I’m thrilled with the discussion generated by last week’s Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? reader question: When’s the best time to start a family? The consensus: yes, there are valid reasons to postpone or try to “schedule” the arrival of children, but
1) don’t count on it happening or not happening as you plan it, and
2) children are a blessing whenever they come!
This week’s question is a continuation of those thoughts: Is there an ideal child spacing?
Again, this is a highly personal question, and there are certainly no “right” answers!
My own story: When our first-born was nine months old, we got pregnant with our second. I was a little nervous about having children just 18 months apart, but we were so excited that it happened quickly this time after dealing with infertility for three years before our first was conceived.
Eleven weeks into that pregnancy, we miscarried the baby.
At that moment, it didn’t matter if the children were 18 months or 10 months or 2 days apart. We were mourning the loss of our baby. That experience sold me on the thought that there is no right spacing of children.
Our four children are 27 months apart, 23 months apart, and 3+ years apart. I will say that for me, I prefer the 2 year distance over the 3 year distance. Although it was kind of nice to have that extra year of routine and sleep and freedom before adding a new baby, it was also an extra year to be out of the baby routine.
We’ve adjusted just fine and certainly wouldn’t have it any other way, but most definitely felt the “jolt” of a new baby more with #4 than we did with any of the others.
On the flip side, I’m sure we would have adapted to closer spacing if that’s what God gave us, but my hat tips to my friends with 4 children 6 and under. My own mother had all four of us in less than 5 years. Whew! I’m not sure if I have the energy for that. And physically, I think it would take quite a toll on Mama’s body!
Speaking of Mama’s body, I don’t have the stats handy, but there is research about frequency of miscarriage and premature birth linked to super-close child spacing. A little rest between children is likely not a bad thing.
What about you? Do you wish you would have tried to space your children differently? What would you tell a newly-married couple about child spacing? What do you wish someone would have told you?