Having Children Close In Age or Far Apart? What Gives

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My mom had three babies in three years. That sounds hectic, and when I asked her how she managed, she just shrugged and said there were many people who were willing to help her then as a young house.  Still…it couldn’t have been easy.

I also grew up with a mom (I call her my second mom. She was the one who warned me not to scream while in labour, else I would scream throughout my labour room experience), who had six children, just a few years apart. When I look at our old pictures, I usually laugh how we all looked like a ragtag team, just a head taller than the next younger fellow.  

It looks beautiful now, with all us of grown and mostly on our own, it looks like something a mom would want to give a try…heaven help her. But I trust most moms would not intentionally do that to themselves.

When I had my first twins, I wanted to wait five years and was even thinking of giving up on having more babies, when I got pregnant with my second set.  The younger twins came 8 weeks before the older ones turned four years old.

Today, I thank God every day for that age gap, because they (the older twins) are old enough to do some chores, get their younger ones to sit still, help them with assignments and keep them occupied, when I’m occupied myself. It’s generally a good one for me to have had that number of years between them, even though I never planned it.

Also, I was fully recovered from the ravages of pregnancy, childbirth and even all the sleepless nights. I had even started to forget what it was like to have babies, when I was rudely awakened. I was even back to my pre-pregnancy weight, had a really flat tummy and doing small shakara. If only I knew something was going to bend me out of shape soon.

Anyways, by the time I got pregnant again, I was fully recovered and in good health physically. This meant that my babies had a lot more chance of growing healthily, than if my health had been poorly.

By the time I had the younger twins, the older twins were fully settled into life. We had established a routine. Our bond was strong. The way they connected with the babies was amazing. They quarrel a lot now, sometimes its boys versus girls, sometimes its the older versus younger, and sometimes it’s one against the other three (that is something my younger daughter excels at). She is a one-man battalion.

During the pregnancy, they loved to pat my stomach and chat with the babies. They doted on the youngsters and told everyone who cared to listen that their mom had just had twins, when I had the babies.

The only downer for me was the shock of sleepless nights, feeding frenzy, diapers and more diapers, several years after I thought I had finished.  But we are over that stage now and I must tell you, it feels good.

Meanwhile, someone with whom I had my second set of twins has gone on to have two more children in that time. And all I can say is, thank God for grandmas. I understand her own reasons for her fast paced childbirths.  She married as an older lady and to be blessed in with kids in quick succession was very much welcome, so she had them as they came.

When she was pregnant with her last child, she had a preeclampsia scare. Her blood pressure was just going up, and here was a woman staring directly at her 40th birthday. The doctors were literally hovering over her. She spent sometime in the hospital, took time off work and was mightily happy that she got a girl, after two boys. That young lady is over one year old and previously, by this time, she would have been rocking a bump but there is none yet. So, I guess it’s safe to say she’s stopped trying for more babies.

Since I have discussed the benefits and not-so-nice parts of having children far apart, below are the benefits of having them closer in age. However in the end, it’s all dependent on you and what you decide is best for your family of course, alongside your partner, after all it takes two to tango.

As a mom with children closer in age, you will become an efficient machine. Yes, those first few years with two under 2 will go by in a zombie-like blur, but the upside is that you become incredibly efficient at diapering, bathing and all those other day-to-day tasks.  You will be able to do them in your sleep.  That is how good you will become. Nothing will faze you. It’s just another day in the business of parenting.

In fact, you may find yourself with more time to spend doing other activities with your kids than moms with a bigger age gap between kids do.

Your kids could become closer. While there may be more squabbles, kids so close in age can be closer emotionally too, sharing friends and enjoying the same games, TV shows and activities, so that’s great.

The drawbacks to having kids close together are the intense needs of toddlers and babies and the toll on the mother’s body. When you have two young children you have two sets of diapers, two kids who may not sleep through the night, two kids to potty train. Everything is doubled, I can tell you. You won’t find it funny but when it’s over and done with, that is it.

Additionally, the physical toll on the mother’s body may be hard to bear. Your body will just be recovering from the previous birth and you are probably still breastfeeding. It’s a lot going on in the body at the same time.

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is also strongest when babies are closer in age. Everyone wants attention, a piece of momma. At those times, you need help and God to pull through.

One year, two years, 3, 4 years gap, it’s all numbers! “You better do what you want to do on time,” so says one grandma to her daughter, who had been waiting for seven years.

Godspeed mamas.

 

Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here

Photo credits:

1. https://pbs.twimg.com

2. http://t05.deviantart.net/

3. http://cdn.drprem.com/

 

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