As I am in my final weeks of my pregnancy, I find myself worrying about things that are out of my control. One big worry is the age gap between my daughter and her soon to be sibling. When we had Emily, I always thought we’d have a second baby around the time that Emily was 3 years old. Why 3 years? Well, my brother and I are 3 years apart and my husband is one of four boys who are each spaced out three years. It’s what we’ve known and it felt right.
Over time, I have realized how privileged it is to be able to plan for the spacing of your children or even to have more than one child. We are a two working parent household and childcare is very expensive. We crunched numbers and came to the decision that we would struggle financially if we had two kids in full-time daycare. Why not space the kids out four years instead?
That was the plan. And, I’m sure you see where this is going…but things don’t always go as planned. We spent over a year struggling to get pregnant. I enrolled back in school so it would take my mind off of trying and so I could accomplish a long fought goal. We booked a big vacation. We started fertility testing. Then it finally happened. As the baby’s due date was established I noticed that Emily would be over six years old when the baby was born. And of course when Emily is twelve, the baby will be six and will she even want anything to do with a sibling that young? Will Emily adjust from being an only child all these years to sharing our attention with another child?
Of course, those worries will straighten out over time. So what are the positives of having a large age gap? Well, a friend pointed out that we’d only have to manage the diapering of one child. That’s a big plus! The kids will be in different developmental stages so we can really enjoy each one with each kid. Emily will no doubt be a fantastic helper in the newborn weeks as she’s already excited about snuggling her sibling and helping to fetch things like binkies and burp cloths. She’ll also be an amazing big sister and will be able to teach her younger sibling all sorts of fun things like how to get mom and dad to let you stay up past your bedtime, how to draw the perfect lion, how to jump and play hopscotch.
Will the two have a close relationship as they get older? Time will tell. We’ll do everything we can to foster that. For now, it’s important to be present for both children and enjoy this season of life, perfectly planned or not.