There are so many reasons why there may be a large age gap between siblings, fertility problems, relationship issues, personal choice etc. In my case I knew quite young (21) that I wanted a baby and I ignored the fact that my then-boyfriend wasn’t ready for one.
Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last the pregnancy but my little boy arrived in the world and was incredibly loved. Fast forward eight years and I’m 30, engaged, in a relatively small flat (but who cares cos it’s mine!) and more than ready for another despite swearing I’d have no more after a fairly traumatic birth experience.
For some a gap of nine or so years might seem pretty daunting, but I’ve found it to be such a positive experience so far, though that isn’t to say it’s smooth sailing all the time.
I’ve forgotten how many times during my pregnancy I said the words ‘I don’t remember this!’. So many things changed in the eight/nine years since I had my first. Every appointment seemed to bring about something new and the second time around I was able to find out the gender really early, something I hadn’t even imagined doing the first time.
Socialising with other mums has been different too, whilst I felt obligated to attend a mum and baby group the first time around (despite being somewhat socially awkward) there were instead facebook groups and babycentre groups that I was able to get involved in from the comfort of my baby-sick-smelling bed. Joy!
I find that I’m able to spend quality time with my baby without my son feeling left out. He is at school during the day which means that I get that one on one time with my newborn. So when we spend most of the weekend running around watching his football matches and doing activities, I don’t feel I’m favouring one child over the other, something I have to admit I’m quite conscious about since they both have different fathers.
The Fine Line Between Child & Little Helper
My son is at the age where he can help out, especially when I leave baby with him and Daddy and a Poonami hits! Though finding that balance between relying on him as a big brother and relying on him as a third parent is pretty tricky. I have to know exactly what I can and can’t expect of him, and thankfully my relationship with my son is close enough that I can pretty much tell what he’s thinking or planning before he starts thinking or planning it.
A couple of people I know leave their t(w)eenager to look after their little one while they go to the shops or something, though personally I couldn’t imagine leaving my boy to look after my little one while I go in the shower let alone out of the house. Don’t get me wrong, he could be trusted to, but that’s where I draw the line between him being my child and being a helper.
Luckily, most of my career has involved the organisation of work lives, a skill that is transferable and much needed when there’s barely 30 minutes between Rhymetime and Football training. Top tip: Put everything in your calendar, and I mean everything.
Growing Up Too Fast
There aren’t many nine year olds who can say the word boob, breastpump or poop without blushing or giggling, but in a household with an 8 month old, there are certain things that can somewhat desensitize a tweenager. I have yet to determine if this is a good or bad thing, but since sex education will be starting in Year 5, I’d say it’s a positive at the moment.
I’ve never experienced sibling rivalry (I am nine years older than my sister and eight years older than my brother) and am happy in the knowledge that my eldest absolutely adores his baby sister. Yes, it may mean listening to him singing baby shark to her on loop, but it’s worth it to bare witness to the bond they share.
Long may it continue!