Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Space

At my six week post partum doctor's appointment, I was presented by my doctor with this question:

"So, what are you thinking in terms of baby space?"

And my response:  "S'nuh?"

Doctor:  "You know, baby space, the length of time you want to have between babies...?"

*Apparently I wasn't up on the lingo, because I thought she was asking me about our nursery decor or something.  Which goes to show what a state my brain was in at six weeks post partum.  Now it's clear to me that this line of questioning was meant to be the opener for "the birth control conversation."

Me: "Oh, um, I don't know, I haven't really thought about it since Lilah was born, but I guess we always thought about two years?"

Since then, I have fielded this question in some form or another several times, and more frequently since Lilah turned one.  And I have to say that my expectations have changed.  If we wanted another child to arrive around the time that Lilah turns two, we'd have to get cracking... ummmm.... yesterday.  And it's about the furthest thing from my mind at the moment.  I really can't imagine dealing with the exhaustion and nausea that accompanied my first trimester all over again while also chasing an extremely active and needy toddler around!  How do people do it?  Not to mention then having a newborn and a toddler.  I guess I have a longer memory than many moms, because I still remember quite clearly how difficult those early days with Lilah were; how stressed and sleep-deprived I was, and how difficult I found it to ask for help.  The memories are not yet hazy and I haven't yet managed to romanticize the newborn days.  Those were some challenging times, and neither the Hubs nor I are ready to re-live any of that.  Yet.

**I do realize that I am in an extremely fortunate position to have the luxury of assuming that a second child would come along roughly when we want, and according to our plans.  I also know it's not outside the realm of possibility that we could experience challenges in the future.  Having experienced a loss in the past, I know better than to count my babies before they are hatched.  But we are talking ideal baby space, people.

And if I'm being completely honest - and isn't that what oversharing on the internet is all about?- I still have days that make me question my ability to properly raise one child - what makes me think I could handle two?  I'm sure this is my inner control freak talking, but I don't think I'm so on top of things that I could imagine upping the ante to that extent, essentially going all in on a total bluff.

I do hope that my attitude will change sometime in the next couple of years, since we hope to one day add one more to our brood (and of course the Hubs has his fingers tightly crossed for some boy bits, or "twig and berries," as he sometimes refers to them, somewhere in our future).  But at the moment I'm settling back into work, Lilah is getting accustomed to daycare, she's still nursing a few times a day, and I'm still trying to find some kind of life balance.

What's your ideal "baby space?"  Please share your thoughts!


  1. Twigs and berries! Love that. Dangerous thought. Before you know it, you have not two but three girls. As you know, there will be no space for me. Theo is quite enough. However, were I younger, I'd do four years. Kids two years apart seems nightmarish to me. That said, people do swear by it. (Yikes).

  2. Well for us, my age was a factor. I was 37 and knew we should get cracking. So we knew that we wanted our baby space to be around 2 years. We also thought we should start trying around Sarah's first birthday as we had also experienced losses and did not know how long it would take. Well one try and Jack was on the way. So our baby space is/was 22 months. I won't lie, the first few months were tough even though Jack was easier than Sarah. But having Sarah in daycare 2 days a week, for the first three months of Jack's life made a big difference.

    For us, this was an ideal baby space. But I know several people who feel that 3 years is the ideal baby space.

  3. Thanks for sharing so candidly, ladies! Age is definitely a factor - since I just turned 31, I figure we've got some time, and since we think we'll probably stop after two, there's no rush.

    Harriet - oh man, 3 girls - don't think I could handle that!!!

    Lisa - I appreciate your honesty about it being challenging in the early days. So many people won't admit that!

  4. Up until recently, we had our baby space (never heard that term before) determined for us. Sometime after Rose was born, someone (can't remember who now) told me that I should aim for 2 years between deliveries to minimize the chances of a recurrence of HELLP and maximize the success of a VBAC. That sounded fine to me at the time, but as 2 years minus 9 months approached it started to hang more and more heavily over our heads. Rose was still waking up many times a night and I was dreading starting all over again without having had a single decent night's sleep.
    A recent trip to my OBGYN changed all that when she said that whoever told me that was wrong and that there's no significant increase in HELLP recurrence the longer you wait between kids.
    Around the same time Rose started sleeping through the night.
    So the ball is now in our court ...

  5. Thanks for sharing, Brie! Nice to have the freedom to decide based on what you FEEL rather than what someone has told you.

  6. We were originally thinking of about 2 years, but I'm pretty happy with the 2 years and 8-ish months we're going to end up with (which coincidently is almost exactly the space between my sister and me). It has been hard dealing with the nausea and exhaustion of the first trimester+ while home with a toddler all day, but it helped immensely that she turned 2 right around the time I started to feel really crappy, and she miraculously developed the ability to entertain herself with her toys in the living room for quite decent periods of time while I lay inert on the couch in the mornings.

    I can't really say what having a newborn and a 2.5 year old will be like, though. Definitely the first few months are going to be challenging!

  7. Oh, this is a tough question. I tend to agree with you that when Ari turned one, the LAST thing on my mind was another kid. Since I'm preggo now, the kids will be almost three years apart. I'll let you know how that goes!

    I can tell you this, it's HARD being pregnant and having a toddler. But I think it might be easier for you (just in terms of pregnancy and energy etc.) to do it before she turns two. Like now.

    But, the advantage when you wait till they're a bit older is that they can understand more of what's going on. For example Ari is aware and excited that he's going to have a baby sister soon!

  8. Congrats, Jenny!!!

    Sarah - I think 3 years might be just the thing... which appeals to my inner procastinator, since I don't even have to start THINKING about it till after next July.

  9. hey amanda, just reading this old post of yours now. i mentioned elsewhere that i had a really tough time being a new mom. (i appreciate you sharing honestly about how hard you found it, too). the memories of that time have not made me too enthusiastic about going through it again. and i, too, am exhausted at just the thought of chasing a toddler and caring for a newborn.

    we were aiming for 3 years in between kids. but malcolm was 3 in january and we still haven't started trying. lack of stability in our lives (we are most likely moving in the near future, after a year of deliberations) has given us pause.

    i finally think i am ready to try again, and if we conceive by the fall as i like us to, there will be 4 1/2 years between kids. wow. that sounds so much longer than we ever thought it would be. but life just happened differently than we planned. and who knows how differently it will go when we actually start trying?

    all the best with your "baby space"!


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