My son is almost one! Along with all the emotions that go along with my baby getting quantifiably older, a pretty unexpected one is emerging: uncertainty. I am plagued with uncertainty because Sol’s turning one means that soon (hopefully) my cycles will return and we will think about trying to conceive again. Originally we had planned to start trying again right away, but I have all these questions floating around in my head that are making me lean towards waiting awhile. We always planned to be attachment parents, and we always planned to have our children pretty close together (around 2 years spacing). But having been an attachment parent for a year has made me think twice about such a close spacing. Will I be doing my firstborn an injustice by having another baby so soon?
At this point, we would like our family to include 3 or 4 children. This hope is, of course, assuming a lot. We had an easy time getting pregnant with our first, but are trying not to take that for granted. For discussion’s sake let us assume that we are able to conceive fairly easily for all future pregnancies. There are still a lot of pros and cons to consider, some of them compounded by our AP choices.
We practice ecological/on cue breastfeeding. This means I am still up once or twice a night to nurse my son. Right now, this is doable for us. He cosleeps with us, and while I do wake up to nurse, it is pretty easy for the both of us to get back to sleep quickly. What will this be like when I am pregnant? I remember how exhausted I was for the first part of my first pregnancy. How will I deal with that exhaustion and continued night waking? What if my milk supply plummets or changes? Will Solomon stop breastfeeding because of my pregnancy sooner than if I had not been pregnant? I know a lot of women who breastfeed through pregnancy, but I need to consider how I will feel about him weaning when I am pregnant, because it is a definite possibility. What if my cycles don’t come back for a while but we are hoping for a closer spacing of children? Am I willing to night-wean Solomon in an effort to get my cycle back?
We cosleep. How will cosleeping work when I am humongous? When the new baby is born? Will we transition Solomon to his own sleeping space because of the new baby? Should we wait until he is more ready to sleep on his own to consider a second?
We practice positive/gentle discipline. Will I be able to stay relaxed and use a calm tone of voice with Solomon when I have a crying infant who needs me RIGHTNOW! and he has just dumped his yogurt all over me and the couch and the floor? I know quite a few moms who have 2 or 3 closely spaced kids, and it seems that they either yell and lose their temper more often, or they have more patience than I do. Will a bigger spacing between kids mean a happier mommy who doesn’t lose her cool?
We respond sensitively. Right now I feel very in tune with my son. I don’t feel like I am compromising on anything. We have a very trusting and attached relationship. I also feel like the next year or two of development is going to be challenging, and I am going to need a close, aware bond of communication with him. Would it be easier to wait until he is 3 or 4, has learned to use the potty, can talk, can walk to the car instead of being carried, etc. before having Baby #2?
As you can see (if you were patient enough to read through my incessant anxiety) I am starting to consider the benefits of a larger spacing between kids. But I also see benefits of a closer spacing. What do you think? How far apart are your kids? What pros and cons do you see in your parenting ability/style due to you kids ages? What spacing would you prefer/ do you plan to try for?
I am seeing that the timing of a second child is a much bigger decision than I had once thought. A second (or third, or fourth) is going to affect the older siblings. It is going to affect my parenting. It is certainly going to affect the new baby. Maybe I just need to make out a giant pro vs. con list and make some charts…
Alissa writes at A New History where she blogs about the challenge of authentic living with her husband, Levi and her one year old son, Solomon.