In a perfect world, I’ve always wanted three children close in age. I loved having my first two within two years of each other, but I knew it was also too intense to do again. When we fell pregnant when our youngest was three and our eldest five, it felt right. When we subsequently lost that baby – Poppy – six months into my pregnancy, saying goodbye to that ‘perfect’ age gap was hard.
We started trying again after a year but didn’t conceive. Two years passed, then three and it was hard not to obsess a) if it would ever happen b) if I was too old and c) about the ever-growing age gap. With counselling I came to accept that in love, life, parenting and pregnancy there’s very little you can control. It allowed me to (mostly) embrace things as they are, not how I think they should be. To move the parameters of my expectations. To let go. Of the many things Poppy taught me, I consider this to be one of the biggest lessons.
Now? After our loss I feel every pregnancy is a blessing and this age gap of almost 7 and 9 years is a gift. I get to experience the joy of having kids old enough to be teachers and helpers. It’s different, yes, but wonderful. My two are showing me every day that their little brother or sister will fit seamlessly into their lives and hearts – filling the gap, not emphasising it. After all, a sibling is for life, not just for childhood.
3 reasons why having a big age gap works
1. they understand life will change
No need to read ‘There’s a house inside my Mummy’ this time; from the moment we told them I was pregnant they’ve understood how life will change and feel only excitement and gratitude.
2. they look after me
I’ve rested more through this pregnancy than any other because they make me! They know my limitations and accept them. Also, not only do they sleep through the night, they’ve now got to the stage where they have a LIE-IN in the mornings! Bliss.
3. it helps you trust in your parenting skills
When the kids look after me, talk to the baby in my tummy or chat openly and honestly about Poppy to others I’m so proud. Its also made me step back and appreciate that we’ve raised two young humans who are kind, compassionate and understanding. And I have no doubt we can do it again.