This post strikes close to my heart. First some background information.
I met my husband in November 2005. We started dating December 5, 2005, found out I was pregnant in January 2006, and got married May 2006. Within 6 MONTHS of meeting my husband, we were expecting a child and married. Not exactly the “traditional” start to a lasting relationship or marriage. Not to mention I had been told by 3 different doctors that I would never be able to have children because of medical issues. Well, I got knocked up quick! (Maybe it was meant to happen. I still think this is true).
On October 6, 2006 our beautiful princess was born.
She completely changed our lives. My husband got his GED and then joined the military. Not to get into details, but our marriage struggled through these years. He deployed from 2009-2010 and it was HARD. Within 3-4 months of his unit getting back, almost half of the spouses were pregnant (it’s a military joke thing). Me, on the other hand, suffered many miscarriages and letdowns.
Starting in September 2010, my husband and I tried to have another baby. We were financially secure, and our daughter, who was 4 at the time, kept asking for a baby brother or sister. Month after month we had letdowns. I had 3 miscarriages and had basically given up on having another child. Let’s just say my emotions weren’t too pretty…and neither was my marriage.
Then in December 2011, I started feeling weird…Yep, I WAS PREGNANT. We were all so incredibly happy. I cried on the phone with my parents, friends, and military spouses who knew how much we wanted a second child. On August 9, 2012, our handsome son was born (FUN FACT: my husband and son share birthdays!).
There is 5 years and 10 months between my kids, so basically 6 years. I’m not even joking when people (mostly older individuals and young moms) ask me why we waited so long to have a second kid. It used to bother me VERY much, especially considering how many losses we had and the struggles we endured. BUT, I let go of that anger and decided to start responding with, “6 years is a perfect age gap.” And it is.
Now, I’m not saying people who have kids back to back to back are in the wrong. I’ve seen this many times and it works great for those families. I have also seen friends wait 10+ years in between their kids, because that is what they felt like doing.
Let me tell you something. There is NO “right” age gap between children. Whether you pop out a kid and immediately get pregnant again, or wait years in between, it is important to focus on individualizing your children versus rebutting any snarky comments about their age difference.
I’ve seen people be cruel over siblings less than a year apart or more than 5 years apart. My cousin, who is in her early 40s, has all teenagers…and a 2 year old. She didn’t plan on getting pregnant so late in life, but it happened, and it’s worked wonderfully for her.
The point of this post is for all you parents out there who have criticized or questioned another parent’s age gap between his or her kids, or for those parents who have been on the receiving end of that criticism, the fact of the matter is an age gap has absolutely ZERO impact on relationship developments and parental guidance. If you are gifted a child, make the most out of loving, cherishing, and teaching him or her. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out if you waited long enough or whether you waited too long.
I truly think things happen when they are supposed to happen. So how can anyone judge an age gap between children when there is absolutely NO way of controlling it, other than abstaining or using protection?
So quit being judgmental, quit trying to find reasons to argue and critique other parents, and just celebrate with parents around the world that we have one of the best jobs on the planet…raising and loving our children.