Spacing Out the Little Ones: To Wait or Not to Wait
I've gone pretty public about being happy with our family's decision (and luck) with spacing our children exactly two years apart (almost to the day). But now that I'm knee deep in the process of raising those four children, it has really hit me how close in age they are really are.
I know other people have a lot closer spacings — like this mom, who had six kids in three years, a feat made possible by a natural set of triplets — but I also know that a lot of mothers wonder if there is a magical spacing for their children.
And while I don't think there is a magical amount of time for spacing your babies, I do think there are pros and cons of having kids so closely together that I honestly didn't consider that much when I was popping out children every other year. So let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of having kids that are close in age, shall we?
Pros 0f Having Children Closely Together
Easier. I feel like, in a way, having had my kids closer together has been a tad easier — almost like it's been a blur the past eight years in a way that if I would have stopped to breathe, I might have thought “What the heck am I doing?!” and stopped having children.
Savings on baby stuff. There is a lot of gear that comes along with having kids — especially young kids — and that stuff doesn't last forever. Car seats, for example, expire after six years, so if you decide to space your babies out, you will have to buy all new equipment. And in the meantime, where do you store it all? We just hit the expiration date for all of Baby #1's gear, so we know full well how nice it feels to save on that baby stuff.
The wear and tear on you. Oh, man. Birthing and raising four kids hasn't been kind to my body. I am not a dainty, nor a delicate pregnant person, and in many ways, I'm glad I got the damage over quickly because I feel like I could enjoy my kids and wait a little bit before diving back into exercising more rigorously.
They grow up as friends. Friends who also fight. A lot.
Not enough time to enjoy the kids. My husband and I were just discussing this last night, and we felt — with a lot of sadness — that we didn't have time to truly enjoy our kids when they were so little. We have been on survival mode so often that it's almost become auto pilot. Now that our oldest is almost 8, we definitely feel a lot of regret for not being able to enjoy all of the little moments more.
Health risks. The risk to your body is different. If you have a baby too quickly after a previous one, or if you wait too long between pregnancies — there are risks either way. Your baby is more at risk for being premature if you get pregnant within six months of giving birth or if you waited more than five years.
Missing out on older siblings with a baby. Call me crazy, but I think that there is something so magical and wonderful about having a baby in the house with older siblings. Nothing brings happiness to a family like a baby in the midst, and no matter what's going on with stress and high school or dating, if you have a baby to break all that up, it just seems like even the angriest of teens would be able to muster a smile. You know what I'm saying? Babies = happiness.
So now that we've talked about all of this, I am realizing it's not entirely helpful, right? The bottom line is that we don't always even have a choice about how to space our children, and every family is different. But I know that, for me, having had four kids pretty closely together, I find myself longing for a big, fat break before (and if!) we decide to have another baby. That way, I would get to experience the best of both worlds.
How far apart did you space your pregnancies?