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Sibling Gap

(47 Posts)
Chinchilla Thu 26-Jun-03 23:24:18

So how many years do you all have between children? I am contemplating planning another for when ds is around 3 (at the earliest), because I figure that he will be potty trained, and able to do a lot of things for himself by then. Is that wise? He will be 2 next month, so it is too late for a really short gap, but I haven't even CONSIDERED having another one before now, because he has been so much hard work.

He seems to have become so much easier lately, because he understands me, and I am now beginning to feel that I could cope with another baby and him. What do you all think?

sobernow Thu 26-Jun-03 23:31:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chinchilla Thu 26-Jun-03 23:37:46

Thanks Sobernow. I know that there is never a 'good' gap, I suppose I just want to know that it will be easier (on me) having a 3+ gap. Also, I would like to be prepared for the bad points from people who have been there. At least then I will know what I am letting myself in for! (Unlike when I first had ds, and felt like I had been abandoned to look after an alien who needed me, but didn't come with a manual!)

anais Thu 26-Jun-03 23:37:55

I think its a really personal desicion. What's right for one person isn't necessarily right for another.

I wanted a 2 year gap, but it ended up being 2 1/2 years. My two get on at the moment, but I think that's down to personality more than anything else.

I was adamant I didn't want a big age gap, but then again, that's just personal choice. I want a big family and didn't want one to be much older than all the others and kind of isolated, IYKWIM.

If you feel ready I say go for it - only you know if it's right for you, and I don't think age gaps are all that important. If you feel ready and want another child then I think you're unlikely to regret having another baby, but you might regret not having another one.

Good luck!

butterflymum Thu 26-Jun-03 23:38:57

My three sons are 6yrs4mths, 3yrs10mths, and 1yr at present (leave you to work out the gaps).

I don't really think there are any right or wrong gap lengths. Each stage of childhood brings it's own set of needs/challenges/delights etc and the 'goal posts' are for ever changing. We, as parents, are on a continuous learning curve, never quite reaching the top before something else comes along for us to face.

Whatever plans we make can so easily change - is it therefore necessary to be particular about the gap length?

If it 'feels' the right time for you to try for number 2 then use this as your guide not the gap length (if this makes sense?).

Best wishes, whatever you decide.

sobernow Thu 26-Jun-03 23:41:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chinchilla Thu 26-Jun-03 23:44:46

Actually, that's a very good point Anais. (My dh has so far been really anti having another baby. Ds was so hard to deal with, and it has taken this long for him to actually be enjoyable rather than a whiny baby. It has been gradually getting better since his 1st birthday, but it has been slow. I have always loved him to bits, and there have been bright moments, but the first year was not my finest really.) I have always known that I really wanted two children. Even at the worst times with ds, I have never veered from this. Dh has always been amazed that I could still want another little person after all that we have been through, and the ruin that is our relationship!

I just know that if I don't have another one (through dh's choice) I would resent and regret it. If it transpires that I can not physically have another one, then I will just accept that, and love ds all the more for being so unique. I would not go through IVF, because I know that I am blessed with ds. However to have the choice taken away in any other way would break my heart.

Chinchilla Thu 26-Jun-03 23:46:10

So OK, all of you out there, what ARE the bad things about a slightly longer gap?

Linnet Fri 27-Jun-03 00:45:11

I always wanted more than one child, I used to want 4. After dd arrived I said I didn't want to have any more and I was adamant on this until she got to the age of 3 and I thought oh I'd like another one. But my dh had decided that he didn't want to have any more. After a lot of heartache on my part and a few heated discussions over the past 3 years he has now decided that yes another one would be nice.

We are now trying for baby #2 and dd will be 6 this year, I'm going to have a 6 year age gap between my two and this bothers me sometimes.

On one hand my dd has had us all to herself for the past 6 years she's at school, about to finish primary 1 and she has her own little circle of friends, so I don't feel that we will be taking time away from her when she really needed us, if you know what I mean.

But on the other hand I worry that the new baby will feel like another only child with our dd being so much older there may not be a lot interaction, when the baby gets older dd will be older and may not want to have this baby brother/sister always hanging around etc.

I'm a worrier at the best of times anyway but this is something that has been preying on my mind. We both want this baby that we are trying for and dd has always said how much she would like to have a sibling.

If I could have my time over again I would have another one when dd was 3, I wouldn't have said how much I didn't want another one straight afer the birth since you are not thinking clearly then anyway but my dh took me at my word.

Better to do it sooner than later if you ask me. I'm sure you'll cope very well Chinchilla if you feel you could cope then you probably will do. Good Luck

mmm Fri 27-Jun-03 08:26:18

There is a 7 year gap between my two and I think it's too much as their needs are so different. Luckily baby 2 is a doddle compared with the first one .My elder daughter is very jealous and she feels cross that I have to look after the baby. I'm so glad there's school !

Wills Fri 27-Jun-03 08:44:35

Chinchilla, I'm currently reading "three shoes, one sock and no hairbrush" and she talks about the "perfect age gap". Like most would suspect she states that there is no perfect right age gap and that it comes down to what you want. However she goes on to discuss pros and cons of different ones and they are very thought provoking. In terms of your body and time 18years is definitely the best.... Under 3 pros are that they are more likely to play well together because they have a smaller age gap, but the road there will be much harder as you will essentially still have a baby when the next baby comes along. Over three is a lot easier as the first child has stopped being a baby and will participate with helping you. You are also less likely to have so much sibling rivalry although this will never be a hard and fast rule because rivalry is more to do with personalities and how parents handle them. She talks at great length about such things but a word of caution. The book itself has been a real eye opener for me in terms of what is coming (I'm 31 wks and dd is 3) and occassionally makes me a little nervous .

HTH

Have to agree with your thoughts and dd will be 3.5 when little is born. My one over ridding concern was NOT to have TWO in nappies - ugh!

bunnyrabbit Fri 27-Jun-03 09:04:29

Wills,
When are you due? Have you posted on the pregnancy roll call thread.

My friend has just had her second baby and her son is 22!!

When they gave her the baby in the hospital they just left her to it, as they assumed she knew everything already being a mother. She had to ask for help 'cos she couldn't remember anything and things have changed a lot in 22 years.

ghengis Fri 27-Jun-03 09:08:49

There's an 8.5 year gap between my two, not planned, and it has worked out very well.

I think as long as you see them as individuals and treat them with respect it doesn't really matter how big the age gap is. My sister had 3 under 5 and that worked well for her.

Just make sure you enjoy it!

tamum Fri 27-Jun-03 09:14:49

Evereyone has already talked a lot of sense, but Chinchilla and Wills, if it's any comfort I have the same gap that you have/are planning to have. My ds was also very hard going as a baby/toddler (lovely, but hard going), so I put off having a sedond child for a while, then had a miscarriage, so I ended up with a 3.5 year gap. Five years down the line I can give you my summary! The first year was quite hard work, and it seemed a shame that I couldn't just take my ds out to a puppet show or whatever without planning first, but once the first year was over and they start playing together everything was far easier. I really thought 3.5 years was too much, but they have always got on brilliantly and played great long imaginative games together. They're still at it, ds now 8 and dd 5. I know this is purely luck, and all down to their personalities, but I just wanted to say it CAN work, just as a smaller gap can work, so try not to worry

Wills Fri 27-Jun-03 09:24:58

The eye opener that I talk about is in terms of her description of having two - wow, sounds like hard work coming. Never mind I'm still really looking forward to this little one appearing. Its a good book though cos it gives you a lot of food for thought. Things I would never have thought of myself such as don't expect your first born to accept the second straightaway - well ok that's obvious - however she says it takes at least a year. Everytime they accomodate the 2nd child it develops and changes and your first born is then being asked change and accomodate all over again. Never really thought of it from that perspective. I think my worst fear is not the effort but more that I will find dd frustrating. At the moment I'm totally wrapped up in her and I'm a tad daunted about how to juggle two and keep living IYSWIM

monkey Fri 27-Jun-03 12:20:51

17 months bew 1st 2, will be nearly 3 years bwn number 2 & 3 - ages will be 4.3, 2.10 & 0 in November. Can't wait. 3 years seems to be a huge gap to me - like my 17 month gap, but get bored of everyone asking if they're twins - even the paediatrician did this am!

Neighbour has 3 kids - same gap bwn eldest & youngest, but middle one was 17 months from last iyswim, so her gaps are 3 years bwn 1st 2 & 18 months bwn no. 2 & 3. They all get on great, she seems to always have her feet up! & a bottle of wine on the go, with a bbq. She's my hope & inspiration!

fio2 Fri 27-Jun-03 12:37:07

I had 22 months between my two, but it has been hard work. Yes they get on great but they also fight like cat and dog too!

lilibet Fri 27-Jun-03 12:38:52

Mine are 14, 10 and 6. I had to have this gap as I couldn't afford two lots of nursery fees! The two youngest are boys and they play well together and fight well togethr as well!! My 14 yr old dd hates the 10 year old but quite likes the 6 yearold. I do think its more down topersonalities than age gaps. Do what you can afford and what feels right.

WideWebWitch Fri 27-Jun-03 14:56:29

Chinchilla, my gap will be 6 years, eek! (I'm not with ds's father, now have a lovely dp, but it's taken this long for me to be ready for another really) I'm hoping it will be a nice gap as ds is capable of being extremely helpful and is already so excited about a brother and so kind and loving towards other babies we meet. He is also capable of getting himself dressed etc etc and doesn't need nearly as much attention as a 3yo. I'll let you know in December though! Wills, what do you think of the Rebecca Abrams book? It scared the life out of me, so I skim read it and put it away again!

tallulah Fri 27-Jun-03 18:20:22

Chinchilla, I had 18 mths between the first 2, then exactly 2 years then 2 years 1 week. The eldest gets on with the youngest & the one closer to her in age but absolutely hates the middle one with a passion. My mum says it's because she was 3.5 when he was born & she was old enough to mind & not old enough to be able to deal with it.

I think it's more to do with personality. Those 2 are very alike- hot headed & strong willed, while the other 2 are laid back & easy going. All down to luck IMO

Chinchilla Fri 27-Jun-03 20:24:45

Linnet and WWW - just to reassure you about the 6 year gap. My sister is 6 years younger than me, and by the time she arrived, I was desperate to have a sibling. I loved her to bits, and my mum says that I was very good with her.

Everyone's comments are very interesting. Obviously it is too late for me to have a small gap, as ds is two next month! However, I am hoping that he will be out of nappies by the time I do manage to convince dh that we must have another baby. Also, he will be able to walk further, or ride on a buggy board, so no double buggy needed. Two pros that I have thought of already!

Eulalia Fri 27-Jun-03 22:05:55

There is 2 years 9 months between my two. I was going to leave it 3 years but dd was an accident but this age gap has worked out well. This allowed a bit of a breather after the first birth and some time to myself before the next baby. I felt this gap had the best of both worlds in that I had a bit of time alone with my son but the gap wasn't too big so that they will be able to play togehter.

Apparently 2-3 years is best for your body to recover after a birth and get back to normal for the next pregnancy. Before contraception and artifical feeding babies were spaced naturally around 2 years apart due to having no periods.

I think after about 4 years jealousy comes into it as first child gets used to being alone but a lot does depend on personality.

Good luck with conceiving.

suedonim Sat 28-Jun-03 16:01:05

I have 4.5 yrs, 8yrs and 9yrs between mine. It wasn't particularly planned that way but it has suited us as I can't imagine myself with a double buggy and two in nappies etc. I agree that how they get on is much more to do with personality than anything else. I have a brother two yrs younger than me, with whom I have never got on, whilst I have always had a great relationship with my sis who is 9yrs older. I did get fed up of people assuming I was divorced, though, because of the age gaps!

Chinchilla Sat 28-Jun-03 20:08:54

Eulalia - Thanks for the good wishes re conceiving - just got to convince DH now

Imelda Tue 12-Aug-03 08:48:03

hi Chinchilla, i have just been surfing old threads (should be working!) and wondered if you and dh have decided to go for it? my ds is 2 1/2 and we have just decided to go for it again so the gap would be 3 1/2 - 4 years which i think is a scarily big gap, however some of the messages in this thread are very reassuring. we found ds very hard work and the first year took it out of us sth chronic (plus i had pnt) but i just can't imagine it only being the 3 of us forever. do let us know if you've made any decisions!

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