I think before you’ve even thought about actually trying for a baby and realising just how much it’s going to change your view and perspective about just about everything in the world – you have a plan about the kind of age gap you want.
I mean, assuming you want more than one kid that is.
I know I did. I’m one of five – my older two brothers are from my dad’s first marriage and I’m the eldest of the three from his second. We were all born within three and a half years and we’re scattered across four school years. We grew up playing Nintendo 64 together, building dens together, having constant friendship overlaps and bickering over what to watch on the television. And I knew, from the moment I was old enough to start planning what I wanted my adult life to look like, that I wanted the same – I wanted my hypothetical children to have the same experience I did. That was, until I had my first and everything changed.
I spoke to seven incredible women all with varying age gaps between their kids to discuss just what kind of impact it’s made on their experience of motherhood.
Nine and a half month gap.
Emz Wratting, 28, is a Cabin Manager and has two sons: Parker who is 17 months and Hudson who is 7 and a half months.
She says: ‘We wanted a 3/4 year age gap between our first and trying for a sibling, so our second was a complete surprise. We were gob smacked when we found out, as our first was only 12 weeks old. One boozy New Year’s Eve bash and ONE forgotten pill and we were pregnant.’
‘Hudson’s first few weeks was a complete blur and it still is now, as he shocked us by coming seven weeks early. I had a lot of negativity when I was pregnant about it being hard work, but overall the whole experience of having them close has not been as intense as I’d expected.’
‘Daily routine is pretty casual, we don’t have any set times for bottles/naps, I find everything naturally falls around the same time. I really believe for the day to run smoothly organization is key, the baby bag is always packed the night before for the following day, the bottles are prepared and their outfits will all be laid out for the morning. ‘
‘Getting out the front door still remains the hardest and most stressful part of the day. I’ve cried more times trying to get out the door than I have in the middle of the night doing night feeds. Everything feels like it’s against me, but when I’m in the car pulling off the drive (sweating). I take a deep breath or a sip of coffee and proceed with my day.’
‘I like people’s faces when I tell them they are 9.5 months apart, always a conversation starter that’s for sure!’
Follow Emz at @emzwratting.
Nineteen month age gap.
Chaneen Saliee, 27, is an author, Owner of Chic and Discreet Breastfeeding Wear, illustrator and English Teacher. She has two daughters: Jasmine who is 32 months and Ocean who is 12 months.
She says: ‘I didn’t plan either of my girls and I panicked quite a bit during the early stages of both pregnancies. Questioning what am I going to do? How am I going to cope?’
‘It was pretty easy introducing Ocean to Jasmine. We had been preparing Jasmine for a sibling from as soon as we announced we were pregnant. We read books, found songs on YouTube and bought a little baby doll that did everything with us, from bath times to breastfeed.’
‘I had a home birth with Ocean and Jasmine came home the next day. We also didn’t wean Jasmine off breastmilk, so when Ocean arrived they bonded during tandem breast feeding sessions.’
‘My absolute favourite thing about thing a 19 month age gap is that the girls are interested in similar things now. We wake up in the morning, play and dance a little. Then we have some breakfast. Once we’ve eaten I’ll let them free play or watch some TV while I write or get some editing done.’
‘We also have lots of breastfeeding sessions throughout the day too. We take a nap together about lunch time, sometimes we eat before and sometimes we eat after. Once we wake up the girls usually have some time with their dad.’
‘ I’m most looking forward to watching them play and have conversations and communicate with each other. I remember making up pretend languages with my brother, we were 14 months apart and we were and still are so close.’
Follow Chaneen at @chaneensaliee.
Two year age gap.
Debbie Le, 43, is a full-time influencer and has two kids: Roman who is six and Rosie who is four.
She says: ‘Both Luke (my husband) and I have siblings who are the same age gap and we were and still are really close to them so we wanted that for our two.’
‘It was tough having Roman still in nappies and me breastfeeding and managing my time with both of them. He still needed my attention and help with most things and I was also advised that having a toddler is the most dangerous around a baby, so there was that to consider too! If I needed a wee, I remember putting Rosie in her cot and Roman in another room with the stair gate on.’
‘The hardest thing ever I think was the sleepless nights, which were torture. I suffered with PND with my first and completely lost my self, my confidence and my identity and I was so miserable. I didn’t expect it to be so hard and I was completely out of my depth. I knew I had to get help and implemented a routine and sleep trained Roman, and once I got the sleep things started to get better.’
‘I’m also really lucky – well, it depends how you look at it – but I live next door to my mother in law and she is absolutely amazing. She helps me out so much and I couldn’t do what I do without her help. She does the morning school runs for me and often can take the kids last minute if I have to work!’
‘Things I’m looking forward to: The closeness. The bond. The friendship. That they can look out for each other. If they are anything like us and our siblings then I know we’ve done a great job!’
Follow Debbie at @thefashionablepan.
Two and a half year age gap.
Morgan Alice, 27, is a full-time mum and part-time blogger, she has two kids: Alice who is just under three, and Walter who is four months old. You can read her blog here.
She says: ‘As soon as I had Alice, I was sure I wanted another, but practically I didn’t think I could handle two babies. We lived in a small, terraced, two bedroom house and it was already feeling a bit claustrophobic. I said to my husband that in an ideal world I would like to be in a bigger house, have Alice sleep through the night and get a bit more freedom back before having number two. As soon as we moved in to a new house (I’m talking the first or second night!) I got pregnant.’
‘I think the second round in general is easier than expected! I’d prepared myself for what is was like the first time (days in bed/no sleep/no routine etc) but also a toddler in the mix, so much worse… and the reality is, it’s actually easier!’
‘I’d geared myself up for a lot of emotions and jealousy with Alice but the reality was she either really cute with him 20% of the time and nonplussed the rest.’
‘The best bits were in the morning when she would be so happy to see him
and would show him alllll the love, which made my heart melt. She’s also always been really good at passing me muslins, bottles and dummies. I think maybe toddlers are just a lot more resilient than we give them credit for.
‘Alice doesn’t go to nursery yet so my mum has her once a week and I get the day just Walter and me, it’s lovely!’
Follow Morgan at @morganalicebeauty.
Four year age gap.
Candice Brathwaite, 32, is a presenter, writer and founder of online initiative Make Motherhood Diverse. She has two kids: Esmé who is six and RJ who is two. You can pre-order Candice’s debut book here.
She says: ‘My birth with Esmé was very traumatic. I developed an infection which led to Sepsis and was separated from her for over a month. Having another child was never in the plan but alas, I fell pregnant with her brother RJ almost four years later.’
‘I’m the eldest of three, all with seven years between us – to a single mum. I noticed how I thought that was too big of a gap and a lot of responsibility fell on me, the eldest. Before having children, whenever I would fleetingly think about motherhood, I always remembered that I didn’t want that.’
‘Esmé came to see me in hospital in the evening on the day RJ was born. She was so overwhelmed she burst into tears but it was love at first sight. She’s been a great help and now refers to him as her best friend. Although his communication isn’t as developed as hers, I can tell the feeling is mutual.’
‘The only thing that’s been harder than expected is going to work. There are now two little people to consider. Two little people who can get sick. Two people who miss their mama if she has to work away. That’s always tough.’
‘I’m looking forward to them having each other. I was my dad’s only child and when he died I would’ve walked over fire to have a sibling to share that loss with. No matter what happens to their parents should nature play fair, they have each other for the foreseeable. That’s a gift you really can’t buy.’
Follow Candice at @candicebrathwaite.
Six year age gap.
Georgia Howell, 29, is a waitress and mum to two boys: Harrison who is eight and Ronnie who is 22 months. She has a third due this summer.
She says: ‘After I had Harrison I always said I only wanted one baby, but then I met Franco and we were together for a couple of years and we decided together that we wanted a baby together. Harrison was from a previous relationship and wasn’t planned.’
‘Harrison is a massive help! He helps to tidy up a lot, he brings nappies and wipes, he even makes Ronnie’s bottle sometimes! I know he’s a big help for Franco when I’m at work 3 nights a week.’
‘Watching Ronnie try to copy Harrison and wanting him to play with him is my favourite thing, and the way the play together (sometimes) even in the morning I can hear them from my room. Harrison will go into Ronnie and I can hear them laughing and playing!’
‘’m looking forward to them looking out for each other when they’re older and hopefully always being best friends, and Harrison being able to teach Ronnie so many different things.’
Follow Georgia at @georgia_lee_howells
Eight year age gap.
She says: ‘I always pictured that we would have kids a couple of years apart but after having my eldest, in 2010, I had post natal depression and it made me reluctant to have another baby because I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to cope. When my eldest was three, I felt stronger and we decided to try to have another baby. But two years later, I still wasn’t pregnant and we went to speak to a fertility doctor who confirmed that I was suffering from secondary infertility.’
‘It was most probably caused by PCOS and endometriosis, which I’ve known I suffer from since my early 20s. We then spent two years trying different fertility treatments including two rounds of IVF. The first one failed and the second one resulted in twins!’
‘I think because our eldest was eight, she really understood that two new babies getting all of our attention didn’t mean we love her any less. She was super excited to become a sister and helped loads.’
‘It’s been so much easier second time around, even with twins! The hardest thing first time around is not knowing anything and having to learn it all and muddle through.’
‘It can be tricky to do stuff as a family because what the 9yo wants to do is different to what the twins want to do. But we manage! We usually split out time between them and one of us takes the 9yo to the cinema or out for the day.’
Follow Alison at @iamalisonperry.