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 Last week’s poll was all about what you consider the ideal spacing between children. Interestingly enough, over half of you said you thought 3 years was ideal. Four years separation was a close second in popularity, with the rest of you saying either two years, or choosing to have an only child, was your preference. No one picked a one-year spacing, probably because the night feedings are still too fresh in our minds . . .

The topic’s been on my mind since several girlfriends around me have had a second child in the past few months. And of the four that I can think of off the top of my head, three of them planned a two-year spacing, while Abby’s boys are almost three years apart. My brother and I are only two years apart and I love having a sibling so close in age, but I’m just beginning to forget what the first few months are like enough for me to consider a second child. Honestly, I don’t know how women with back-to-back pregnancies do it. Heck, I don’t know how any woman with more than one child does it!

My sister-in-law is due to deliver her first in a couple of weeks, and I caught up with her over the weekend. While we chatted, she rested on the couch for our 90-minute phone call. I, on the other hand, fixed, delivered, and cleaned up from a snack, pushed Maddie around in her ride-on toy, chased her several times, snuggled with her while she had a cup of milk, played musical instruments with her, and changed her diaper.

And that was just in the first 30 minutes.

Add to that picture a pair of swollen ankles and thirty extra pounds, and I’m not sure how it gets done. I have fond, nostalgic, almost envious memories of my time being pregnant. I took off work when I needed to, slept when I wanted, worked out a lot, and in general spent nine months being pretty self-indulgent. I was one of those women who really enjoyed the whole pregnancy experience, but I’m under no illusions that any subsequent pregnancy will bear any resemblance whatsoever to that first one. Morning sickness? Too bad – baby needs her lunch. First trimester narcolepsy? Too bad – time to head out to the park. Aching back? Too bad – kiddo really wants a cuddle and is too tired to walk.

I guess that’s why three and four years are such popular spacings; waiting until the first child is older and more self-sufficient gives you a bit more rest time during the pregnancy. But I worry about how much harder subsequent pregnancies are the older you get, and think there’s something to the idea of just gritting your teeth and cranking out a few years of back-to-back diapers, because when it’s done, it’s done!

So if you can’t tell, we’re on the fence about the whole spacing thing. The one thing we do know is that we’re not planning on Madeleine being an only child; my mom’s an only child and has informed us it’s not an option, citing a lonely childhood and sole responsibility for her aging mother. We think it’d be great for Maddie to have other siblings to play with, so we’re amenable to that idea.

At any rate, if you’ve got strong opinions on spacing, comment here and give me your input. I’d love to hear it.

And speaking of siblings, welcome to the world, William Lacy!


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