Almost as soon as I gave birth people started asking me if/when I would have another child. That may be an exaggeration but I swear the questions started pretty much from 12 weeks on. For a while I would say 'I've only just had a baby!' but from Wilf's first birthday I had to stop using that answer. I almost wrote 'excuse' there, which is just odd and also why I wanted to write this post.
You go through your life no one ever asking you if you are going to procreate and then as soon as you have done you get asked when you are going to do it again. I'm not against having another child (if we are lucky enough one day) but Tom and I have both agreed we are not ready to go down that route anytime soon.
Here's the thing, I have always wanted to be a mum. I've known with absolute certainty that I wanted children in my life since I was about 15 years old. I'm really glad I had Wilf in my mid twenties, Tom and I had discussed children around six months into our relationship, we both wanted them and thought late twenties would be the 'ideal' time. As it happened we changed our mind and I became a mum two weeks after my 26th birthday and Tom was 29. For us this was the perfect time, I don't think I would have been ready any younger but I don't think having Wilf any older would have made a difference either.
One of the benefits for us of having children in your twenties is that 'hopefully' we will be able to space having children out with an age gap that suits us. For us that is having a larger gap. I have friends who had their first child in their late thirties or early forties and so I understand the need for very small age gap in regards to having another when they 'can'. In fact I understand having a small age gap if that's what you feel like but I don't understand why its so odd to people to find out we don't want that.
There are pros and cons for any kind of age gap of course. We have been told that having children with a larger age gap means they won't be friends but Tom is very close to his sisters with a 7 & 9 year gap and my siblings and I are 5, 10 and fifteen years apart! Although I understand the logic of having two children who are into the same things at the same time and can play at the same ability.
Some of the things we have been told when asked 'when are you going to have another baby??'
1, 'you'll want to get it all out the way at one time' - This one still baffles me, get what out the way? I enjoy my child.
2, 'If you leave it too long they won't be friends' - mentioned above
3, 'You'll have got your figure back then have to loose it again' and then a repeat of number 1. I loved getting big in pregnancy, I put on three stone and I felt amazing and womanly. I lost three stone in 9months, the exact amount of time it took me to gain it. I didn't diet or go crazy on exercise. I breastfed, don't drive and am a vegetarian.
'You never know, you might leave it five years and find you can't have kids' - ...thanks for that. If that's the case, it will be sad but I will be more than blessed with my one amazing child.
'What if something happened to Wilf' - .. so I need a replacment child??
(my friends with older single child families have been asked if they had fertility problems..)
'Do you think Wilf will always be an only child?' - He's one years old, give me a break
'Is reason you are not trying for another because Wilf doesn't sleep?' - well I guess yes in a way!
I'm also really aware that the way Tom and I want to parent can also feel like the 'long route' so to speak. We practise gentle parenting and in doing so he still wakes up three times a night, gets up for the day at 5am and is still breastfeeding. I'm pretty sure we would have had a much easier time if we had sleep trained him at 6months and I even have my suspicions that breastfeeding is one of the reasons for his sleep problems. My friends who have babies that sleep have mostly all gone on to already have another child or are now pregnant with their second. There was even my friend from NCT who got pregnant again at 7 months, her first having slept through from four months, she ended up having twins!
Tom and I talk about the things we would like to do with Wilf, we want to save up and visit Cuba or New York when he is a bit older and can appreciate such things, having another baby in the near future would mean it wouldn't be practical or affordable. We talk about 4 or 5 being a good time to bring another child into our family but if we don't feel ready then then I'm happy with that too.
I guess I sound like I'm bashing the idea of larger families, I'm not! I'm one of five and I love having siblings. I also don't have any issue with the spacing arrangements of other people's families, just of being made to feel that should be the norm. Also if you are that person who has asked me if we will have another this post isn't aimed at you, it's merely aimed at the ten billions times I've been asked the question ;)
What about you? Have you experienced that same thing?