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Talk to me about small age gaps(18 Posts)
DS is nearly 5 weeks old. DP & I are considering trying for DC2 in a few months, with a view to having an age gap of approx 13-18 months. We want to have a small age gap so that the children are at similar stages in their lives, and hopefully have similar interests and will play together. It also means we get the baby years out of the way and, eventually, become a "couple" again sooner than if we left a larger gap.
Ideally, I want my next maternity leave to start as this one finishes, but I won't tell my boss that!
Naturally, I'm a little apprehensive about how I'll cope with a newborn and an older baby (toddler?) at the same time. I have a history of anxiety and depression, and the last thing I want is to put myself in a position where my mental health is affected with a negative impact on our family. I feel that I'm coping well with DS, but I know it will be much harder with two.
I'm looking for some stories about small age gaps and how this has worked for you (or others that you know about). .. or just tell me I'm mad!
13 month age gap here it was extremely hard at first being an older parent (38 with DS and 39 with DD) with DH away 12-13 hours a day and no family support. But the first few years were lovely with mutual interests and friends once the youngest got to about 16 months.
There's 18 months between myself and my sister, and 22 months between my two sons. My dc play lovely together, and are in to the same things. They do argue but generally it's great as they've always got a play mate. I can't really remember how hard it was when they were babies to be honest. It feels like a life time ago and they're only 4&6. I get on great with my sister, we've argued as siblings do but ultimately are very close now.
There's 21 months between mine. Not a particularly small gap but the smallest within my circle of friends.
We found it bloody hard work tbh but both were useless sleepers which made it particularly hard. For about 8 months after ds2 was born I do-slept with youngest while husband co-slept (not always but a lot of the time) with eldest in spare room. If we didn't have that spare room would have been awful!
Anyway now they are 2.9 and 4.6 and increasingly play well together and keep each other amused. Helps that they are both the same sex though, in our case. Now I wouldn't have it any other way but I don't really remember the first year with two!
A friend had hers 13months apart and have to admit I was totally but she is better organised that me and it's worked out well- kids are now 1 and 2 and she had back to back mat leaves.
15 month gap: it's lovely, sometimes chaotic but mostly it's a dream watching them develop together and become best friends.
My sis and I are 12 months apart: we have always been close.
My two are 19 months apart. The first 6 months were hard but they're 2.5 and 4 now and they love playing together!
No one thinks I'm mad then!
It seems as though I should expect the first 6 months or so to be hard but then get easier? Actually, I don't think being pregnant with a young child will be particularly easy either!
I imagine I'd also have to lower my standards when it comes to housework, even more than I have already over the last few weeks.
I have a 22 month gap and I love it. Last couple of months of pregnancy were tough with a toddler and I still can't put them both to bed on my own but my son (2.3) adores his little sister and her face just lights up whenever she sees him. We have had some mental half hours of them both screaming but mostly it's fine - no completely bad days. Crack on!
I have a 13 month age gap. The youngest one is 3 months and I feel like things are starting to get a little easier now. Having spent lots of time thinking about this when I was pregnant, I came to the conclusion that any age gap comes with it's good and bad points.
I'm 99% certain we're stopping at 2, so I'm glad that we don't have to go through TTC again and the worries about whether or not it will happen (first time took a while, second obviously didn't!), won't have to be pregnant again (loved it first time, found it much harder second time), don't have to give birth again, will get the sleepless nights and nappy stages out of the way etc. I feel like we can start to focus on other things too (hoping to move house in the next year or so) and enjoy seeing our kids grow and develop.
You don't have things like school runs to contend with if you have a small age gap. My friend who has just had a baby also has a preschooler and a primary school age child and she is juggling school runs with different pick up times every day, getting kids up and out for school, and also dealing with a newborn baby who might have been up during the night. That sounds much more tiring than my situation.
It is hard though as it's constant. The older one is still too young to be sensible, so I'm often trying to feed the baby and stop the toddler falling off the sofa or trying to poke the baby in the eye. I felt guilty about the effect on the older one at the start, but I don't really feel that any more. I'm spending more time with her as I'm on mat leave (if I was working I'd not see her during the day) and she's starting to enjoy her sibling which is lovely to see.
I do have good family support and I think I'd find it really tough if I didn't have that. I can drop one off with a family member for an hour or two and take the other one to a class or something. The older one still goes to childcare 1 or 2 days a week which is great, means I can get housework done, go meet a friend for a coffee and actually get a chance to chat, or just take the opportunity to sleep when baby is napping if I need a rest.
It is tough to start with, but not in the same way that I felt so overwhelmed with my first. I feel much more relaxed this time, it's just tiring running after a toddler while looking after a baby too, especially if you've not had much sleep or one of them is sick.
But I'd say it's definitely worth it, you're definitely not mad to be considering it!
Bear in mind that if you got pg soon you'd be juggling a newborn just as your eldest is getting properly mobile 😩
Wow, winter, thanks for taking the time to write that! It sounds like you're coping really well. I can imagine it's hard trying to stop the newly-mobile toddler from
killing hurting themselves in their adventures whilst mid-feed with the newborn! Your friend's situation does sound difficult too! You're right about there being pros and cons to any age gap.
My DS was 18 months when my DD was born 4 months ago and most definitely surviving and enjoying the baby stage being so familiar as it wasn't that long ago! DH works long hours too so it's sometimes a bit of a struggle to keep on top of household things but just about managing. If my DS didn't sleep through the night, play by himself or couldn't feed himself well then I know things would be a lot harder. He is actually behind with his development in some areas (having speech and language therapy) and again still coping fine! I'm looking forward to seeing them play together! Go for it if it's something you want to do, you never know how things will pan out until they happen anyway and like it has been said before pros and cons for any age gap! I get daily comments from people in public that I have my hands full (like I don't know!) and the nurse who did my smear was pretty horrified when I said that I was going to try for my second... some comment about I needed to enjoy DS before I had another one... well I'm an only child and I'm glad I have given DS a sister!
No words of advice other than to say you aren't mad, I am currently 33 weeks pregnant and DD just turned 1, so we will have a 14 month gap. She just started to walk in the last 2 weeks which whilst pregnant is hard, but manageable.
Thanks for everyone's comments and positive stories, it's definitely made me feel like it's something I can do. Now I just need
my fanjo to heal AF so that I can start TTC!
I just remembered the best thing about a small age gap: the naps! The three of us would all cuddle in the double bed for an hour or so everyday. It was heaven.
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