I was recently asked to write an article about ‘the best age gap between siblings’. Many hours of discussion with Mum friends, and even more hours of research led me to my original hypothesis. Of course there’s no ideal age gap! Each baby is individual, each parent has their own original set of circumstances. Trying to plan exactly when to have a second child is as easy as stapling water to a tree, and that’s assuming that when you decide you’ve reached this magically perfect moment in your life, you can get immediately pregnant.
There are lots and LOTS of statistics for a massively wide variety of pros and cons, medically for the mother, financially, socially for the children, what parent age is best, what first sibling temperament suits second siblings better at different stages of their life. The list is endless, and I say this with confidence when I had to physically stop myself researching so I could get some sleep, the topic is so vast and I think that’s because there are no answers, only opinions.
In the same way that the discussion about religion can and has gone on forever (am I really comparing religion to child rearing?! Yes I am but I have a valid point, stay with me!) so can the discussion about parenting, ANY aspect of parenting. So although all religions can agree that loving one another is good and we should live good, honest lives; there’s always a few extremists who take things too far one way or another. With parenting, we all agree that we should love our children and raise them the best we can, and there’s always a few (slightly less dangerous) extremists who insist the nursery mix special herbs and boil them in dolphin tears because baby Jemima is to be brought up as one with the sea.
When it comes to sibling age gaps all I can tell you is my personal opinion and assure you that whatever your personal opinion is, even if it completely and utterly contradicts mine, it is still absolutely valid and no more right or wrong. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s the bottom line. Not that it’s not really interesting to hear other people’s views, my only warning would be: stay away from the internet ‘facts and figures’. It won’t take long for every possible age gap to be far too dangerous, whether an increased risk of low intelligence, decreased risk of carrying to term, we are quickly bombarded with terrifying statistics.
On reading said statistics closely we find that often the increase or decrease is less than 1%, and with chances so slight, there really is very little use reading them, unless you like horrible dreams!
For my husband and I, our view is this; as our siblings are so important to us, it’s a no brainer for us that we want Scarlett to have a sibling. With a smaller age gap they’ll truly grow up together, and it won’t be such a huge shock to us to go back into ‘baby mode,’ the sleepless nights, the nappies, the bottles. Financially we’re doing well, and career wise, it makes more sense to both of us to have a closer gap.
With all that in mind, it may take ten years for another baby to come along, you just don’t know what nature has in store for you. The fact remains that whatever the eventual age gap, whether we have a boy or a girl and whether or not it happens when we plan, if it happens at all, we will love any and all children we have.
The only question you really need to ask yourself is this, “do you want another baby and do you feel as ready as you can be?” If the answer to that is yes, there is millions of pieces of information you can take into account if you want to, but really, that’s all you need to know.