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Timing of 2nd pgcy-Advice needed

1052 Views 19 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  sparklemom
Ok, here is my dilemma. DH is willing to start TTC or at least let "what happens happen" at the first of the new year, not very far away at all. DD will be 18 mos old at that time. She is very very intense and energetic, and only now beginning to sleep better, thank God. I feel overwhelmed by just her so often that I strongly question my ability to keep it together with her AND a needy newborn. Am I not giving myself enough credit for adaptability? Will it be as bad as I think it will? Should I wait til she is 2 to TTC? I mean, there is an off chance it could happen the first month we tried, but I seriously doubt it. Heck, she could BE almost two by the time I actually concieve, and a totally different, more manageable child. I guess in a nutshell this is my problem: I want my children to be close enough together to really be friends but I don't want to take away from needy dd or cause our family undue stress. My dh both works and goes to school part time, and is pretty stressed as it is; he does a lot more to help me than many men in his position that I know of, but I don't know how much he could take. Thanks!
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I used to say that two years was my minimum spacing btwn kids. Now that my first and so far only dd is a spirited age two, I'm so glad that I didn't put that plan into action. I don't think that I could manage morning sickness or a newborn or anything else with her as she is now, or with me as I am now, for that matter (low energy, cranky, stressed).

So, I'm going to wait until I get my groove back and then some, and would suggest the same to anyone, acknowledging the fact, of course, that this is highly personal and every family is different.
I'm really interested in replies to this question as well. I used to think (before I had much, if any, experience being a mom) that the ideal spacing would be to have a second right about when the first turned three. Why? Well because that's how it was in my family of course!

Yeah. So now I'm looking at the calender and that means ttc in three months (assuming I got preg immediately but I think it's likely to be a safe bet since it only took one shot the last time).

But OMG! I don't feel at all confident that I'll be ready for pregnancy by then, not to mention mothering another child! I only feel like I'm just getting my body back and I'm still happily bfing dd and don't want to to wean her but I'm not sure I'm patient enought to bf while preg. ANd I love dd so much I don't want to feel I don't have enough time for her because of a new baby.

So how do you balance that selfish desire to have some personal time, feel fit and not too stressed out with the desire to have your first child's sibling close enough so they grow up able to relate to each other? Should I just suck it up and go for it? Or will I wake up one day feeling suddenly ready to go again?

I know, not questions that can be easily answered but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had these thoughts. How did other people make the decision?
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The way we made our decision was by watching our nearly 2yo. She is very nurturing. We decided she deserved a sibling! So, with trying for only one cycle we conceived.... and it is hard. I am pretty nauseous all day. Very tired. Nothing like the first pregnancy. I've even fallen asleep while taking care of my daughter! But, I know it will all turn out just fine. I will find the energy. I figure my life is already hectic. I'm already tired. It will be this way with one or two, so I might as well go for it and get my body back sooner than later!

Good luck to all,
I have a very spirited little firecracker and am just glad I waited. She'll be 3 years 2 mos when this baby is born. She is still a major, major handful most days and it's sapping my energy. I have not gained nearly the amt. of weight this pg probably due to caring for her which is no easy task even on a good day.

Morning sickness was brutal. She spent most of first tri in front of the TV watching videos while I alternated between lying on the sofa and vomiting in the sink. Which led to some discipline problems and we had to fine-tune things with her again once I got to feeling better. Somehow managed to get her potty trained and sleeping in her own bed through the night (most of the time) which I knew were essential for *my* survival with a new baby.

I love my dd so much, it's overpowering at times. She's going through another difficult stage that just started recently, where she's being aggressive towards other kids and it's making playdates so *not* enjoyable. I sometimes wish I had waited another 6 mos. to get pg to let this stage pass but on the other hand I know something else will come up instead.

I don't mean to make this all doom and gloom. Just sharing my realilty. I'm overjoyed to be pg. Dd is taking about being a big sister and pats my belly and says hi to baby all the time. Even tries to feed her snacks through my belly button! lol! There are lots of good times and this baby is going to bring so much joy to the family.

I know though, that it's also going to be tough getting dd to adjust to the baby. I'm glad she can go potty by herself, put her bowl in the sink and wash her hands after a meal, is glad to "help" me do chores, lets me take a shower every morning, goes to sleep at 8:30 every night, or at least stays in bed and sings to herself. I needed this break before #2 comes and am awfully glad we waited.

I think you'll know in your heart when you are ready. If it doesn't feel right, give it a few more months. One day it will. And don't measure ttc readiness based on a calendar, base it on how you feel inside with where you are in your life right now. Good luck!

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Thanks for the replies! I just feel that there will always be "something" that is challenging. The two year challenges, the three year, etc. And I really don't want them too far apart. That said, dd is SUCH a baby in many ways still. I DON"T want to deprive her of babyhood. Perhaps, though I am beginning to experience babylust
: , it would be more prudent to wait til she is two. I just don't handle stress well at all, and my spiritual life is not where it needs to be to deal with two with any grace and enjoyment. I am interested in more insights and stories about this issue!
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I have been thinking a lot about this issue myself lately. My dd is 14 months and I have pondered how closely my children should be in age. I also feel like my little one is such a baby still, and for that reason I have decided to wait another 6 months and then think about it again. My brother and I were 2 years apart, almost exactly, and my mom said it was great after he turned 2 (I'm older) but that until then you have 2 babies. That's 2 little people needing you very intensly, I don't think that is a good thing to deal with if life is already very stressful, and you get a choice.
: I have a personal plan to have my next child before dd#1 turns 5. I think much more than 4 years apart and the children can't relate and play together well- I base that on the people I know whose siblings are spaced far apart.

My real decision is that one day I am going to realize- Its time to have another baby. And then we will start ttc. Don't count on not getting preg on the first try either. I have a friend who had a very difficult time ttc her first, she decided she wanted a second when her ds was 10 months- and started ttc- figuring it would take a year. Her baby will be born when ds is 19 months old. I don't envy her.

Good luck with your decision. It is hard to figure this out, and I am glad you started this thread. I would like to know what others think about this issue.

Momma to Mya 7-23-02 and soulmate to Richard
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Well, this is a very timely post for our family, too. DD is 21 months old and we are considering trying to get pregnant early next year. One of my hesitations is that DD is still enjoying breastfeeding, as am I, and I really don't want to breastfeed while pregnant. Also, DD is not a great sleeper still, and I remember how tired I was when I was pregnant the first time. Some of our peers from playgroup are pregnant or having recently given birth and it makes me want to wait even longer and soak up all this together time when it is just Adelaide and I. Two kiddos seems like a whole different animal- good, but different. You can no longer obsess over every little thing and to be honest, I have kinda enjoyed that. Having one little girl be my whole world for awhile.

Just my thoughts on it. Thanks for letting me share. Good luck in your decision. Maybe we'll everyone in the baby forum next year!

I feel a little counter-culture about this since so many people (IRL, not necessarily here) feel like 2-2.5 years is optimum, but - I wouldn't even have considered that spacing.

Dd will be 3 years, 3 months when our new baby is born, and I'm hoping that the timing will be good. I cannot imagine having an infant and this toddler right now. (She'll be 3 in January.) I think two-year-olds are so demanding, so high-energy, so time-consuming - in a good way. It's just a time that involves so much growth and development that I know I'd be overwhelmed to have two now.

Honestly, I was ready for six months of trying and it took us *one* cycle, so this is really as close as I'd have spaced them.

However - I'm only 28, with normal fertility. If you're older, or had a hard time getting pregnant the first time, or are thinking of going back to work eventually and want it to be sooner rather than later - those are important factors too. Many of my friends who are now in their mid thirties are spacing their kids much more closely together. Or trying to.

Also, if you have family nearby (I don't) or are a full-time SAHM (I'm also a graduate student) you might have an easier time of it. More support, less stress...

Good luck. This can be such a complicated choice.
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I think 4 years is the PERFECT spacing. Close enough, but not too close. Our kids are 5 years apart, BTW. One year closer would be perfect, I think.
well, i am due any second with #2 and my ds is almost 28 months, i didnt want my children to be any more than 3 years apart, and i wanted a fall baby....
so here i am having done the whole pregnancy thing.... its tiring... but you know whats kind of neat, though, is ds can sense what is going on, he doesnt quite understand.... so we haven't had any real behavioral issues as of yet.. he has been a little off, clingy and needy for mama as the time grows closer, but i am enjoying our closeness these days as i wait for this one to be born....
we have a close friend with a baby who he loves, and he is wonderful with him, which has encouraged me... he is a very sensitive and caring little boy, so i think he will do well...
My goal is to make sure that i am there for him particularly emotionally when this new baby comes..... I think sensitivity to his feelings is most important and i think we will be fine....

Its been a little scary kinda jumping in with two feet (we got pregnant the first month we tried), but im so far glad we did it... by the time ds is ready to pottytrain, the baby will have been here for at least a few months..he will have time to adjust before we make such a big transition....
My biggest thing with having them so close together is that ds wont remember being the only one, so im hoping that will reduce any jealousy issues......
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i agree w/mamajulie. I was trying to find something I had read somewhere about the optimum spacing being 3-4 years apart - that way they both get everything they need from you (not to mention sending 2 to college at the same time would break the bank...). For me personally I couldn't handle 2 babies at once - God bless mothers of multiples!

Of course it depends on your child, and what you think you can handle. My neighbors DD's are 10 mos apart - can you IMAGINE? But now they are 3&4 and are the greatest little playmates. Harder when they are younger she said, but man does she have it easy now...
I just wanted to add that the mothers I know who seemed happiest with closely spaced children

1) weaned their older child before falling pregnant
2) worked at least part-time at a job they liked
3) had a nanny or a stay-at-home dh
4) were in their mid-to-late thirties


1) were as chirpy as all get-out.

Just wanted to add that in case my initial post sounded overly negative. Anything is possible with the right support system.
I'm in "almost ready to ttc" mode here. I've said all along that I wanted ds to be at least 3 before we inflict another sibling. That would mean we could start trying at the end of this month. But I'm not ready yet! Dh says he's getting old, and we need to get this baby #2 show on the road. But he has said that January would be OK.

So I have about 7 pounds to lose. I was about 70 pounds overweight when I got pregnant with ds, and I think that contributed to my miserable pregnancy. I want to feel better this next go 'round.

I don't think ds is ready for a sibling just yet. He is 26 months old, and pretty happy for the most part. But he is on the go. And he only sleeps through the night every now and then. He nurses back to sleep, and I think it would be very difficult to nurse two in the wee hours.
My two are 28 months apart and it works nicely for our family. There have been times when it's been a real challenge (like when my husband went overseas for work for 4 weeks when I had a 2 1/2 year old and a brand new baby) but mostly it's a nice spacing. I don't really think there is a 'perfect' time to introduce a new baby into your family. There will always be bumps in the road no matter how perfectly you try and time it.

For me personally, I just knew in my heart that I really wanted another baby. My son was about 19 months when I got pregnant and I was still nursing him at the time. I kept it up for the first few months, but I personally found it too taxing on me to nurse through the whole pregnancy - so we weaned at 23 months.

Now I'm thinking about number three and I don't yet feel that
'pang' - so I'll wait a bit.

Good luck with your decision. Know that whatever spacing you end up with it will be 'perfect' for your family.
My two are 16 months apart and it was incredibly hard. Still is at times. Personally, I think that's too close and in an ideal world I would have waited a bit longer. DD is now 20 months and seems so much more independent than she was even 4 months ago. She's talking in sentences, follows directions better and has much better comprehension. For me, I think a two year gap is ideal. Your older child isn't a baby anymore which makes it so much easier but also the age gap isn't so great that they won't be able to relate to each other growning up.

Also, just in reply to:
"I just wanted to add that the mothers I know who seemed happiest with closely spaced children
1) weaned their older child before falling pregnant
2) worked at least part-time at a job they liked
3) had a nanny or a stay-at-home dh
4) were in their mid-to-late thirties


1) were as chirpy as all get-out."

I nursed throughout my pregnancy and am still nursing both, I do not work outside the home, I don't have a nanny and I'm sure as heck not chirpy (but I am 34). I don't think there's any one answer. Just know that it's hard to have a toddler and a new baby. Thats a fact that you can't get around. With patience and support, anything is doable. Also, remember that the first 3 months are by far the most difficult. My baby is now 4 months old and her sister is 20months and it gets easier every day. Plus, my 20mo is absolutely in love with her baby sister. She wakes up asking for her and hates to be away from her for even a minute. I think having them close, no matter how difficult was the greatest give I could have given them - hopefully they'll be best friends for life
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Mamas, your experiences and advice have been invaluable, and have given me much food for thought. I think we will wait about 6 mos more before letting what happens, happen. By which I mean, no rigid "TRYING", but no avoiding during fertile times either. DD will be 20 mos at that point, and at a completely different level of maturity; she will hopefully also be that much closer to self weaning and to needing less, um, aggressive parenting at night. By aggressive I mean it sometimes takes a LOT of work to get her asleep; but typically she does sleep several hours if not all night when she finally does surrender to sleep
. It is MUCH better than when she was tiny though. I also am finding that the older she gets, the easier it is to get housework done with her actually awake, and maintain a sense of order and peace in our home, which is very important to both dh and I (dh does help a lot around the house, bless him, but I am the one who primarily "keeps it together" and knows the little things that need to be done). I would also like it if her awareness of the world is greater, in that I will be able to lovingly explain what will happen when baby arrives and help her go through the transition with us more peacefully. I have concluded that there are challenges at any stage you might choose (as much as there is a "choice" in when one concieves
: ) to usher another precious life into the world and that we will get through it; many people before us have and we can too.
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I just had our second DS and my two boys are 3 years and 5 months apart. I LOVE this spacing and am glad I waited a bit. My DS #1 is all boy and high energy. You must do what you feel comfortable. I planned and got DS # 1 potty trained and moved into his own new "big boy" room with big boy bed before DS # 2 came. It has made all of the difference I think, in the way DS # 1 has reacted to the new baby. He does not feel like he has to "share" anything and has his own "big boy" identity. He still acts up once in awhile, but hey, that's a kid for you.
My children are 26.5 months apart. When we decided to ttc #2, dd was only 17 months old. Looking back, she WAS still a baby, but to us, she seemed so big. When ds came along, dd was finishing up potty training so I only had one in diapers. I ebf ds until he turned one and loved it. I thought it was great spacing. Now, we did have our share of temper tantrums in the first weeks after ds's birth. But, honestly, it wasn't that bad and it didn't last very long. They are now 4 and almost 2, and the best of friends. I don't know if dd even remembers life without her brother. They sometimes fight over toys, but that's natural for any age difference. Now, I am desperate for #3 but dh says no. I do think it depends alot on the personality of your child. My dd was such an easy going child, well mannered, happy all the time, such a joy that we were happy to have another so close. Now, ds on the other hand, he is ALL BOY. There is no way I could handle a baby with him right now. I am hoping that God will bless me with another child before ds turns 3 (or dh is getting a vasectomy) but I think even 9 months from now, ds will be a completely different child. You can't even imagine what changes in 9 months time with your toddler! My ds loves babies and I know he would make a great big brother someday, but I'd have to say that right now, at his current age, I think it would be too stressful on me. Ds is not talking alot yet and not even started potty training, but if God gives me another, I'll take it. Good luck with whatever you decide and just know that there is NO perfect spacing. Every age difference comes with it's own pro's and con's. Best wishes.
Megan 8.10.99
Jacob 10.22.01
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there's no magic age difference...sibling closeness depends a lot on overall family harmony.
but when there's any your instincts and WAIT!!!
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