the next baby

Friday, February 28, 2014

Nursing newborn Clementine. This photo brings back so many memories… the flowers we were given following the birth, the heartfelt cards lining the shelves, and the never-ending breastfeeding. Photo taken by my friend Sonja.

Let me begin by saying that no, I am not pregnant. Or, more accurately, OH HELL NO!!

So now that that's cleared up... Ever since I was pregnant with Clementine, I found my thoughts drifting to the next pregnancy and the next baby. Part of it was practical; during my first trimester I napped every day and often slept for 12 hours a night. I knew I wouldn't be able to do that and take care of a toddler and I wondered how I would cope. I also felt sad that the first pregnancy, such a magical and special time, was so fleeting.

Now that I have a baby (and know just how much work is involved) I'm extra worried. When it takes me an hour to feed her or put her to sleep, I think, 'how on earth will I do this and parent another child?' Seriously, how do you mothers of two or more do it?

This also gets me pondering age gaps and what the ideal difference might be. My brother and I are exactly 4.5 years apart, which meant I was 5 grades ahead of him at school. While we get along well now and I think he's quite a cool person, we weren't exactly close growing up. I think the age difference was just too big. But it certainly would have been easier for my mom to take care of a newborn while her only other child was at school 6 hours a day. It seems to me that the most common age gap between siblings is two years, but I think that feels too rushed to me. Not least of all because I don't want to be changing diapers for two babies!

The other thing I have noticed is that I'm so happy right now with our little family of three, that part of me wants to keep it this way forever. It's hard to imagine changing that dynamic, but I know we will one day. When the time is right...

So tell me, how many kids do you have? How far apart are they? And how do you cope? I'd love to know!

p.s. my mom arrives on Monday so I'll be taking a few days off blogging, but I'll be back next Friday to share my fourth sling diaries post.

22 comments:

  1. I don't know Gaby, I think a lot about that too! the first weeks of having a newborn home I thought "never more!" haha but as time passes by and things get "easier" now I think I would love Lucas to have a sibling, I think 2 or 3 years apart would be nice...enjoy the time with your mom ;)

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  2. I'm glad you put that disclaimer at the start of this post because my heart stopped briefly thinking "Gaby is pregnant!?"

    I am not a mum yet and probably wont be for the next little while but I was raised as an only child. While a lot of things are amazing being an only child (travel, private schools, opportunities, etc...), there's a lot I really wish I had. It's only ever been my parents and I and I've often looked at other families wishing I had siblings to love and care for and even fight with.

    I think 2-3 years apart is a good gap. It means that each sibling can have their own style and flair and generation however they can still relate to their other siblings. I can imagine it being a tough decision though, it's one you can't really go back on

    P.s. Clem is going to make a perfect older sister one day.

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  3. I have 2 girls (4 and 2) with another on the way in spring. So there will be 2 and a half years age gap between the second and third. Hmmm...I'm not sure how things will go being so outnumbered ;) One day at a time I guess...

    I feel my first baby taught me how to surrender my ideals and let go of selfishness. They second taught me how to juggle and I suspect the third will teach me how to relax into chaos. he he.

    I'm 36 turning 37 so I didn't have the luxury of waiting for a bigger age gap between the second and third...we just went for it and will deal with the ups and downs as they come.

    LOL, I do remember the first time I was alone with a toddler having a tantrum and a baby crying for a feed. I started crying myself. It was full on. But like most things with motherhood...you just manage. Somehow, you just do.

    You'll know when it feels right to go again.

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    1. I've been there, crying simply because they're all crying and you're not sure where to start!

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  4. My girls are 19 months apart and it is freaking amazing!!! It was definitely hard throughout my pregnancy as I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum, though luckily I have a great support network and was able to get through it! When Delphi (my youngest) was born, Anouk (the big girl) took to her and adored her from the minute they met. She still takes care of her constantly and Delphi absolutely loves her big sister. They're currently just over two and six months old and things are getting really fun. Now they sit together and eat at the dinner table every lunch and snack time... they giggle and share food. Anouk wants to help Delphi with playing and shares toys with her... and the cuddles... ohhhhh the cuddles are non-stop!

    When Delphi was a newborn, I got through the first couple of months by having a lot of help. I wasn't alone with both girls until Delphi was eight weeks old. First my husband was home and then I had my sister and her husband with me. It allowed me to establish BFing and really learn how to navigate the needs of both. I also stayed close to home for the first six weeks, only leaving for appointments or to walk around out property.

    The other essential for me was a double pram. I tried the single whilst wearing the babe, but she was not a fan of my carriers. I got a side-by-side and it saved my sanity! Now that they're older, they hold hands and 'play' in it.

    Anyway, I could go on all day but my oven alarm just went off. ;)

    Linda. x

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  5. such a sweet post... i can totally relate to it in such a huge way, too.
    we always knew we wanted two babies – but i was in such crazy love the first time around that i just couldn't imagine changing the dynamic. i have a sister two years older and my husband has a brother 4.5 years older – neither age gap felt right to us for our family so we ended up splitting the difference and ours are three years apart. i don't think there's a right or wrong, best or worst (of course!) but for us, the three year gap has been great.
    just had to weigh in on this because it's a topic near and dear to my heart – one i lost so much sleep over and wrestled with so much.

    i know it seems impossible (it did to me anyways) but another baby just means that much more love... i had to experience it to really get it! when i only had one i could. not. imagine.

    now i can't imagine not imagining!!

    xx

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  6. I have two girls who are 14 and 10 years old, they are 4years and 4months apart. I really enjoyed having time with my oldest just the two of us and then having the same with my youngest. I think that maybe the 3.5years gap might be nice where the oldest has grown out of nappies and is a little more independent. I suppose at the moment the gap is larger between the girls when one is a teenager and the other is still young but I know that soon enough the gap will close and they will want to do more things together. Have a wonderful time having your Mum visit. x

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  7. I've been thinking about this a lot lately too and I know the only way I can be a great mom to two kids is if they have a nice gap and my oldest is in preschool already. I wouldn't want to juggle a two year old and a baby!

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  8. I feel like I'll always have a special bond with my first born. She taught me how to be a mother. The age gap is nearly three years. We wanted it to be two, but our little man took over a year to conceive. It worked out well, as my little girl needed that extra time. I feel for our little Finn though, I discovered we were pregnant with our third child when he was only 5 months old! We are due in July and to tell you the truth and am a little freaked out. I have no idea how I'll manage with babies 14 months apart! Initially I felt my heart was so full with my girl, Darcy but when Finn came, my heart just grew. I love them both so dearly and am looking forward to meeting our second baby boy! I know he will complete our family.

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  9. I can totally relate to Nicole crying when the toddler was throwing a tantrum and the baby having a feed, it can be chaos.

    I have three children. Oscar is 3 and a half, Nora not quite 2 and Iris 6 months. It is tough. Often I find myself second guessing my decision to have my three so, so quickly. Did I let them down by not giving them enough space and one on one time with their parents? I'll probably never know.

    It can also feel slightly isolating. Which surprised me. I have a whole gang that I have to haul in and out of cars, carry, cross roads with, cajole. The beach is impossible without help. Embarrassing disasters seem to happen regularly. And naturally so many babies and toddlers seem overwhelming to friends and families, so I try not to visit too often, while still taking as much help as possible! I'm hoping it gets easier at some stage, yet I have a feeling it doesn't get easier, you just grow accustomed to it all.

    And when our home is filled with laughter and cuddles or when Nora and Oscar are playing so happily together it feels right. It feels complete.

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  10. I don't have children of my own, (probably won't for another 5 years at least) but as an older sibling I know that 7.9 years is not the age gap you want! Obviously it wasn't planned like that, my brother and I have two different dads. Although we argue constantly, I know that when we are both at a more mature adult age we'll get on a lot better and that he'll always looks up to me for sisterly advice, which is something you just can't ask your mum for. But from observation, it seems that 3 years is the best age gap.

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  11. I've thought a lot about this. For the first eight months after my son was born, I wanted another immediately. As soon as my son hit a milestone, I was eager to have another to go through it, too. Plus, we've always talked about 2-3, and I didn't want to spend a decade of my life as mother to an under-five-year-old.
    Then Thomas started crawling. And climbing. And walking. And generally needing a lot more from his introvert mama. We took a break from "trying" because we're traveling to England over the summer and I wouldn't be flying as a third-trimester pregnant woman, but now it's time to start back, and I'm not sure how I feel. Practically, we would time the next one to arrive at the end of a school year next year (my husband and local mother-in-law teach). But days like today, when the little boy is climbing onto tables and dumping clean wipes in the toilet and the dog is sick and needs to go to the vet, the idea of another is overwhelming!
    I do know that nine months is a long time, and he'll be almost a completely different child when the next one comes. But I have no advice (yet) as to what works best!

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  12. Having two is challenging in some moments, and magical in others... not unlike having one. Whatever you do, however you create your family, will be perfect. Don't fret. It just will be.

    Kacie

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  13. There is 2 years and 3 months between my two kids. So I was pregnant when my first was 18 months. I wouldn't worry too much about two in nappies. The advantage of being 2 years apart is that everything you do basically suits both kids. Movies, parks etc suit the same kids. If one is 10 and the other one is 5 then a movie that is suitable for a 10 year old won't be suitable for a 5 year old. However with 2 years apart they can do the same movies. You've done your parenting apprentice with clementine and you will be more relaxed with the next baby because you know what to expect. When I was pregnant with my second I lay on my bed door 2 hours during the day for a rest and watched dr phil and Oprah and my 2 year old had a sleep or played in his cot. It can be done and I was able to look after myself as well. It sounds so daunting knowing how much work one baby is but you find a rhythm and it is very joyful having 2 kids and the older one loves having a little baby to fuss over. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  14. Three bairns, born within 4 years. Yes, it was / is a bit crazy,but wouldn't change a thing. Just like the way your heart seems to grow to accommodate each child, so does your time. You get great at multi-tasking and also at letting go.

    Don't think too much about it, Gaby. These things have a way of working out just fine. x

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  15. My Mum got pregnant with my sister the moment I was out of nappies. I was two and a half when she arrived. I was loud, annoying and quite a lot to take for a young mother (she was 18 when she had me) but I think she managed well. She didn't work until my sister was in kindergarten.

    To be honest, I hated my baby sistor. They put us in one room together, she cried at night and she was just horrible to hang out with. I think we only started getting along better when I was 8 and finally got my own room.

    Through teenage years, we were horrible together, but that's just teenage girls in general I think. We hated each other and it took us both to move out and get an own life until we actually liked each other.

    I think growing up with a sibling quite similar in age is nice because you can teach each other stuff and play together, but I do believe that you love your siblings more (as kids) when you're old enough to accept them as babies or young enough to look up to them. I guess everyone has to find their own way though.

    Personally I think I'd want to enjoy baby time with all of my children and wait until they're a little bit older and not too much work to be taken care of anymore before having the next one. Somehow. Haha.

    I'm still sad you're not pregnant again, though. Clem is too cute, I'm sure two kids of yours would be even cuter haha.

    Lots of love and sorry for my blablablah.

    Maria

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  16. Two girls in 22 months! Love the gap - they're now two and four and adore each other! Currently wondering if I've waited too long to try for a third so loving all these awesome comments! Seems like the gap doesn't matter, we just adapt and always grow more love xx

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  17. aw, I have always wanted to name my little girl Clementine, so precious. <3

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  18. I don't think there is any perfect age gap. Some things are easier with having babies closer together and some are harder. My two are 3 years and 1 month apart. The good things were that my son was out of nappies, mostly out of the stroller and old enough to understand if he had to wait a little while for something while I was feeding his sister, and understood more about what was happening. I did feel like I was going to die when he decided to stop napping at 2 and a half, when I was pregnant and exhausted. They adore each other, and manage to play quite well despite the gap. The difficult things were that he was old enough to remember being an only child and to miss that amount of attention, and that he and my daughter aren't always interested in the same outings and activities.

    Some friends had babies eighteen months apart which seemed like utter madness to me at the time (one toddler worked out that his mum couldn't pick him up if she had the baby strapped to her and took to refusing to come off play equipment or climb in the pram), but I can see the advantages now - with babies close together (especially if you end up with the same gender) you can often combine activities, excursions and don't need to hang on to toys and clothes for handing on for as long.
    I think it hits a point when you suddenly feel ready for another baby - for me it was when my son was almost two. I think this is closely related to when the first baby starts sleeping properly!

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  19. I'm 34 years old, and have a daughter who is almost 13 now.
    And I'm sooo longing for another child. Me and my man have been trying for a year now, and I hope our wish will come through soon.
    So there will be a BIG age cap between my two darlings. lol.

    But then again, I was so young when I had my first, I wasn't really ready to become a mother, so this possible 2 time around will be a lot different.

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  20. Gaby, I feel exactly the same. Here I am, enjoying every single moment with Alexander, thinking how wonderful to be able to devote all my love and time to him and him only. Also not sure how I could possibly cope with another baby so soon!!

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  21. Having two at exactly two years apart has been challenging, sure, but absolutely amazing all the same. They are SO close. Sofia teaches Alba everything, and they're interested in the same types of things. Certain times of day you just have to find what works (like naptime and bedtime, for example). We were so excited to have Sofia sleeping in her own toddler bed before the baby came, but some nights, it's me feeding Alba while scratching Sofia's back and one-handedly trying to read her a story all in the same bed. Other nights, I can split things up - Erick takes care of bedtime routine for one, and I the other. Sometimes it's like an assembly line. Sometimes I just give up completely and wait until they pass out on their own! Haha. The transition to two wasn't as scary as I thought, but to me, transitioning to three (if we decide to) completely terrifies me. We'd be outnumbered! What then! What if it were twins?! ...... ha!

    xx

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