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Is a two year age gap hell? Don't know if I can do it

(59 Posts)
SaltK Wed 11-Sep-19 14:58:20

I've found myself unexpectedly pregnant with a 15 month old DS. I'm very, very on the fence, I actually went for a termination today but they couldn't see enough so I have to wait a week.

DH and I are going back and forth. I just don't know if I could cope. DS was a terrible sleeper and still often has bad nights, and I really struggled his first year. But it feels selfish to end a pregnancy because I'm worried I'll be tired and overwhelmed, but I'm scared we won't cope and it'll adversely affect my mental health, DHs mental health, and therefore our DS. I feel absolutely awful at the thought of a termination, especially because I had lots of pregnancies that didn't work out before DS and I would have done anything to have a baby. I can't believe I'm in this situation.

I don't know what to do. Sometimes I've been thinking "just go for it", but then I think, honestly could I do it? Lots of people seem to manage a 2 year age gap, but to me it just sounds so difficult. I don't want to regret my choice, but I have no idea what choice to make.

Rainatnight Wed 11-Sep-19 17:02:17

We have a two year age gap. The difference is that our DC are adopted, so DS arrived when he was 8 months old and DD was 2.7, so we skipped the newborn stage!

It’s definitely hard and in some way harder than I expected, but it’s also completely manageable. We probably watch more telly than we should to manage! But the upsides are huge - I feel somehow like we’re a more balanced family without all the adult attention going to DD. And while DD did find it difficult to begin with, their relationship is just lovely and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Only you know your circumstances, though. Time off work, enough money, etc - all make life a bit easier.

SaltK Wed 11-Sep-19 17:03:49

Thank you, Rainatnight x

FluffyPinkSocks Wed 11-Sep-19 17:10:40

There’s 2 years between each of mine, so when I had my last my eldest was 8. It’s hard enough going at the start until you get used to a sort of routine. Definitely the early week are the hardest, lack of sleep etc is a killer but you get through it. I always thought it made no difference changing another nappy when I was already one! This is the 1st year I haven’t changed a nappy in 12 years 🤣 as pp said only you know your own circumstances, best of luck with it all.

LimitIsUp Wed 11-Sep-19 17:12:35

Do you have family help local to you? - it can make all the difference

I fell pregnant when my first was 12 months old. I am not going to sugar coat it, I found it difficult and stressful but I am glad of the the close age gap now because they have more in common.

As Rain says - "We probably watch more telly than we should to manage" - its about accepting these compromises and not beating yourself up over them. Not expecting too much of yourself - sod all the baby and toddler classes and obsessing about milestones and development (can you tell that I did that and wish I hadn't now with the benefit of hindsight). It can be done if you make an effort to be relaxed and not sweat the small stuff

Soubriquet Wed 11-Sep-19 17:14:58

I have a just under two year gap.

Ds was born on the 4th and dd turned 2 on the 26th.

It really wasn’t that bad. Ds was a nightmare though as he had undiagnosed CMPA and reflux so I spent so much time looking after him that I felt a bit of guilt towards dd as I couldn’t be there as much for her.

But she was always fiercely independent and coped lovely

theconstantinoplegardener Wed 11-Sep-19 17:15:08

Two year age gap here too.I was expecting it to be very difficult, because DD1 had been a velcro baby and hardly slept, so I thought DD2 would be the same. But she was actually really chilled, a lovely, sweet-natured baby, and just fitted right in. The first year or so was busy but nor really difficult. I was a lot more relaxed than I had been as a stress first-time mum to DD1. Now they are the best of friends and entertain each other for hours.

Retroraver93 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:15:23

We have a 23 month age gap and although I feel ashamed to admit I was at first shocked, worried and disappointed when I discovered I was pregnant again so soon ( we were ages trying for DC1 and thought a 3 year age gap was ideal but unexpectedly fell again first time of trying with DC2) it has worked out well for us.
They have always been good friends and played well together. They are teenagers now but still pretty close and get along most of the time.
Hope it works out well for you whatever you decide to do flowers

Confusedbeetle Wed 11-Sep-19 17:15:46

2 years is normal. I had 4 at two year intervals it was fine

TokyoSushi Wed 11-Sep-19 17:17:46

You can do it! I have 22 months between mine, and without wishing to sound awful its hard, but it's over quickly!

They're at a similar age so there are a lot of activities that suit both of them and you may well find that they get on really well.

And then before you know it, they're both in school whilst you find others still have a baby/toddler at the school gates, and while your life has become much easier, and you can get some time to yourself again, others have to wait a lot longer.

Congratulations OP, you'll be fine flowers

LoreleiRock Wed 11-Sep-19 17:19:25

I had a smaller gap, so they both babies really so I think it was easier, but I still think that a two year age gap will be much easier than any bigger gap.

Abraid2 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:20:23

I have 20 months between them and it really wasn’t as bad as all that! It’s a fairly common spacing between children.

KnightError Wed 11-Sep-19 17:23:18

2 year gap batween mine (more or less to the day). They are older teenagers now, but I loved having that gap when they were little. It's just more of the same - they're at the same stage for part of the time, so it's easy to find things to do with them both (I think this is harder when you're trying to cater for children with bigger gaps). I would have that gap again like a shot, if I were still at the 'having babies' stage.

sandycloud Wed 11-Sep-19 17:25:31

I have an age gap of 2 years 6 weeks. First was a terrible sleeper but my second was the complete opposite. I'm not sure any age gap is easier. 2nd baby had to fit in around what we were doing and I think I was a lot less stressed 2nd time around. Lots of my friends have a 2 year gap. To think positive you are out of the baby stage quicker. Did have 2 in nappies for a short time. In a way it's easier as when baby is a bit older they like to do the same things a bit more.

KnightError Wed 11-Sep-19 17:25:42

PS - OP, I didn't have any local family, so had no help at all. It was fine, honestly. I made friends with other mums, which really helped. We all had children with similar age gaps. I was definitely more intense and isolated with DC1 - by the time DC2 came along, I was ready to pass her round and chuck her into the general melee.

CupCupGoose Wed 11-Sep-19 17:26:37

Of course it's for you to decide what to do and I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other but personally a 2 year age gap was perfect for me. DC1 turned 2 about 6 weeks after DC2 was born. They are 6 and 8 now and they have grown up together. They were always at a similar stage so will watch the same TV programs, enjoy the same type of day out ect. It also meant all the sleepless nights, nappies, feeding was all over and done with quite quickly, instead of having to start again with a baby a few years later if you know what I mean. I'm not going to lie, the first year was HARD but so worth it. They were both terrible sleepers but honestly it was for such a short time. I'm actually pregnant again and worried about a 6 year age gap! I wish I'd had the third with another 2 year age gap. That was my experience anyway.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:27:04

Mine have the exact same age gap and I thought it was wonderful. My children are young adults now and are very close.

TaskMistress Wed 11-Sep-19 17:29:27

It's bloody hard sometimes but worth it I think.
My kids are 18months apart. They are heading into teens so it's new territory again for me.
It'll be fine

banskuwansku Wed 11-Sep-19 17:29:56

2 years and three days age gap here. It was hard in the beginning but got easier and easier everyday. For me the sleep deprivation was the worst bit. Now they both are in primary and life is easy.

ArsenicChip Wed 11-Sep-19 17:34:24

I have two two year age gaps, and although it wasn’t easy, I would choose it again. I had no family help, and DH was away most of the time with work, but as pp have said, you quickly build a network of other parents for support and play dates.

audreylivesagain Wed 11-Sep-19 17:34:30

I have a 14 month age gap, tbh going from one to two was quite easy. Luckily both mine slept through from being pretty young. The double nappies was the worse. Going from two to three was the worse!

milveycrohn Wed 11-Sep-19 17:36:52

Each child is different. There are 21 months between my DS1 and DS2. The first was a real nightmare and like you, I was concerned about being totally exhausted when I had the second.
My second was completely different. Slept all the time; no trouble at all. Not saying your second would be like mine, but they are all individuals, and I was also a second time mother, so not totally naive about how to manage.

SaltK Wed 11-Sep-19 17:37:03

Thank you everyone. I actually asked for this thread to be taken down, I was so ashamed of myself. I'm really grateful for all your responses and kind words and no judgement.

Northernsoullover Wed 11-Sep-19 17:39:28

In my experience the biggest shock was going from 0-1. So when my second came along at a 2 year gap it wasn't that bad. My first was awful at sleeping and I figured if the second was as bad I'd cope. As it turned out he slept beautifully, but I really would have coped.
Also, newborns aren't mobile so its really easy in that respect. By the time they are mobile the toddler is slightly more reasonable. .

Anothernotherone Wed 11-Sep-19 17:40:50

I found a 2 year gap pretty easy, but that's because my dc1 had been a slightly poorer than average sleeper due to reflux making it difficult to settle her to sleep on her own until she was mobile (she was a delight as long as she was held upright) and DS2 being an absolute text book sleeper who woke for efficient feeds every 3-4 hours and was easy to put down to sleep immediately after a feed.

I then had a 3 year gap from dc2-3 and the baby phase was unexpectedly knackering because he just didn't sleep at all... Well not for more than 45 minutes at a time ... and sod's law dictated he always fell asleep just when my alarm went off to take dc1 and dc2 to school and preschool...

Neither of the older two were ever jealous of the younger one/s so I think that's personality and how you as parents handle the introduction and early weeks (do not have your dc1 meet their sibling for the first time when brought home from grandparents/ babysitter to walk into your living room and encounter a blissful Madonna and child tableaux unless you want them to feel replaced... Keep the baby in a sling and focus on dc1, doing as much of your usual routine with them as possible for the first few weeks once you're able to walk around yourself).

It all comes down to sleep but you just cannot know what kind of sleeper you'll get. IMO the gap hasn't got much to do with how difficult a subsequent baby's first year is, just how well they sleep and the sibling's personality.

Do you actually want a second child at all? If you were planning on stopping at one stop at one - but if you want two I'm not sure the gap makes that much difference to how hard it is, unless you're young enough to wait until dc1 leaves home...

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