That said, like Drummer's Wife, I now have a 2.5 yo with no younger sibling (for the moment!) and it has be delicious to be able to focus on him and enjoy him the way I have.
I do think people love what they have.
I wanted my kids close together because I came from a big happy tribe and loved my childhood. I didn't think we'd be able to have more than 2 or 3 (I'm 42 now and started having children in my mid-30s) but I thought that if my kids were close in age that would at least approximate the feeling of being in a large family.
They are really so fun and engaged with each other, and with DH and me. We've traveled and lived in many places, so I think that is why the friendships are so strong. It really is wonderful to be able to move when your best friend moves, and bring him/her/them along on vacations!
Closeness is totally personality dependent, and a baby needs a lot of attention to develop to their best, so I'd be upset if I'd had to skimp on care and attention for a baby because the other child was also a baby. And three year olds are so difficult I wouldn't want one with a baby.
Ours are 2.5 years apart (intentionally), and it's confirmed my opinion that 4 is the best spacing.
As for what's natural, evolution doesn't want what's best for our kids, it gets what gets most if them to breeding age alive and healthy. Also, we evolved in a feast-or-famine situation, where a well nourished mother should maximise the number of offspring she has while the going's good, and have fewer when the going's tough. What's natural has no bearing or relevance to what's psychologically easiest or best for mother or children.
Between Janelle and Travis there is 5 years
Between Janelle and River there will be 6 1/2 years
Between Kincaid and Travis there is 3 1/2 years
Between Kincaid and River there will be 5 years
Between Travis and River there will be 21 months
Between #1 and #2 18 months
Between #2 and #3 3 1/2 years
Between #3 and #4 21 months.
I think 3 1/2 years was too big of a gap, Travis I think would forever be left out if we didn't have River, cause Janelle and Kincaid are so close and do so much together. If it wasn't for Kincaid's pregnancy being really difficult and then Kincaid himself having so many issues medical and developmental we would never of waited so long.
I loved the 18 month age gap, we tried for that with Travis and River, but didn't get pregnant as fast with River as we had in the past, and that's fine, I'm sure 21 months will be just as good...plus, Travis is not as advanced or as mature as (or as big, which is pretty shocking considering Janelle wasn't even on the growth charts) Janelle was at 18 months, so the few extra months may even help.
Interesting reading about ecological spacing. I took several anthro and family management courses in university where we studied family life in primitive tribes but this was either not mentioned, or I've forgotten it entirely. What you are doing sounds a lot like attachment parenting, which is what most people on this site practice, so it seems to me the difference between you and other mamas on this site would be the philosophy of spacing children 5 years apart. The difference would be that you are purposely creating the gap with knowledge of ways our lifestyle has changed our fertility, while others are perhaps letting it happen more naturally.
FWIW, I weaned DD at 12 months, but was nursing only once through the night from about 6 months, and my period returned at 9 months post partum. I then got pg with DS when DD was 12 months, hence the 21 month spacing. With DS, though, I was nursing on demand, throughout the night and day until about 2yrs, and my period returned at 19 months.
Mine are nearly 6 years apart (we were shooting for a five year gap and it took longer than expected ) and we loooooooove it. My older was very independant when the babe was born (able to make his own sandwiches, pour drinks, shower, brush teeth, clean his room, read etc etc) and was very understanding that the baby needed a lot of things. We never experienced a regression (although we were prepared for one) and there really wasn't much of an adjustment period in comparison to our friends who had closer spacing. My boys adore each other (thus far) and I expect they will continue to (to a certain degree).
My closest sister and I are five years apart (I have two younger than her) and we are best friends. We've always been pretty close.
Breeder Mama: = wife to an amazing man + mama to J-Bear (07/02) and E-Train (06/08), nanny to Little Bird (07/10).
Our kids are 2 yrs 9 months apart. It was a pretty rough first year after DS was born, but for a lot of reasons.
We started ttc when DD turned 2 and got pregnant right away. The spacing has been great. They love each other to death and are getting to the point now that they are playing together.
"IF YOU ARE NOT OUTRAGED, THEN YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION."
If we have any more, we'll space them further apart. I definitely don't want to be pregnant again until my youngest weans, which I wouldn't expect till around at least 3.
mama to H. 4/05 and A. 9/08 and baby C. 10/11
I didn't plan them so close, obviously, and the first two years were *really* hard, particularly because it is so hard to AP. Not impossible, but really, really, really wearing. It would have been easier, I think, if my son were a little older than 15 months when his sister was born and requiring so much attention..when he was such a HN little guy and required 24/7 closeness.
Another downside? The sleep thing. Neither of them are "good" sleepers and when one of them might STTN, the other one is up. We have had exactly five nights of both of them STTN in the past few years. Five. (Counting last night, if anyone feels like celebrating with me. )
However, they are 3.5 and not-quite 2.5 right now, and the benefits are starting to show themselves. They are becoming good playmates. I actually didn't see them for 45 minutes the other day since they were playing together in my daughter's room. I could hear them playing firefighter and putting out fires on the bed and dresser together, and they were just wonderful together. They are playing so much pretend together, and I love it. They fight, naturally, but when they play together well, they play together really well!
That is my experience, FWIW. Closer sibs, IME, is beginning to be really fun.
I don't know how I'll like it yet.
My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.
With my son I dreamed of 2 years apart. But when he hit 15 months I just wasn't ready to give up the bond I had with him. Found myself preg. a few months after his 2nd b-day - they would have been exactly 3 years apart, same due date. Felt, wow, 3 years is gonna be perfect! BUT I m/c. Time passed, 2 more m/c... my girls were born when he was 4y4m - longer than I thought I'd like but there's been some positives. He can help with the babies a LOT. He can even lug them around to pull them out of danger. He can bring me things or he can do a lot of things for himself if I am busy with a baby and he needs/wants something.
Still... it's a little longer than I'd like... though he has a great bond with one of the babies (and doesn't seem to like the other one as much) I do worry about whether or not they'll ever really play together. But as adults, I think they'll be close. Four years is NOTHING to an adult.
If I have one more I am hoping for a 2-3 year gap.
nak DS S 4/1/11
We are not planning on having another child as soon (DH isn't sure about if at all), and really I don't think DS would handle it very well at all if we did (and I wouldn't either - DS is so busy and young that it would be hard to keep up with him and a newborn).