Recently, I was reading NY Times columnist Lisa Belkin’s blog post about the Motrin controversy when I saw that her subsequent blog entry was on the news that the Pregnant Man is preggers yet again. Having an incredibly hard time understanding his first pregnancy, I figured I’d read it in hopes of answering some of the Girl’s questions on the matter.
But that wasn’t really the point of the post. It was about giving children space, at least in terms of birth order. A subject I deal with a lot more than I encounter pregnant males or (thankfully) Motrin moms.
I have 2 children that are 7 years apart. Somehow, when this comes up in conversation, the response of the person listening to me is usually to say, “Oh my!” or “Gosh!” It’s a natural inclination to then ask whether there were fertility issues, or other reasons to explain the spacing. I totally get it. My response is brutally honest. “That’s just the way it worked out for us.” I don’t answer any questions, but, heck, I’m not lying either.
My 2 sisters in law both have 2 kids exactly 2.5 years apart. Coincidence? Not really. In fact one said that she read that’s the optimal spacing between children and charted and plotted to ensure that it would happen. To which my response was, “There’s a manual for that sort of thing? Why wasn’t I issued one?”
Truth be told, I don’t believe there is a perfect way to space children in a birth order. It’s a hand of cards, and you get what you are dealt. If your fertility is strong enough to be able to plan and chart a pregnancy, great for you. But if you can’t, it certainly doesn’t mean you are behind the eight ball.
I love my two children more than anything, and couldn’t imagine any scenario other than the one I am in. I love that my 9 year old girl is a little mommy to her brother. I love watching him light up when he sees her come into a room, which he does every single time she comes into a room, I might add. For him, it’s the first time all over again. I know that I couldn’t handle the griping and sibling rivalry that having 2 kids close together can bring. I’m so glad I can experience having a little one and am able to give specialized attention to him as a toddler as well as to his sister, the tween. I remember when I was pregnant she was worried about how to be a big sister. I told her that as an only child, I had no idea how to be a sibling, so it was something we were going to learn together. We have, and oh what an adventure it has been.
When Ms. Belkin asks which is better, children close together or further apart, and is it even possible to plan and set realistic expectations, she concludes with this thought:
“Are these questions nothing more than a parlor game — impossible to answer until you look back on what life has handed you and who your children have become?”
I vote yes, and hope all of you get to look back with joy, laughter and love.