Planning a second baby – already?

Laurence and I joke that I could write a book on minor pregnancy discomforts since I seem to have had such a textbook gestation period so far that almost everything that can be got has been got. So, welcome, all-day-all-night sickness, fiery nipples, jaunty pelvic girdle, anaemia, swollen cankles and a host of other stuff I’m too much of a ‘lady’ to mention. If it’s part of the package, I’ve probably had it at some point – or will!

I’m a walking, talking contraceptive for my brother’s girlfriend at the moment who took one look at me adjusting my bump while waddling and told him: “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want kids.” Of course, we saw a group of very cute little girls a few minutes later and she retracted the statement, so we’ll just have to make sure to give her a picture for her purse of me wincing while trying to turn over in bed.

Lately, I’ve been so wiped out and generally uncomfortable (I know, at 35 weeks? I must be a wimp) that I’ve been thinking I need to write a letter to myself to remember that I don’t want to do this again in a hurry. I mean, what if the weird hormones running through my body suddenly tell me that having two babies at the same time is no great shakes?

There is certain hilarity in this, of course. I’m making assumptions about a number of things – recovery, sex, energy, my mental and reproductive health and the baby’s overall health – but, of course, it does happen. A friend of mine is 11 months older than her brothers. I’m only 14 months older than my brother, which means that my mum went through this whole thing again 5 months after having me! That blows my mind right now but it’s completely normal for so many families and so many cultures.

It begs the question: what is a reasonable age gap? I love that my brother and I are close in age. It meant lots of bickering growing up but it also meant we played together lots, shared our friends and have gotten close as we’ve grown up, even if we do still know how to wind each other up. I’m not sure I would have related to him quite as well if he were, say, 3 or 4 years younger. And I wouldn’t let the dread of another hellish first and a half trimesters deter me from giving the creature the opportunity to have that relationship, if it’s possible.

Of course, I need to plop this one out first and see how it goes but I can’t help but think about this stuff. After all, we’ll be back to sorting out our contraception quite soon. Maybe I’m the one who needs that photo in her purse.

Image by Laurence Jarrett-Kerr

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  • I would give yourself a healthy break and not worry about the age gap. My sister and I are 3 years apart and very close, and my little brother and I are 19 years apart and close too. Know what you mean about these later stages of pregnancy. Utter bobbins.

    • I like the sound of a healthy break and will try not to give into my natural default: worry! Enough things to think about without adding child spacing to the mix, I’m sure! Great to hear you’re close to both your siblings too.

  • My brother and I are a couple years apart and we’re really close; not sure how mum felt about it but she didn’t have anymore kids after that!

    • My hat’s off to whoever goes through the first trimester more than twice! But then, that’s because I haven’t experienced childbirth yet! Nice gap, though. That’s the kind I fancy, myself… (as if I can just pick it off a menu!)

  • My children have an age gap of 3 years and it works for us. We don’t have any families nearby to help,so a closer age gap would be just too much.Also, I wanted breastfeed my daughter until at least 2.5 years should she wean during pregnancy.

  • I think 2 -3 years is ideal…but just last night I was chatting to one of my friends from school (who has just the one) and we were saying that only children have their advantages too. Often I think of Johan – what an advertisement for an only child, really! In the end, these decisions are often taken out of our hands, and (as your friends’ comments suggest) things work out well regardless. Same story with plus-es and minus-es of having different genders (which I would have liked, but wouldn’t change my boys for anything). I also find the current trend of being able to choose your child’s gender faintly disturbing…. or is that because I am slightly jealous that I never had that opportunity?? Hmmm….not sure…..:-)

    • I know we’re limited in being able to plan things but if I’m honest with myself, I’d rather not have just one child. I have two close friends who have always wished they had siblings and I’ve benefited massively from having my brother (don’t get a big head, if you read this, Liam). I’m uncomfortable with people getting hung up on the gender thing, to be honest. As for choosing gender, that’s currently illegal here but I’ll be honest about my discomfort with the idea.

  • gosh are you 35 weeks already?

    i waited two minutes the first time and four years the second and it has been fab but I think whenever they arrive you adore them so much the age gap will be just perfect!

  • After having Littler I instructed my best friend – who arrived within hours of the baby arriving – that she had to keep reminding me that it HURT a LOT if I started to sound broody again!

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