I didn’t plan my pregnancies this way – so close together. When I had my first, we had it all planned out. We would get pregnant with our second baby when the first was 2. The joke was on us. She was 6 when our second finally arrived. You would think that I would have learned a lesson on making plans, but apparently, I hadn’t. My infant son was needy and demanding, and I was happy just to have him. I was sure that, if I had a third child at all, I would be waiting for years. Honestly, I was okay with this. I was quite a few years older than I was with my firstborn. Physically, I was tired. Emotionally, I felt tapped out. Not only did we decide we wouldn’t “try” for a third, but we actually tried to avoid it.
So, imagine my surprise when I learned I would be one of those “crazy” people that have babies less than 2 years apart. In the beginning, I was in full panic mode. I felt completely unprepared, incapable, and scared. But as the pregnancy has progressed, I’ve found there are a lot of advantages that come with closely spaced babies.
When you have close pregnancies, you are still in baby mode. You have all of the current health and safety information. There is a lot less research to do in terms of baby gear. You know which brands offer the best quality. You probably still have all or most of your baby stuff, and if you are lucky, the appropriate clothes to reuse. Breastfeeding techniques are still fresh on your mind. Your nipples were recently desensitized! When you have larger age gaps, you have to start the entire process over again, which is surprisingly stressful. In many ways, my second pregnancy was like being pregnant for the first time all over again. I had to relearn a lot of things, guidelines had changed, and browsing the baby equipment aisle was like stepping onto a foreign planet. Really. I’m pretty sure some of those swings could qualify as spacecraft.
With closely spaced babies, you might worry your body can’t handle the physical stress again so soon. I was still recovering from the physical trauma of labor when I found out I was pregnant, and I’m carrying extra weight this time. Amazingly, this pregnancy has been my easiest. When people say that every pregnancy is different, they aren’t kidding! Don’t panic.
Or maybe you are worried about caring for a small toddler and newborn at the same time. It’s been on my mind a lot too! So, I’ve started making a point of connecting with other moms of closely spaced babies, asking advice, and gaining reassurance about my future with two under two. My takeaway is this: As with all things, it can be tough for a while. Then, you find yourself getting into a routine, and things start to smooth out as you all adapt to your new life. One day you wake up and your babies have “found” each other. Suddenly, you have this freedom to move around as they entertain each other, and you get to witness the magic of closely spaced siblings.
As I get closer to my due date, my son becomes more and more independent, and I feel more confident that this is going to be okay. It is going to be better than okay. It will be great.
Hi readers! I’m Natalie, writer and mom of two. I am so excited to join The 16 Minute Club’s new blog, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. My pudgy breastfed baby, Jackson, is 8 months old and looks like he subsists on whipping cream. You would never know he was once “failing to thrive.” Breastfeeding has certainly had its ups and downs. Like most moms, I spend my days wavering between maternal bliss and horrification at some of the realities of motherhood. After my first child, I was sure I had things figured out. I just knew breastfeeding would be easier with my second. But the truth is that every baby is different, and they each present new challenges. Sometimes they even present the same challenges, but require different solutions.