The wait for Baby 2.0.
Three years and nine months. That’s the gap we’ll have between our two loves. I’ve found it really interesting, and surprising, how many people comment on that. “Oh wow you waited a while to go again, crappy birth?” or “great idea having a big gap, she’ll be so helpful,” or my favourite “aren’t you worried they won’t be close?”
I’ve read all the “Perfect age gap” articles to hear enough about the pros and cons of close gaps and bigger ones, and the one consistent conclusion they all come to, ‘whatever suits your family.’ Well this almost four-year gap, suits us perfectly.
We had many reasons for waiting;
We wanted to make the most out of her being our only child. She is very attached to us both and we’ve spent a lot of time together as a family. Although we’ve always known how much a sibling would enrich her life, and surround her with even more love, we weren’t ever in any kind of rush to burst our little family of three bubble. The holidays, weekend adventures, bedtime routines and happiness. We love our little life together, and as much as we absolutely knew we wanted another bubba, and wanted Milla to be a big sister, we were always going to make sure we soaked up as much special time with our first-born as we could before going again.
- Spreading it out.
So many friends and family have made passing comments about getting that whole ‘baby/toddler phase’ over and done with. Have kids close, move on from sleep deprivation, feeding, the chaos of noise, toys and little hands all over the house, but we don’t want that stage over and done with. We loved Milla’s newborn stage, baby stage, toddler stage, and now little girl stage. Granted we know we were lucky and had it pretty easy as she was an easy baby/toddler, but to think that those years could be all over and done with so quickly makes us really upset. So, no, we don’t want to rush through it. Doesn’t mean we think differently of anyone who does, that’s just us. My husband tells me he thinks we’ll just have to keep having kids every few years, for as long as is possible, because of how sad it will be when there are no little hands to wrap inside our own anymore. Whilst I won’t be spending my days continually reproducing like he might like, I do think about the same things and how if I can spread this special time out, I will.
I was 26 when we got married and we decided we’d try for a baby on our honeymoon. Fortunately, we seem to be quite fertile and were lucky enough to conceive straight away, meaning I turned 27 two weeks before Milla was born, which to me didn’t seem that young at all. However, when looking at my colleagues and the ages they first had children, it was relatively young. I suppose having our first child in our twenties meant we didn’t feel that biological clock ticking. We didn’t worry about how quickly we needed to go again just because of our age, and we thought/hoped we’d have a good ten-year window, if needed, for having more children. I’ve never been someone who wanted to make sure I was finished having children by 30, or 35, or anything like that, and my husband feels the same. So, with no big concerns around age effecting fertility, and for me having a career I love, I didn’t particularly want to stop working again and have another baby so soon. In our eyes, we had time.
- We’ve been tricked!
Milla was an easy baby, easy toddler, and besides the odd emotional three-year-old melt down, she’s an easy and very loving little girl. So, I am absolutely adamant our next one won’t be easy. We’ve been tricked into thinking this whole parenthood gig isn’t as hard as we’d heard and the biggest factor, she’s always slept! You’re not supposed to get your good sleeper first up, you get them second, so that you go through the toughest times when you only have one to keep alive, and you get a bit of a break second time round. The three of us love our sleep, and I have no doubt, this baby that already likes to wake me up at all hours of the night with the strongest kicks I’ve ever felt, will want to change that. Who knows, we may get lucky in the sleep department twice, but I’m not holding my breath.
My earliest memory is going to visit my baby brother in hospital the day he was born. I remember my Dad trying unsuccessfully to put my hair up in a pony tail and heading to the toy shop to pick him out a teddy, ‘Blue Ted’. I was just over three and I love that I remember that day. I wanted to make sure Milla was old enough to remember it too, and maybe even remember some of life before her baby brother/sister. Her memory, like a lot of three-year-old’s, is impressive, and she often brings up experiences from family holidays, or birthdays and other special events from the last couple of years. I guess as a Psychology teacher, it’s hard not to think about how I can affect the wiring of her brain by talking about her memories now as much as possible. Of course, there are no guarantees that just because she’s nearly four she will remember meeting her new little bestie, but it does increases her chances. That and the fact that I’m sure we’ll film it and she loves to watch herself on video!
- My heart.
And here’s the biggest one…. Our world is an amazing yet equally scary place! There is absolutely nothing that prepares you for parenthood and the indescribable love you encounter. A big part of your heart will begin to beat outside of your body and there’s nothing you can do about that. Milla is our world, and to be honest sometimes taking her out of the safety of our house into the real world has been hard. I had never known anxiety until first falling pregnant, and it’s just never left. We fiercely protect our child, like any parents. I try really hard to give her space, and let her take risks, because I know how vital that is for learning, but I have to consciously work on that. If I had my way we would never not be holding hands when out in public, and I’d have a surveillance camera on her at all times. But she can’t grow that way, and I have to learn to trust, both her and others. However, trust has never been something I’m very good at. So as long as there are horrible people in our world, and horrible things happening in our world, I will never be good with trust. Throwing one little love out into this world is hard enough, let alone another. Two children mean, in my way too mathematical and sometimes irrational mind, twice as much chance of our hearts possibly one day breaking, and I don’t know how anyone can recover from that.
Don’t get me wrong, we desperately want and love this baby who is about to enter our world. We waited until the time was right for our little family, and Milla was old enough to really want, and be excited about, a sibling. Neither of us are worried about loving this baby as much as we do Milla, we already do, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t worried about all of the above, plus some! I’ve know I’ve said it before, but parenthood really is a privilege, and in no way a right. Our lives are better, and our world is better, for the love we put in it through our children, and as scared as we are, we cannot wait to meet our littlest love! xx
Written by Alana Godwin. You can follow her on Instagram over at @neonlulu