‘So are you thinking of having another one?’, ‘When are you going to start trying for baby number two?’, ‘You know two years is a really good age gap to start trying again!’.
Since my little boy turned two I have been asked when baby number two will be making an appearance. A lot of the Mums, friends and celebrities who were pregnant/had babies around the same time I had my LB are either trying again or have just announced they’re expecting #2. I can admit each time I am told or see that another person is pregnant a part of me is broody for another one, seeing someone pregnant out and about or on the train with a baby on board badge makes me smile and think back to how much I loved my bump and being pregnant but I just don’t think I’m quite ready yet.
I am guilty of saying at every month that Frankie grows ‘this is my favourite age’ but this age (despite the almighty occasional terrible two tantrums, abbreviated TTT) 2 and a bit really is my favourite age! He doesn’t rely on me solely to keep him alive, he can tell me when he’s hungry, when he wants juice and when he is ready for bed, he sings, he dances and is honestly the funniest little thing! I can walk out of a room for longer than a 30 second toilet run without panicking if he’s rolled off the sofa or banged his head into the table and nothing compares to hearing your little one tell you they love you! Am I ready to start from scratch just yet? The new-born stage is just not fun, everyone tells you to cherish those first 6 weeks, enjoy every 3am feed and cuddle because they only stay that small for so little – whilst I love my son, I cannot remember fully those first 6 weeks they were a blur of nappies, breast milk and unwashed hair. I couldn’t fathom the time, day or the time of day!
I feel emotion and guilt of wanting another one right now, that guilt is my biggest factor putting me off baby #2, that I wouldn’t have enough of me to share with Frankie right now, I don’t want to miss out on his traits and milestones because I’m too tired from the night feeds and literal sh*t storm that comes with a new baby. Another part of me thinks I am guilty for not giving him a sibling with a small age gap and I worry if I leave it too long they won’t bond. On the other hand once he is older will he adopt the dominant brother role easier as he will understand a lot more than he would now?
According to studies the ideal age gap is 24-36 months between first and second sibling and further research says that a 3 year age gap upwards reduces ‘sibling rivalry’. A lot of Mums like the idea of having 3 under 3, getting them all out at once, dealing with the nappy/milk/routine roundabout all at once then enjoying them all growing up together where other Mums have a firm 3-4 year age gap between their children. One opinion I’ve been told by many is to wait until Frankie is out of nappies to think about having another, apparently this makes it a lot easier on yourself?!
Finances aren’t meant to play a part ‘if a baby is meant to be it will come whether you plan or not’ (coming from someone who found out at 16 weeks pregnant I can assure you this is very true) but money does play a massive part in deciding whether to have baby #2. For a working Mum, childcare costs will play a huge factor nowadays, especially with the funding for 3 year olds, seems a no brainer to wait until #1 is 3+, unless you qualify for the 2 year funding, but if you don’t then paying x2 lots of childcare plus maintaining a job, is it going to be worth it? Or should you consider going part time or even staying at home if it isn’t going to be worth the commute to work? A stay at home Mum may need to consider whether they will be able to afford to stay at home once baby #2 comes along, how it will affect budgeting around the house. I am sure I am not alone in saying that I doted on taking Frankie to baby bumpkin classes and sensory too, will financing allow you to do so with #2 or will that be another thing to feel guilty for? Where will #1 be when your ‘bonding’ in a LED lightroom with your new baby?
Getting your other half on board too is another aspect of planning for #2, you both need to be on the same page! Getting the balance between mother and partner is a total see-saw, we can never seem to get the balance right. Adding another baby will inevitably rock the boat once more or maybe your other half will be the one suggesting #2 but you both have to be ready to do it all over again and make time for each other.
No two families are the same, no Mother is the same, I have friends who have a 7 year age gap before having #2 and others who have decided to maintain close age gaps and are on their 3rd under 3!
I know I want more children but I don’t think I am in a rush to just yet, in an ideal world I would just know when I expect to be ready but I don’t, it may be tomorrow, it may not be for another year or so but when I do decide I am ready to start again it’ll be the start of another exciting journey!