All I can promise is I'm not having 19.

So, the Duggars are having another baby. Their youngest is only 8 months and she’s about 3 months along, which means she got pregnant when the baby was 5 months. (I wonder if Michelle breastfeeds. I was under the impression it was supposed to suppress fertility so you didn’t end up with like, 19 kids. If she doesn’t, can you imagine how much they’ve spent on formula? More than enough to afford some condoms. I’m just sayin’.) I suppose if your goal is to have as many babies as possible you don’t really worry about things like child spacing.

There’s a woman at my mom’s group who’s son is about 8 weeks ahead of Baby Evan. She wants to be pregnant again by Christmas because she wants her kids close in age, like she and her sister are.

There’s another woman at my group who has three kids under three, 2 boys and a girl. They adopted the first one after her round of fertility treatments “failed”, and found out she was pregnant only a few weeks later. The third one was just a total surprise. She makes all those babies look easy.

A friend of mine has two kids, a boy and a girl, and came over to see Baby Evan because she “was going to miss little ones” now that she was done having babies. She just announced she’s pregnant. She’s over the moon happy, even though it’s going to mean another set of diapers while her second is potty training.

Another friend agreed with her husband from the very beginning they were having just one. I might be giving her baby fever with my own munchkin, as she said the other day “Are we REALLY done having kids?”

A woman I was standing in line with the other day was talking about her daughter and how although she loved children she NEVER wanted to go through birth again. She was so traumatized by the first one it scared her out of pregnancy forever, despite her desire for more. (This stranger over-share begins as soon as you’re visibly pregnant and only gets worse once you have the actual baby.)

And for my last example, there’s a woman I’ve met a couple times at mom’s group who has an 18 year old daughter…and an 8 month old son. Talk about an age difference. She wanted to start a family with her second husband.

E and I are both oldest children with siblings only a couple years behind us. Neither of us really remembers what being an old child was like. Although we are both close in age to our next oldest siblings, I wouldn’t say either of us is best-friends-talk-on-the-phone-every-day close. (Distance has something to do with it too – his whole family is in Ohio while my sister is literally across the world.) But having those built in playmates when we were little is something we both enjoyed.

(My sister may beg to differ on how great having me around really was, since I insisted on things like doing THAT to our hair on Easter and my mom made her go along with it. Doesn’t she look excited?)

I sort of thought that once I had one I would just KNOW how I felt about more, but it swings from one extreme to another on a daily basis, depending on how taxing/easy the previous bedtime/feeding/nap time/play time has been. I definitely want more kids but when will Baby Evan understand he has to share his mommy? Should I wait until he’s out of diapers? What if he doesn’t finish potty training until he’s 4? What if it takes me three years to get pregnant? Is it unfair to the second child to have a mother so distracted by her toddler she barely remembers there’s another bebeh?  Are second (and third) children doomed to be just a little more neglected than the one before? Can we handle another one financially? Can we handle another one emotionally? What if it’s another boy? Will I keep trying for a girl?

What about you? Are you an only who wanted siblings? Are you and your brother totall BFFs? How far appart are your kids?

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No Responses to “All I can promise is I'm not having 19.”

  1. lalaland13 says:

    The Duggars are just collecting babies at this point, the same way a Don Juan would collect sex partners. Yes, I just compared to the Duggars to a man-slut. Funny how their conservative Christian beliefs don’t prevent them from whoring out their kids for television.

    Anyway, my brother and I are almost exactly two years apart. Both born in June. There does seem to have been less of a rough transition, because my brother was really excited for me to come along and apparently not jealous. We were super-tight as kiddos-I wasn’t talking much at one point, so my worried parents took me to the pediatrician. After watching me and my brother, he declared, “She’s fine. She just doesn’t need to talk because her brother does it for her.”

    In junior high and high school, he kind of hated me. Or at least really resented his uncool sister. That may be unavoidable. Things got better, though. Now we’re friendly and I would say close without talking too much, if that is possible. He lives far away, and has a busy job, and while we’re fond of each other, we don’t call every night to shoot the breeze.

    I admire my mom for being able to juggle two young’ns like that. I think if I wanted more than one, I would have to, at minimum, wait until the first was potty-trained. I can’t handle diapers for two at once.

  2. MStrader says:

    Sean is here b/c of that common misconception that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding, hence the reason we’re 13 months apart.

    Andrew wants 4, so we’ll see how that goes. I like the spacing between Ethan and Carter (3 yrs and 3 months) but I think the 3rd will come in March–the 18th I predict :P

  3. My brother and I are 7 years apart – my mom had me in law school, waited until the fam was more settled before having him. There was a lot of hero worship (on his end) growing up – I enjoyed playing with/teaching/babysitting for him and all his little friends growing up, but we didn’t start to develop an egalitarian friendship until I got close to finishing high school. But we didn’t squabble like siblings either because I was at least grownup enough to know I had no business bickering with someone I could physically throw across the pool. Most of the time.

    I’d love to have a larger family (max 4 or 5) because I love the idea of a grown brood coming home for the holidays….but fortunately all I have is future-hypothetical-children for the time being so I can imagine that all I want.

  4. Let’s see. I am the second oldest of 4: three girls and a boy. My parents had us within a span of 5 years. This is AFTER my mother blew out a fallopian with an ectopic pregancy. She is a reproductive machine. We are relatively close but suffer from the same distance issues as you two do which sucks but damned if my sisters and I wouldn’t beat the ass of anyone who messed with our little brother.

    My oldest sister is going for at least four. She already has two kids, three and some months (I am a terrible aunt, see above re: distance). Despite the fact that staying home with a newborn and a toddler is kicking her ass she still wants more. I think she is bananas.

    And me? Just the SpaceToddler for now. I would love love love to have more but can’t afford to nor do I feel like I have drank enough beer or eaten enough nearly raw meat to make up for the first time. But damn, if I won the lotter I would flush my Ocella in a heartbeat because I really do not want to have the five to six year gap between kids that really seems to estrange them from one another.

    Not related to me at all. I know a family that has three kids: 21, 7 and 3. How’s that for spacing?

  5. Natalie says:

    My girls are 21 months apart. I was still nursing my oldest when I found out that apparently I am in the 1% of women who get pregnant while breastfeeding and (pretty much the day) they stopped taking the pill. We had planned on trying, but assumed it would take a little while, as my body hadn’t gone through a normal cycle in almost two years. Now, I’m working on almost four years of no cycle, and am almost done nursing my baby…if I find out I am 2 months pregnant next month, I’m making an appointment with the penis doctor for my husband.

    In all seriousness though, we wanted ours close, we just didn’t anticipate them being THIS close. It’s working out for us. It’s crazy, but they are really good together, and I feared a lot of the same things you did, but I have found that you become more creative with your time, and I don’t feel I am slighting my youngest because I am not able to devote as much of my full attention to her, because she gets the benefit of my knowledge–whereas my first was “oh shit, what the hell am I doing?” and I made many more mistakes. I think it balances itself out.

    I have two younger sisters. One is 3 1/2 years younger than I am, and one is 10 years younger than I am. I always felt more like a mother to my youngest, but we were extremely close before I left for college. My middle sister and I were extremely close growing up, until we hit middle/high school ages. We all love each other and get along fine now, but we aren’t as close as some other siblings I have seen. I don’t think the age difference has anything to do with it, honestly.

  6. bebehblog says:

    Another thing: Since I totally forgot to mention my brother at all you can see how close we are. He’s 7 years younger than I am and as a kid all I remember is thinking how spoiled he was for being the baby AND being a boy. I just feel like 7 years was too much of a gap for us to be friends and I wasn’t interested in acting motherly, so I didn’t (and still don’t) really interact with him. (HI DREW! IF YOU’RE READING THIS YOU SHOULD COME VISIT YOUR NEPHEW! BUT I KNOW YOU’RE NOT.)

  7. Audrey says:

    I have one older sibling, he is 4 years older, and we are not on speaking terms. Chris has two younger siblings and they aren’t best buds but that is because they live in different parts of the country, when together they get along just great. We plan to have 3, mostly because I really like the idea of having a large family. We’re planning to start trying for #2 when Ev is 1 (in a month) for two reasons. 1) Chris’s siblings are closer in age and I think that helps their relationship and 2) I don’t want to spend the next 10 years being pregnant or waiting to be pregnant. I want to get it done with so the cross country camping vacations are less painful.

  8. AGreenEyeDevil says:

    Having an only child isn’t bad, just be certain they are socialized from an early age.

  9. Cdavis says:

    The doctor told me that I could not get pregnant while breastfeeding. Meghan was 5 months old and I got pregnant. I didn’t mind having our kids close together, because once I was done with diapers, I was done. I didn’t get used to no diapers and then have to readjust to diapers again.

  10. bebehblog says:

    CDavis – I think your kids are a great example of how having them close together works out well. And like Audrey I love the idea of having them all and then being DONE with pregnancy and diapers and whatnot forever.

    But part of me thinks that when my 2 (or 3 or 4) kids all reach school age I might suddenly miss that baby stage enough to do it again. I guess that’s one of the benefits of being fairly young – I have 10 years (or more) of potential pregnancy ahead of me.

    And MStrader….March 18th is only 7 months from now. Do you have something to share???????

  11. That’s funny that we have brothers who are the same age younger! I think I neglected to mention how crazyclose he and I are now that he’s approaching the age of reason – so it’s going to depend on the individuals also (I’m captain obvious today). My mom has three sisters – one 5 years older, one 18 mos younger, one 3-4 years younger than that, and she’s only close to the middle sister.

  12. MStrader says:

    Why as a matter of fact I do! I emailed Evan (since I can never get ahold of him on the phone)….and it’s only 6 months away. I’m 12 weeks today, hooray! Since I’ve had 2 miscarriages and 3 pregnancies in 8 months, I thought I’d better keep quiet until the first trimester was over.

  13. Amanda says:

    One….I think….most likely. Yeah one. She is almost (I am jumping and cheering) done potty training!!! Does baby Evan need some size 5 diapers?

  14. TheDomina says:

    Yea, that whole “can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding” thing? That is an old wive’s tale. Some women just don’t ovulate as soon as others after giving birth but as soon as you do start (which can be while you are breastfeeding) you can get pregnant (as all the above people have shown with their tales).

    My siblings and I are 3 and 7 years apart and we’re all really close but I think that has more to do with our family (and crazy extended family) than our age.

  15. J.D.Regent says:

    I was recently in South Africa for work and having dinner with a young Zimbabwean family with a one year old and I was like are you thinking of having any more? And they launched into this whole thing about how weird it is that Americans have their kids so close together and in “Africa” (they claimed) they spaced their babies much more. I pointed out that it may be in part because a lot of American moms might start having kids later…but it did get me thinking. I always dreamed of having kids close together cuz that is how my family is and my mom was always all “oh you are just in the baby mode and then the toddler mode and it’s easier if everyone is on the same page.” But lately I have been thinking how kind of much more manageable it might be to space them by at least 4 years….

    I think there are endless pitfalls one can imagine but like with most things related to parenting a lot of love and going with the flow make up for most of them. You just have to do what makes sense for you and your family and what is possible physically and financially…

  16. erniebufflo says:

    My sis and I are 2.5 years apart and we fought a lot as kids but are now pretty close. I like to think that I’d have kids with a similar age difference, but that’s really just because that’s what I know.

    As for the Duggars: I’m pretty sure they’re not just “getting pregnant” but are actually timing it and TRYING to get pregnant. Even in the days before BC existed, most people didn’t have 20 kids. They had like 5 or 7 or maybe 12.

  17. Other Erin says:

    My brother and I are 22 months apart and were never all that close and still really aren’t.

    Then I have cousins (all girls) who are 25, 21 and 15 and are all super tight. So I think age only has so much to do with it.

  18. SarahMC says:

    My brother is three years younger than me. Growing up with him was rough. We were nothing alike (I was studious, extremely sensitive and eager-to-please whilst he was just wild and inconsiderate) and fought constantly. These days I feel like an only child. He lives across the country and I never see him. On the rare occasions we do see each other we can get along but we’re not “friends.”

    Anyway, like MKP I fantasize about being an older woman welcoming a huge brood “back home” for holidays. I’m not sure how to accomplish that though, as I don’t particularly want to have a lot of kids. If I ever do have kids (JD you want to be a surrogate, right?!) I’d like to space them three or four years apart. Again, not sure how I’m going to accomplish that as I’m 27 now and I’m not having a baby any time soon!

  19. piprii says:

    Hello I am a new commenter here, although I have been following you for a while. Just wanted to share my opinion….My brother and I are 5.5 years apart and we are now extremely close. He is 32, I am 26. He went to college when I started 7th grade, so from then on, I was pretty much the only child at home. We rarely fought when we were kids. I realize now that we have a lot in common. I always liked having a big brother and I am happy that we are so close now, despite the fact that he lives about a 7 hour car ride away. He and his wife are expecting their second child; my nephew will be 3 in January and their new baby will be born in March.

    Personally, I think that 3 years is perfect spacing. My boyfriend’s brother and his wife are expecting their 3rd and 4th babies (twin boys) this November. They have 2 daughters: the oldest is 6 and the youngest just turned 3. So they will all be 3 years apart.

  20. Erin (i dont have a fake name :( ) says:

    She breastfeeds while WALKING AROUND!!!!

  21. Erin (i dont have a fake name :( ) says:

    Ok, the rest of my comment. I have two brothers, a good one and a bad one. I have two step brothers, a good one and a bad one. I want at least three kids so that I have more than one to hang out with as an adult should one of them turn into a child that never calls or visits his mother. Maybe four so that if we have two good ones and two bad ones they will each have a buddy. Yeah, that sounds good! :)

  22. My sis and I are 9 years apart. All I can say is that is tooooooo much distance. We’re like 2 only children. My mother was a fresh out of college newlywed in her 20s when she had my sis, and by the time I came along, she was in her 30s working on her Masters. She was two entirely different people when she had each of us, and you can tell by how different my sis and I are.

  23. stacyinbean says:

    I am the only child of my parents, who divorced when I was 2. My mother got remarried when I was 10 and had my brother when I was 12, my sister when I was 15. I absolutely LOVED this arrangement because I got to play with babies all the time but could always hand them back to my mom. It’s fun now that they are getting older and I’m almost 28 and it’s less about playing with them and more talking about school and boys and what not. It’s definitely not the best plan for everyone, but it worked out really well for my mom. Not only did she have a built in babysitter but now she has someone to talk to them about things they don’t want to tell her. I have always had an only child mentality because even though I have siblings now, they are SO much younger. One of my co-workers has an 18 month old and a 5 month old and I love to go babysit them. It’s hilarious to watch them interact and once the little one is mobile they are going to be hell on teeny feet!

  24. h_a_l says:

    My sis and I are 4 years apart and have always been pretty close, except when I was a pre-teen and she was a teen, then we hated each other thought I think that had more to do with us being teenage girls. now we are super tight. My mom always tells stories about how jealous she was when I came along though.

    I can totally see the logic for both sides: having baby mode over and done with all at once makes sense but so does not having 2 in diapers. My husband keeps talking about having more and I just give him a look that says ‘Our daughter is 2 months old STFU you Irish twin wanting crazy person’

  25. Ooooooh! I almost forgot one of the most important arguments for having your children close together. The more kids you have in college at one time the better financial aid you get. By the time I was a junior filling out my FAFSAs the government was like, “You poor, poor family. Here, have some money.”

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