-Aug-13 15:02:13

There is no "right time" and the comments about any age gap should be ignored.

It's your life and your business.

Are you in a hurry to have another because of your age? If not, wait until it feels right for you. Falling pregnant with depression is a bad thing, trust me. You won't do yourself any justice with your degree if you are suffering from depression. You won't be any kind of parent either because depression is a terrible thing.

Wait until it just feels right for you and your partner and sod everyone else.

rootypig Mon 19-Aug-13 15:10:27

Yy to treague, when people are giving advice they're usually justifying their own choices. They probably spend their days covered in yoghurt wishing they'd stopped at one grin

BeauNatt Mon 19-Aug-13 15:10:30

Thank you. I really want to do this degree and fitting everything in with one baby will be challenging enough I expect!

I just have doubts as me and my partner and so many of my friends have 2 year age gaps so that seems to work well.

BeauNatt Mon 19-Aug-13 15:10:59

I mean between us and our siblings.

Treague2 Mon 19-Aug-13 15:15:01

2 year age gaps will be great for some and will bring others to their knees. It totally depends on all the personalities involved!

Also, and this cannot be overstated: some people who bleat on about perfect age gaps will have grandparents providing perfect free childcare. That makes everything easier, and is almost never mentioned in their assessment of how much easier everything is blah blah oh no it doesn't get in the way of work at all blah blah etc.

(Sorry, I do not miss the 'everyone's having a second baby' stage, not one bit!)

MiaowTheCat Mon 19-Aug-13 17:06:34

2 year age gaps will be great for some and will bring others to their knees

Psh - weaklings! Under 1 year gaps are where the true hardcore are at! (I'm joking btw)

Basically everyone will tell you their own age gap is the best and have an opinion on your choices - if you look all enlightened and go, "Oh, so you're telling us to go have SEX" that usually shuts 'em up a bit!

specialsubject Mon 19-Aug-13 19:53:52

and why is it any of anyone else's business when you have your children?

good grief!

BeauNatt Mon 19-Aug-13 21:27:47

I know, I know, special, I just feel so vulnerable at the moment!

Fuzzymum1 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:37:51

The gap between mine is 4 years then 9 years - I have loved having them spaced out. Each one got plenty of one to one attention and now DS1 is 19 and DS3 is six they have a wonderful relationship more like uncle and nephew. DS3 will be so sad when DS1 goes off to uni in a few weeks.I would not have coped with having them close together. One of my friends had all 4 of her children between my DS2 and DS3 - it was very intense at her house when she had a baby, 3 5 and 7yo!

Noggie Mon 19-Aug-13 22:46:39

People are nosy!! You should do what is best for you and your family. I think doing a degree and having one little one sounds like a plan! Also people can decide on perfect gaps but Mother Nature sometimes has different ideas hmm x

StitchingMoss Mon 19-Aug-13 22:56:08

We have a 16 mth age gap (not planned and no we didn't have family to help!). Personally I think it is easier if your kids are closer in age (although not the first year!) as my friends with 3 or more years between their kids find entertaining them much harder as their needs are so different.

However, if your life dictates otherwise then go with what's right for you - that's what's important at the end of the day.

Good luck with your degree!

MatriarchalDreams Wed 21-Aug-13 00:27:04

I'm getting a lot of this atm too! I have a 13 month old and am in my first year of a three year course, DD will be 3.5 when I finish so by the time I've settled into work and got pregnant (if I do of course) etc we'll be looking at least a five year age gap. Lots of my friends with children DD's age are getting pregnant/trying to get pregnant/ thinking about getting pregnant so obviously they're trying to focus on the positive aspects of a two year age gap rather than the negatives. But there are pluses and minuses for any age gap; most of my friends are either SAHMs or work part-time and not looking to progress their careers atm, so think they might as well have another now while they're in that 'time-out' sort of phase of their lives (makes sense really). I do have a couple of friends who are returning to study in September and they're not looking to have second babies any time soon either so I don't think it's that strange really; everyone's family life is different and we all have valid reasons for making the choices we do. I'm really not ready to have a second now, it sounds like my idea of hell actually! Think I'd enjoy it much more, if I had another one now I think I'd feel really resentful and totally trapped in babydom/toddlerhood!

meandtheboys Wed 21-Aug-13 07:40:50

Pretty much everyone here has alrady said it but there isn't a correct age gap or a perfct time to have another baby. So many people will think their age gap worked perfectly. It worked perfeclty for them. That doesn't mean anything!

We have a 4.4 yr age gap between DS1 and DS2. It workd really well especially when DS2 was a newborn. DS1 was already fairly independant. He could dress himself, get his own shoes onm go to the toilet etc. He had started full time school, was interested in outdoorsy things with DH so I didn't feel quite as guilty when I was sat breastfeeding and calming DS2. Also DS1 already had empathy and understood the baby neded me right now but I still loved him just as much. I don't think a 2 year old would understand that quite so well.

There really is no right or wrong with this. My cousin has a 16 month age gap between her eldest two and coped brilliantly but it was still a struggle and now age 3 and 4 they argue and fight over everything. My friend has a similar gap between hers and they get on great. It can go either way regardless of age gap.

Do what fits your family, noone has any right or reason to judge. Good luck xxx

mummyxtwo Wed 21-Aug-13 07:58:04

Yes I'm of the camp that there is no 'ideal' and it is purely what works for you, and how long it takes you to get pregnant! It can be difficult if you have preconceived ideas about what is 'right' and overplan things - I always wanted small gaps between mine, and ended up having 4 years between ds1 and dd2 (various reasons - ds1 was ill). In the end that has worked great for me, as ds1 was old enough to be really excited about his little sister and absolutely dotes on her. He is also old enough to help me a little - if she cries, he goes to her without being asked and gives her a toy, or a cuddle, or pulls silly faces to make her giggle. I do also think that if I'd had a 2 year age gap my dc's would now be nearly 5 and nearly 3 and I'd be feeling rather pleased with myself that I'd got through the hardest part, and would probably think that was the gap I could have had! I also worried about age a lot as I was 30 when I had ds1 (not old in today's society I know, but I had some longstanding issues about my mum being older than other mums and getting teased a bit, which hurt). Basically, my advice would be to ignore all advice and do what is right for you lifestyle-wise and education / job-wise and I'm sure that whatever gap you have will work out just fine.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Wed 21-Aug-13 08:06:07

Dd was 7 when ds was born... He is her world and she is his. Cheesy I know but that's how it is. There was minimum jealously more to do with me being tired. No resentment aimed at ds from her. She loved being my helper too and at 20 months he idolises her. It's lovely to watch. I really hope they stay as close as they get older.

Not sure if I will have another but if I do I'm planning to wait until ds is starting full time school.

In adulthood age gaps never really matter I don't think. My sisters are 7, 10 and 17 years older than me and we all get on fine. I was quite lonely being the only teen in the house as my sisters had left home but I loved going to visit them at their uni cities.

hatsybatsy Wed 21-Aug-13 08:15:45

horses for courses.

22 month gap here - it was very hard work at the beginning. But they're fine now and get along well. Personally I found the sleepless nights very hard work - and for me, it was easier to keep going while I was used to it - I'm not sure I could have gone back to it after a 5 year gap.

BUT if the age gap you're planning works for you then go for it. there is no perfect gap. Personally I don't think I would plan to take a year out of a degree, as surely you're building year on year? and finals would be hard if you're looking after a toddler?

Don't listen to anyone but yourselves.

CheungFun Wed 21-Aug-13 08:26:15

Funnily enough DM and I were having this conversation the other day about age gaps. She said one of the ladies she works with is pregnant with no.2 and no.1 will be 4 and staring school soon, and although the lady would have preferred a smaller gap (ttc for quite a while), she's now happy the way things have turned out as she's had lots of time with no.1 and when no.1 goes to school she will have that time to devote to no.2.

Personally I don't think I'm cut out for small age gaps, I'm hoping for a 3 year gap between DS and a second baby, but we will see how it turns out.

It's different for everyone I think, but people do like to ask the question!

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