Torn about when to TTC #2. Wanna advise? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 05-04-2003, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love to hear what other moms with two or more children advise about child spacing. Here are my specs:

I am 32, will be 33 in a few months. My ds is 19 mos, still BF (a LOT!), still co-sleeps, still very much a mama's boy who likes to be held and cuddled and slung. We are in no hurry to rush him out of baby-hood.

BUT, I can feel my clock ticking. AF returned at 5 mos PP, despite 24-hr nursings, and my mom began menopause in her early 40's, so acc. to Christine Northrup (my fav. referfence for women's health issues), I am probably already in peri-menopause, when fertility begins to decline. We were incredibly blessed to conceive on the first attempt last time . . . I think we would never forgive ourselves if we missed these fertile years altogether.

BUT, I have seen so many threads from mamas here who are having a hellacious time with tandem nursing, or even just mothering a toddler and a newborn. Is it fair to ds to disrupt his life so? Is it fair to dc #2 to not get equal attention from us?

Honestly, how DO you AP a toddler and a baby at the same time? I just can't imagine how anyone's needs get fully met -- least of all the mama's!

AND YET, my ds ADORES other children -- he is incredibly social and prefers to be around people (way more interested in people than in things) -- so he might actually love having a sib.

AND, maybe a sib is what he needs to help him realize that he is not the center of the universe, despite EVERYTHING his sweet daddy and I have told him!

So what thinks ye? Should we aim for Baby #2 to be here before ds is 3, right at 3, or after? What have you done, and would you do it again the same way?

(All of this with a big 'ole caveat to Mother Nature -- acknowledging that I do not just get to CHOOSE when to conceive . . . only when to try!)

Please advise, wise mamas!
El
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#2 of 8 Old 05-04-2003, 11:03 PM
 
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My daughter was born when my son was 2 years 9months old. It has been wonderful. He was very much my baby for that time - nursed through my first 4 months of pregnancy and it hurt so much I encouraged him gradually, and at his pace to wean. And he did well with that, too. I was a little afraid of what it would be like, how he would be. We did have a couple rough weeks, his schedule, routine, whole life really was thrown off and it took a little bit to get over that. But really it was just a couple of weeks and it was never about his sister. He loved her from the first day and adores her still. It is amazing to see their relationship blossom. Today he told his dad that she can talk (she is 6 months old, he is now 3 years 4 months) - he was saying that Evie wanted him to wear a certain clothing item - that she uses her eyes and hands to talk to him. He says all the time how cute she is. I think this age difference has given me the ability to have quality time for each. And I also don't have a lot of guilt when my son plays alone because it is pretty much developmentally appropriate at this age. He also has become incredibly attached to his dad and is really bonding with him. Loves to be with him, help him, do "guy"things - again developmentally appropriate. He often will pick dad over me to comfort him, put him to bed. I never thought that would ever happen! Good luck and somehow the age difference always seems to work out. Somehow moms find a way to get through whatever they need to!
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#3 of 8 Old 05-04-2003, 11:04 PM
 
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El, I would not even dare to advise in this area as every family, momma and child are different.

However, I will say that ours are spread apart by 3 years and 2 years and 9 months and it is blissful. I feel like each of my children, as babies, were able to 'be' with me - and have me 'be' with them. Plus, we haven't dealt with the jealousy or the resentment. Mine were fulfilled as babies and have moved on to be confident in my adoration of them and seem to function really well - even being in love with their siblings. Kenny came into so much adoration that he sometimes gets 'touched-out' by his two older sisters.

On the other hand, my best friend has a 23 month old and a brand new 4 week old and a 4 year old. She is going out of her mind drawing the balance. Her 23 month old is VERY jealous of the new baby - not at all ready to NOT be the baby. Her 4 year old, she feels, is not getting the attention he needs. Her 4th son is 10 and he is a huge help to her, but she is constantly having to watch out that the 23 month old doesn't in some way 'hurt' the baby (not violently, but just b/c he isn't at all concerned about the baby).

When I thought I was pregnant in the last two weeks she and I had a long talk (she encouraged me). But when she found out I wasn't, she nearly cried in relief for me. Her days are long and as attached as I would definitely say she is to her children, she is tapped-out, touched-out and physically just on her last rung at the end of the day. It seems she cannot find any renewal time for herself.

I know that the first couple of years are so integral - and the first 5 years in general, such an impactful time in our children's lives. We wouldn't purposely space them closer than what we have, but I think we are probably done anyway. Our family is beginning to feel 'right.'
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#4 of 8 Old 05-04-2003, 11:10 PM
 
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One question? I noticed you mentioned about AF returning at 5 months despite night nursing in the same sentence with being perimenopausal. Does that have a relationship? My cycle returned incredibly early with this baby, though with my son I didn't have one until he was 11 months, and I did wonder if that meant that my body wanted to get my clock going again because maybe the clock wasn't going to be ticking for much longer??
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#5 of 8 Old 05-04-2003, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Jennaleeck and Heather -- It is SO reassuring to hear how happy you are with your spacing. And really, to hear you use words like "blissful" brings me such comfort, probably bc I've heard my share of nightmarish stories about toddlers and baby sibs, even 2.5 yrs apart. So at this point we can probably hold out a few more months to get past the 2.5 yr mark, but hearing how happy you both are gives me baby lust!!!!

And Jennaleeck, yes, that's EXACTLY my concern -- that my body is saying GET ON WITH IT! I also have incredible nipple soreness when I'm about to ovulate, which I'm starting to think is another way my body is saying, DON'T MISS IT THIS TIME! Not to mention that my libido is going thru the roof (hooray! maybe the story about women's sexual pique in their 30's was true after all!!), so I *really* don't want to ignore the signals too long. Whether or not this all part of perimenopause, I don't know. I'd be interested in finding out more, but it doesn't seem to be a subject many people are versed in, huh?

Thanks again, mamas! It makes me so happy to hear about your happiness! (And Heather, HUGS to your friend. EEKS. That's exactly what I DON'T want!)

El
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#6 of 8 Old 05-04-2003, 11:47 PM
 
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Hey, my period returns usually at 8 weeks, but this time it came and then didn't come back. I've had cramping, but no period. I'm just now 30, but can't imagine that I'm perim.
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#7 of 8 Old 05-05-2003, 12:42 AM
 
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I will say first, I did not read all of the replies lol
My children are 2.5 years apart. Ages almost 4 and 18 mos now. I based our decision on the temperment of my first born. He was a very laid back baby, and great toddler, the kind that stopped whatever when you said no, and didn't get into stuff, never climbed on things etc. I barely had to childproof the house for him. I figured he was so easy that I could handle a baby with him. I nurse him 6 mos into my pregnancy(he was a little over 2 when he weaned) My milk dried up about 4 mos into the pregnancy, but he didn't seem to mind. He just slowly fazed out the nursing on his own. I haven't had many problems with the spacing, except that my new baby(18mos) is hell on wheels!!! She is making up for all the things her brother did not do as a toddler lol He is still the same great boy, with a tad of sibling rivalry thrown in, but not jealous or mean to her. He plays with her sings to her, "reads" to her, comforts her and teaches her new things. It's wonderful to see them together and I"m very please with the 2.5 year spacing(I think he was 21 mos when I conceived) Now, after having a monster baby, I am rethinking having a third, and joke that she would be an only child had she been born first, but I love her just the same lol Regardless of how far or close they are spaced you'll have some of the same sibling issues, jealousy etc. But from what I've read it's better to have the second child before the first is 3, as they aren't really old enough to be too jealous of the baby, and haven't had mom and dad to themselves for so long that the resent the intrusion of another child to share mom and dad with. (I don't remember where, but I read this in some psychology book when deciding to have another child)

*edited to add, We had our dd at home, big brother was the first to see her and welcome her into our home, We involved him in every aspect of the pregnancy and birth so he would feel a part of it and not left out or ignored. He slept in the bed with me through the entire 2 hour labor, and to this day sleeps with all of us, so as not to exclude him. I make an extra effort to spend special one on one time with him when dd naps, so he doesn't feel "neglected" b/c she is so demanding of my time when awake. We got him a baby doll when I was preggo to prepare for the baby and he is the BEST little helper, getting clean diapers of her, sharing food and drinks with her, going to her when she cries and comforting her. I would be insane if it weren't for his help
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#8 of 8 Old 05-05-2003, 12:38 PM
 
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AFAIK, there is *NO* relationship between an early return of AF and diminished ovarian reserve (which I think is what you mean by perimenopause). If anything, the opposite would be true. Are there any studies that demonstrate this? I was an avid reader of research around fertility for the 2 years I was TTC, and I have heard nothing of the kind.

Fertility does not start to decline quickly until 35, and even then you have 2-3 years until the chances really plummet. Here's a chart: http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/pre...ems/6155.html. When I was doing IVF at 30, I can't tell you how many doctors told me it would be a slam dunk for me. It wasn't in my case, but I was a statistical anomaly. You have plenty of time to space your children in the way that works best for your family, especially if you got pg on the first try last time you TTC'd. That is the best predictor of your fertility.

If your intuition is really telling you that you have something to worry about, you can go to your doctor for a test of ovarian reserve called a day 3 FSH. It's a blood draw on day 3 of your cycle. Unfortunately, a negative (good) result is not necessarily reliable, so if you're really worried you could do a clomid challenge test, which involves taking clomid for one cycle (days 5-9) and then having your blood drawn on day 3 and day 10. (Clomid is considered to be safe by Hale, though it can reduce supply.) All this is probably completely unneccessary, though. Why not have a chat with your ob/gyn or midwife to discuss your fertility status and family planning?

Do your best to space your children in the way you'd like, and know that you can't always control when you'll have your kids, even with the best of planning (my plan was to have #1 at 29-30, and number 2 a few years later; they came together at 32, and are wonderful!) I agree with the impulse to not wait until you're 40 to TTC, but at your age you've got time to wait a year or two if that's what you think will be best for your family.

Good luck!

Cate

PS: I also wanted to edit this to add that you might want to chart your cycles for a few months to see if there are any red flags like anovulation or a short luteal phase that might give you reason to start sooner than you would otherwise. I'm sure you're aware of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, which gives lots of information.
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