Motherhood

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Kendra Smoot

What age difference do you have between your kids, if you have them? Or between your siblings? Here, five mothers share their kids’ different age gaps…

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Abbey’s boys, Alex and Ben, are 8 3/4 years apart. She says: “When the baby was born, Alex was about to turn nine. We had secondary infertility, and I had a lot of anxiety about the age difference, but things that are good about it are: there’s so much less fighting, and Alex is really helpful. It’s like having another set of hands — he opens the door for the stroller and grabs the wipes for me. He also delights in the baby. The baby calls bread ‘bun bun’ and it just tickles Alex. Because they are so far apart, they don’t play as peers, but they play together in some ways — like Alex will make a fort and the baby will enjoy it. We work hard to make sure Alex isn’t another parent. He’ll definitely discipline the baby sometimes, and I’m like, that’s my job. And he’s a much harsher would-be parent than I am! Overall, I think this age gap has totally exceeded my expectations of what a sibling connection can be. When I was pregnant, so many people said things like, ‘I had 10 years between my oldest brother and me and we’re so close.’ So, I didn’t plan it, but it’s pretty great!”

Kendra Smoot daughters

Kendra’s daughters, Stella and Imogen, are five years apart. She says: “I was 27 when I had Stella, and it wasn’t totally planned. I went back to work when she was six months old, and my career started going, and we just didn’t really think about having another one. Then, when she was four, I was like, if we do want to have another kid, I guess we should do this. When I was pregnant with Imogen, and Stella was in kindergarten, I was patting myself on the back about the age gap. But then there were a couple years when I was like, this was so dumb — one kid was tired of going to the park, and the other kid always wanted to go to the park. I wondered if I should have had them closer together. But now I’m back to feeling good about it. I mean, Stella can babysit! We went on vacation and, after a full day as a family, my husband and I went out to late dinners! So, it all kind of shakes out.”

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Kady’s girls, Sylvie and Neeve, are 2 1/2 years apart. She says: “I remember being intentional about the age gap being around two years, if possible. I wanted my kids to be close in age so they’d have common interests. My sister is seven years younger, and when I was little, I was always asking my mom for a sibling. So, I wanted that for my children — the company, a playmate, etc. It’s funny, when I look back at pictures when Sylvie was born, Neeve was still such a baby. She could barely speak! But at the time, I saw her as this really big sister. I like the age difference.”

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Olivia’s kids, Jimmy and Bo, are one year (and a week) apart. She says: “My kids are the closest in age that I’ve heard of, aside from twins. It was planned — which surprises people — because I’d been a nanny and I thought, let’s get all the diaper years over and done with. So, I was pregnant with a three-month-old baby. The first year was pretty crazy. The most trying thing was that every phase was double the time — so you’d have the terrible twos, but it would be two years long; or teething wasn’t be six months, it was twelve months. Nowadays, when they play well together, it’s incredible, but they’re permanently competitive. The younger one sees the older one always doing something first, not realizing it’s because she’s older, since they seem the same age. So, I try hard to focus on their individual talents and achievements.”

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Sharon has twin boys, Oscar and Owen. She says: “The first year was total chaos. Sometimes I couldn’t tell them apart when they were tiny babies and I just didn’t care! I was so exhausted, it honestly didn’t matter. Plus, they fed at the same time and even pooped at the same time. But when my kids turned one, to help people tell them apart, I decided that Owen would have short hair and Oscar would have long hair. And that’s still true, a decade later. I wanted them to feel like brothers, versus twins, and have their own identities. Another thing: People always think twins will be extra close, and maybe they will, but there doesn’t need to be that pressure. My boys have really different interests, and they get along well, but they don’t need to be best friends just because they’re twins.”

What about the kids in your life? What’s the age gap? How do you feel about it? Toby and Anton are three years apart — here’s the day they met. :)

P.S. On having an only child, and three words that changed how I parent.

(Top photo from Kendra Smoot’s Instagram.)

  1. Capucine says...

    Asking about age gaps might be the question to…not ask. I have found that age gaps larger than two years always have a reason, and the reason is invariably strong medicine a woman may not share easily in the aisle of Safeway.

    My reason is I’ve had nine miscarriages. Sometimes the reason is so much marital conflict arose after the first baby, another wasn’t remotely possible for many years. Or her first child was born with serious heart defects that required years of surgery, and now that all is well, she has sworn off ever conceiving again or even having sex out of fear she makes flawed humans. Or a mother who is defying the social norm in favor of her own life goals despite toxic judgement from all sides.

    I live by the rule that if it is longer than two years, the ‘why’ is not a question for the aisle of Safeway, especially for mamas who have one child. I answer honestly myself now because I know honesty helps us all, but when I was courting life, and death, I could not speak it. So if it’s a casual conversation, consider just…not asking.

    • Áine says...

      I’d have to agree with you, it’s never a question to ask except for the very closest of friends.

    • Rebekka says...

      Thank you for this, so much truth here.

  2. Kate says...

    My sister and I are just two years apart and best of friends; both of my pregnancies were “unplanned” but the age gap might as well have been.

    My husband, though, is the youngest of 13. (!) His oldest sibling is older than my Dad (by a couple months but still).

    I love each and every one of my in-laws but we are super close with a few who are 15-20 years older. Their kids are basically grown and ours are just babies. It’s like all the fun of siblings except they’ve got way more wisdom to share and financial stability than us Millennials.

  3. michele says...

    dudes i am one of 4, we’re all 2ish years apart, and we are thick as thieves! jk we all speak to each other maybe once a year. one of my brothers probs couldn’t even name my 3 kids. it’s not like we hate each other, we are just sooooo SO incredibly different and better off as long distance relatives. i’m 100% forcing my kids (ages 4, 2 and 6 months) to be best friends from the start. kidding. but of course it would be awesome if they were. and if not, guess what……they will be totally fiiiiiiiiiine! all that to say, stop over-thinking!!!!!! xo

    • michele says...

      actually i don’t even recall telling my brother about the last one…baby that is.

  4. U says...

    I’ve got 4 living kids and a baby who died when I was 5 months pregnant. Their ages are 13,11,7 and 5 months.
    Sometimes I feel like I’m mothering the shit out of life right now. Terrible teens. A baby, grief for my baby who died and the two in the middle.
    It’s tough keeping everyone happy but I also love it and them so much we muddle through.
    I always wanted to be a Mum. From a little kid. I honestly never had much ambition beyond being a mother so I guess In one way I’ve pushed myself in the mothering stakes

  5. Angela Leonard says...

    I’ve got boy girl twins that are 4.5 years old and only recently was I feeling the ache. It was insanity going from 0 to 2. I don’t think my marriage or my sanity would survive another set and that’s been my husband’s biggest fear. Now that I’m just beginning to see the light, I wasn’t sure I wanted to upset the balance. I got the confirmation I needed a month ago, during an ultrasound when the tech revealed both my ovaries had ovulated. I’ve never been much of a gambler, so this felt like a true sign that our family is complete. I feel lucky that I’ve got 2 perfect babies, but I’ll still mourn that “normal” pregnancy, and being able to delight in and hold one baby without prioritizing the needs of another.

  6. Laura says...

    How timely! My daughter just turned one so my husband and I are starting to have the conversation about when we should have our second. I’m torn between, “just get the baby stage over with” and “enjoy Annabelle for a while before adding another baby to the mix.” If I was certain I only wanted two kids I’d wait a little longer, but my heart tells me I want three (even though my exhausted mom brain says two is more than enough).
    I’m 32 so if a third baby is gonna happen, we should probably get the show on the road!

  7. C says...

    I look forward to reading these! I used to worry a lot about the different gaps in age btwn children. Obsess really. But now I realize that it is less about the age difference and much more about personalities and the reality that things and people change constantly. When I was young none of us 4 kids were close, regardless of the gap. But I was closest to my sister who was 8 yrs older. My kiddos are 10 yrs apart. Sometimes I wish they were closer but more often I am simply thrilled they are here! There will always be turmoil. There will always be times of closeness. I keep close to my heart the possibilities and the probability of both. We model love, kindness, laughter and respect. If you can do this, no matter the gap or the amount of kids, whether you have no pets or run a rescue farm, whether your family is next door or 3000 miles away, all will fall into (and out of!) place, over and over again. ❤️

  8. Caitlin says...

    We are in the newborn whirlwind of two kiddos 18 months apart (20 months and 7 weeks). We struggled with infertility with our first, so when we decided to stop preventing, we didn’t expect anything to come of it. Nope! Funny how you can be “trying” to get pregnant and still be surprised.

    It is a madhouse right now, but I am so thankful for these two little ones.

  9. Cathy says...

    I have 4 kids: 25, 21,19,and 14. They are all extremely close and always have been. I grew up with 4 siblings all of us 5 1/2 years apart and we fought so often and so bitterly, none of us are very close to this day. I knew that I didn’t want that for my kids so my husband and I were very intentional about helping them cultivate a close relationship. All their lives, I never let any strife pass. I addressed it all. I often talked with them about how lucky and blessed they are to have each other. We are a military family and moved every couple of years so many times they only had each other, no outside friends. They learned early on to get along and enjoy each other. My words of advice would be address everything. Don’t let them fight it out. Talk with them and teach them. Be very diligent in working with them to learn how to be best friends. It’s a lot more work than just ignoring behavior but it will pay off in the long run. It sure has for us!

  10. Meghan says...

    I have spent so much time thinking about this topic over the last 3 years, both as it pertains to my own children, myself and my siblings, and even the community I grew up in. My husband and I currently have two kids, ages 5 and 3 (they are 2 years+3 weeks apart). I am one of 3 siblings (both brothers, 3.5 years younger and 10.5 years younger than me…according to my parents, all 3 of us were planned). And then in the church/homeschooling community we grew up in, it was quite common to have very large families with “stairstep” kids. Due to my middle brother’s mental health challenges, I have actually always been closer to my youngest brother – in fact, his freshman year of high school, I would drive him to school because I also taught there :)

    I would love to have a third child, but my husband and I are still not on the same page yet – originally, I had wanted all of our kids to be 2 years apart, but now, we would have a minimum 6 and 4 year gap (possibly even more). Now that I am in the stage of life (at 31) where many of my friends are having their 3rd child (or beyond), I am struggling with so.many.feelings…. how many kids do we want? What would life be like to have a larger gap between kids? How do we afford the kids we have right now, living in a very expensive area of the country? Am I being “left behind”? How does anyone make this decision???? Clearly, I have a lot still to process….

    P.S. – Big heartfelt hugs to anyone who is struggling with fertility issues…I realize it is an enormous blessing/luxury to even talk about the “option” of having another child, when we already have 2 amazing kiddos.

  11. Joanna M says...

    My older brother and I are seven years apart. Growing up, we were either in the annoying-each-other phase or hardly-seeing-each-other phase (we only overlapped one year in the same school, when I was in kindergarten and he was in eighth grade), so I feel like we didn’t really get to know each other until I was in high school. Being involved in the same sports was a huge opportunity for bonding, even to this day. I used to wish we were closer in age, but have come to really value how we have become close over the years … as if we’ve had to earn it a little more, which makes it the slightest bit sweeter. But don’t worry, we still argue a lot :)

  12. Sarah T says...

    I was living overseas for both of my pregnancies. We were surprised when we found out our kids would be exactly 24 months apart, meaning the exact same due date. I had always planned for roughly 2 year age gap because it was great for my sister and I growing up. Luckily my daughter was born early and her brother came two years later, a few days late.

  13. bonnie says...

    If some of the families featured have three children, how was the decision made regarding what sibling ages would be focused on?

  14. Sara says...

    I love this, and love everyone’s stories. I’m five years older than my brother, and we only truly became close as adults. He lives across the country but have actually become closer as a result as our time together is so intentional. My husband is 6 years younger than his brother – and they emigrated to Canada from Eastern Europe when my husband was 5. They are estranged now, and I do think there very different childhoods is part of it. And of course – as two people with sibling age gaps, we had twins! They are almost 15 (boy and girl) and their deep love and friendship is the greatest gift.

  15. I don’t have kids yet but I’m just under 3 years apart from my middle sister and 4 years apart from my youngest sister (there’s 18 months between my two sisters). My mum actually treated my younger two siblings as twins as my middle sister has Down Syndrome as she was developmentally delayed.
    We’re all in our 20s now and super close and I like the idea of having 3 kids over 4 years.

  16. Kate says...

    As the pleasant surprise, I am nine years behind my four older siblings (who were all close in age), but I have such great relationships with each of them. Now, I have four children who are 22 months apart, 3 years, and another 3 years. I echo the sentiment that it’s all about personality–rather than age or gender–and that so many people can connect with children in a profound, sibling-like way (friends, cousins, etc.), especially as they get older.

  17. I am the oldest in a blended family of seven. My youngest brother was born during my freshman year of college, and because my dad was 18 when I came along, I’m actually closer in age to him and my stepmom (She is only 15 years older!) I felt mostly like an eldest kid, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized, given our unique situation, that I’m more of a middle child.

    Because of the huge age gap I experienced, I really wanted to have our kids close together. It took two years (and some science) to get pregnant with our son, so I started back on fertility treatments when he was eleven months, assuming it would take a while. Our daughter was impatiently waiting in the wings and I became pregnant on our first IUI. She’s two now, and our son turned four today, and I love their 21 month gap. It’s been exhausting at times, but their closeness has taught Lou to be patient and Edie to assert herself. Listening to them chat together about Paw Patrol or school or how much they mutually dislike what I’ve made for dinner is thrilling.

    Theres’s certainly no “right” age gap, but I feel really happy about (and grateful for!) ours.

    • Kate says...

      I also have a 4yo boy and 2yo girl, 25 month age gap and this sounds so familiar! I love that they are close enough in age to bond over Paw Patrol, and we also have a mutual dislike of Moms healthy food over here :)

  18. Letitia says...

    These are all so heartening to read. I have a 6 year old and an 8 year old and my heart is set on a third baby although my head knows my husband has been resisting for 5 years now. My sister and I are just under 2 years apart and my husband and his brother are just over 2 years apart, so having 3 kids with a 6-7 year gap between number 2 and 3 would be new for both of us. But when I find myself still wishing for it on every shooting star before my rational mind can kick in and say Hey mama, maybe give up on that dream, I want to try. The ache is so strong!!

    • Jules says...

      I’m in a really similar spot. Kids 6 and 8, thinking about a third. But I’m the one with cold feet. Do I really want to start again after just getting to this great phase? I’ve found so many positive stories about the 6-8ish year age gap, so that’s heartening, but still!

    • Christine says...

      I had a daughter and 22 months later came my son. I came from two and my husband came from four so I always thought three was a good compromise.
      He wasn’t fully on board, but agreed to “pull the goalie” and see what happened. Then we got pregnant with twins! They were born when my son was 2 1/2, so for a bit we had four kids four and under.
      What is really crazy is that my MIL had the same! My husband was 2 and his older brother was 4 when their younger twin brothers were born.
      The twins are just 14 mos now so I’m not far enough along to reflect on anything – still survival mode- but the joyful chaos is worth it (most days).

    • Kelli says...

      I had a 3rd with a 5.5 yr age gap with the first two girls just 2 years apart. He’s just a total joy for all of us. Go for it!

  19. Laura F says...

    My sister and I are 9 years apart (I’m older). Sadly, we hardly know each other at all. My kids are 23 mos apart (aged 25 and 27 now), and the first 9 months were the hardest. Once I could feed them mostly the same meals (neither ever liked baby food) and put them in the bath at the same time, things were much easier.

    Originally, I’d planned to space them 3 years apart, but happy surprises happen. As young kids, they could play together for hours. As adults, they’ve encountered some parallel challenges–new jobs, relationships ending, existential wonderings, etc. It’s comforting to look ahead and know they’ll be able to work together on family matters, including what my needs might be in the golden years. And the older they get, the smaller that 23 month gap feels.

  20. Beth says...

    Great post! Would be interesting to hear from some parents of step/half-siblings too.

    • Christina says...

      I have two half-siblings that are 15 years older than me. They never lived with us, so I consider myself an only child, since being a sibling is a relation and I don’t have that relation. In fact, I don’t know them at all and haven’t seen either of them for like 25 years.

    • Mariana says...

      Hi Beth! Happy to contribute to your step/half-sibling curiosity :) I have 2 sons (12 and 9) and 2 step-children (a 13 yo boy and a an 11 yo girl) so they are pretty much a lovely ladder (one step missing). They do bunch up by eldest/youngest a lot so it is wonderful to see how relationships develop regardless of blood relations. There are a lot of interesting dynamics going on here. I am curious as to how the teen years will be :)

  21. Ellen W says...

    My boys are 3 1/2 years apart. I honestly wasn’t ready to consider having a second kid until my older son was 2 and then for a while my husband was working out of town. Even though my first pregnancy was easy I didn’t want to be pregnant with a toddler when he was gone four days at a time. They are close enough to be friends but not in direct competition which is nice.

    • Andrea says...

      I am so grateful to the divine timing that put this comment at the very top at this moment I happened to read this post.
      Thank you for posting, Ellen!
      My daughter is over 2 1/2 and although I also didn’t feel ready for another until after she was 2, this summer we received some signs it was time for us to move, so we made the sudden switch to living with my husband’s parents the past 4 months (much longer than I hoped, but for only 2 more weeks!) while selling and buying a new home. We’d started trying for another a month or so before moving in here, and I hoped I was already pregnant when we moved in, but no.
      My husband has been desperate for another pregnancy for much longer than me, and as time has been passing and our daughter has just continued getting older, I realize everyday the age gap will be a little bigger. It’s been making me a bit anxious actually. She started to wear pull ups today and just seems like such a big kid all of a sudden!
      Yet, I know I could not bare living the rest of our lives with my in laws knowing we’d conceived our 2nd in their basement, so we aren’t currently trying. But we are very hopeful that I will be pregnant quickly after moving into our new home!! And if we are lucky enough to have it happen that way, the age gap will also be about 3 1/2 years. “Friends but not in direct competition” sounds lovely. :)

  22. A.M says...

    I’m a ‘late in life’ baby. Mum had me at 42, and there is a 20 year and 13 year gap between me and my older brothers. It was like growing up as a single child. As we get older the age gap narrows, but the relationship is always more like a cross between a dad and brother. Which is nice in its own way.

  23. Tracey says...

    The advantage of a big gap for me was not so much in the sibling relationship but in the parental one. I was born and my older siblings were already at school. I had five glorious years of my mother to myself. I remember gardening and baking with her throughout the day. I always felt cherished, maybe because I was to be her last baby, maybe because the other two were closer in age – I imagine two is much harder to enjoy when you’re trying to get socks on limbs, maybe because she was younger then with them and calmer, more assured with me, later … whatever it was my mother and I have always had a peaceful shorthand between us. My whole childhood we would leave each other love notes and never really fought, and today; gardening and baking are my meditation, I don’t think that’s coincidence. ❤️

    • CR says...

      ❤️

      This is how I hope my daughter will think of me.

      Joanna, i would love to hear about really strong mother/daughter relationships. Or at least some sweet stories about things daughters love about their mothers.

      Mother/daughters relationships can be so complicated but also so beautiful.

  24. Kate says...

    I’m pregnant with my first :) feels strange to write that since I’ve been reading this blog since high school but there you have it. We want 3 or 4 kids (taking it one at a time, so we shall see) so I always say I’d like to have the first 2 close together. If we want to take full advantage of maternity leave here in Canada that probably means they’ll be 2 years apart if everything goes to plan.
    My sister and I are 3 years apart and while our relationship is great now it was pretty tough in the 6 years where we took turns being pre-teens. Haha.

  25. Midge says...

    Mine are 2.5 years apart and different genders but have pretty similar interests and adore each other, so it worked out great!

    We do need to spend time explaining to Little that privileges (a later bedtime, a phone, more time out with friends, etc.) are equal in timing, not equal in time; she’ll get what Big got at the same age, not what Big has that day. Every once in a while she’ll try to catch us, “What time did Big go to bed when he was in 6th grade?” and we are so consistent that it has really quelled any sense of inequity that can arise.

  26. Anna says...

    I have a 4 year old and 2.5 year old now and am turning over the thought of a third…I think a lot about the age gap in terms of my ability to parent and meet everyone’s needs, so I am loving reading everyone’s experiences on how it’s been for them as moms. <3

    In my family of origin, I am one of 9 kids. The ages are:

    37
    34 (me)
    30
    29
    27
    24
    22
    19
    15

    I have really special relationships with each of my siblings, but today I probably talk the most with my 27-year-old brother and 24-year-old sister, although me and my 30-year-old sister played the most growing up. So, I agree with what others have said – it seems to be so much more about personality, interests, stage of life versus the years between.

    • KP says...

      It’s so interesting to read about another family like this. My husband is one of 9, ranging from 47 down to 27 years old. He’s 37, and the fifth child – so right in the middle in both age and birth order. He’s closest to his youngest sister (27) and to his eldest sister (46) even though he has several brothers closer to his own age. Just goes to show, as you’ve said, that the individual personalities, interests and life stages matter so much more than age or gender.

  27. Sarah Beth says...

    My two are 3.5 years apart. I myself have a brother 2.5 years younger than me, which is pretty ideal to me– we had the same school split (senior/freshman) that my children will have, which is what I had hoped for with my own kids. But I also have a sister who is 12 years younger than me, a stepsister who is also 12 years younger than me, and a half sister a whopping TWENTY ONE years younger than me. I am close with all of my siblings in different but wonderful ways, which gave me great comfort as we were “planning” our own family. However my kids laid out, I know there are so many wonderful permutations that can lead to great relationships. Did I want a newborn baby in the family the year I graduated college? Did my 10 year old sisters want another baby? nope! But we can’t imagine our lives without my youngest sister, and having a very modern family, as it were, really is the best. I always joke we have a girl baby every ten years, but it really is true! (me: ’83, sisters: ’94, baby sister: ’04, my daughter: ’15!)

  28. Adel says...

    What a great topic! I’m the third of ten so… obviously soo many dynamics going on there. But in thinking about who I’m closest with from all my siblings, it’s a brother 2.5 years up (w a sister in between) a sister 4 years down (w a brother in between) and- a sister 14 years down! So what is it? I think it’s all about the chemistry. At a certain point in life, age differences dissolve, and it’s the way the two people relate to eachother that’s left. Growing up, I fought bitterly my sister 1.5 years old than me, and my mother always ceremoniously waved it away with “you’ll be best friends one day!” Guess what? We’re not. I love her, as sisters would, but the chemistry that was never there still isn’t.

  29. Amanda says...

    Our first two are 26 months apart (I usually say two years, two months, too close). We wanted a little more separation with the third, but secondary infertility and an adoption wait gave us a four- and six-year age gap between the first two and third. The sibling relationship is the key reason we wanted three children, and I think they way you treat children individually and as a unit has a lot more to do with the outcome than the mechanics of age gap, gender, etc.

  30. Meg says...

    My girls are 21 years apart! I had my first child at 17 and because I had amazing family support I was able to finish school, go to college and start a career. I met my husband when my daughter was 10 and while he said he didn’t want kids he was immediately the best step father and we were a happy family of 3 for years. Fast forward to my daughter going to college, I was closing in on 40, and feeling like something was missing in my life. We had a false alarm pregnancy and that’s when I realized what was missing. We were both bummed when I wasn’t actually pregnant and decided to try again. My second was born while my first was in her junior year of college. And while they have never lived together permanently, just the occasional vacation and long weekend, they adore each other and are incredibly close. Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to have a second child, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing! It’s been a crazy and fun journey!

  31. Lisa says...

    Mine have a 20 month age gap, which was kind of deliberate. We struggled to conceive the first, so we were both a bit lax about contraception. Also, there was a three year age gap between me and my next sibling, and we’re not very close. My husband and his sister have a big age gap so we wanted to have them close together.
    The first year was insane – I look at pictures of my son when my daughter was born, and he was so little! Now they play really well together and they adore each other. We are going through a rough phase where my daughter has started terrible twos (so challenging everything, saying no) and my son is also being very defiant and talking back.

  32. My kids are 3, 5, 7 and 9 right now. We planned them close together because selfishly, we didn’t want to get out of the diaper + sleepless nights stage only to get back into it again several years later. It’s taken a serious toll on my health being pregnant four times in 6 years, and in some ways I still feel like I’m in the thick of it (maybe always will be, parenting four vastly different individuals) but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The sweetest has been seeing the unique bond/relationship the kids have with each of their sibling.

  33. Irene says...

    My brother and I are 6 years apart. We are polar opposites. Think professional body builder and classical musician. While we love each other, we’re not that close. I know that we can always count on each other for all the life stuff, but we don’t spend a ton of time together.

    There was a middle brother but he passed away as a baby. As a kid, especially before my second brother was born, I would talk to my imaginary brother all the time. I still think about what he would be like if he were here – would he also be pumping iron at the gym or would he be running scales in a practice room? If there’s a second act and I get to meet him in the great hereafter, I plan to ask if I’m the outlier or if our younger bro is!

    • Sarah says...

      Irene, thank you for this comment. Our youngest passed away and we are trying for another baby now. Would you be willing to reach out to talk more about your experience? We have talked to other parents who have experienced this unspeakable loss, but haven’t met anyone who can speak to the experience from the surviving child’s perspective. I’m at brooklyng6 @ g mail.

    • Irene says...

      @Sarah I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. I’ll reach out shortly with an email.

  34. while i like this topic and often discuss it (i have one two year old son), i think the bond between children is WAY more shaped by their individual personalities (and how they do or don’t match) and the broader dynamics within the family, than by their difference in age. many people around me think the closer the better, but i know plenty of examples of close-in-age siblings that aren’t that close relationally, and the opposite! to each their own but i decided not to let age gap be a deciding factor in when to have (or not to have) another child ❤️

    • Maggie says...

      I totally agree!

  35. Em says...

    My sons are 2 years apart (currently 3.5 and 1.5). We mostly wanted it this way due to our age. It’s proven to be more difficult than I expected having them this close. My youngest’s first year was a blur and I am sad I wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as my oldest’s first year. However I am now enjoying my youngest’s 2nd year more because I am not pregnant! I try everyday to embrace the stage they are in now even though it’s still so draining taking care of little ones.

  36. Amanda says...

    My older brother and I are have an almost 9-year age gap (he just turned 43 and I turn 35 in January). We’re both adopted, and our parents originally planned to stop at one kid, but then thought, hey, maybe we should do this again. (Which I’m thankful that they did, ha.)

    My brother and I are nearly polar opposites, both personality-wise and lifestyle-wise–he got married at 19 and has four kids, I’m still single; he’s a lieutenant colonel in the army, I’m an academic librarian (which is its own adventure, but not quite the same level of danger); he’s pretty stoic, and I am an emotional train wreck :p We’re not close, and I think we have maybe one phone conversation a year, but we both have a lot of respect for each other and are proud of each other’s accomplishments.

  37. I love this topic! My oldest brother is 11 years older than me – that age gap caused us to spend most of our childhoods in different places. I graduated kindergarten the year he graduated high school and there were times he felt more like a distant relative than a sibling. When I was 16 he came home for a visit and took me out to lunch during the school day – I got in the car and he was playing Lebanese Blonde by Thievery Corporation (a band I had recently gotten into) and I thought to myself “Is he actually cool?!”. That day was the beginning of it all and we quickly grew into close friends. We have so much in common and I love talking about childhood stories with him and hearing the differences in our lives even though we were raised by the same parents. I’m so glad our large age gap came to matter less in adult life, I can’t imagine my life without him as my friend.

  38. Megan says...

    Refreshing to hear Abbey’s take as we too are currently on the emotional roller coaster of secondary infertility and if we ever do manage to have kid #2 they are going to be at least 6 years apart. And of course we recognize how lucky we are to even have one. Infertility sucks. Hugs to anyone going through it.

    • Laura says...

      It really does. I am right there with you with my eldest who just turned 4 and two miscarriages last year. It’s like a knife in the gut every time people ask why we don’t have another yet. Sending a hug your way! ❤️

  39. Amelia says...

    This is something I have been agonizing over for quite a while. I have 3 kids and they are all between 2 to 2.5 years apart. When I had my 3rd my oldest was 4. My youngest is now 3 and I have FINALLY gotten my husband on board for a 4th and possibly the last. But for whatever reason I haven’t been able to get pregnant as quickly as the others – I never thought I would be the woman crying on the toilet when her period came, again. And I just keep seeing time slip away and the age gap getting larger. My fear is an awkward space between the 3rd and 4th when the rest are so much closer in age. I don’t want the last one to feel alone, be alone in the school years (not having a sibling close enough in grade to be at middle school or high school together), etc etc when the rest will be together. Does that make sense? And then my mind goes to feeling a “need” to have a 5th so the 4th has a buddy. And I hate that. I’d love to know if there are other families out there with closer ages and a bigger gap at the end of the family?? How is the dynamic?? Also, my younger sibling is about 6 years younger than me and the rest of my siblings and myself are all about 2 or 3 years apart. So I definitely feel disconnected from the younger one.

    • T says...

      Maybe if you reach out to your younger sibling and build a connection there you might not project (said lovingly) your worry on to your kids and future bebe. Whomever is born will be the exact right person for your family, if you let them.

    • Rae says...

      My family has a large age gap (10 years!) between the older four and my younger brother. It’s honestly kind of tough to isolate the age dynamics on our relationships because our upbringing was turbulent – our parents divorced when my younger brother was not yet 2, and our dad died when he was 13. So yes, in some ways it feels like we had two ‘families,’ if you will. But we (the older four) were all OBSESSED with the youngest when he came along, and we still are. So he had the disadvantage of not having siblings the same age to relate to, but on the other hand he got to have four big siblings who had done it all before and are all incredibly supportive of him. I think it’s hard to objectively judge your own sibling relationships, because you can never know any different! But my brothers and I are all very close, despite (or because of??) our large age range. It can work!

    • Diana K. says...

      It’s ok! I understand the urge to protect your (even unborn) children from all things, but a large age gap between siblings is not an adversity. He or she will feel alone and left out 100 different ways throughout their little life, and none of them will be because of you. Even if your child had no siblings at all, he or she would still have a super caring mom that made them feel overwhelming love and belonging. Does that make sense? I don’t know anyone who came from a family of 5+ people that EVER felt alone or left out in their own home. So please give yourself a break on this one.

    • Sandy says...

      The ‘alone’ factor makes sense to me and always worried me a little – my 3 are 13, 11, and 7. I worried at the beginning about the youngest, being on her own, being more of a little in a tween home. You know what? They both play with her in their own ways, and the age difference to me is just right for our family. We have I guess, an awkward space between 2nd and 3rd, but it doesn’t feel awkward to me.

  40. Kel says...

    😑 We had our first three babies in three years—another planned “might as well have the stages in one clump!” scenario. The baby/toddler years were murderously hard, the elementary years were the golden age of parks and everyone loving the same places and loads of family time, and now that I have three in high school, we’re back to murder. The teen angst x 3 is wrinkle-inducing x 3 and we’re also back to sleepless nights but for new reasons. Plus we have a 9-year old caboose who is my best friend but, he thinks he’s a teenager as well because that is the only kid-mode model he has in our home.

    If I could go back in time, I would pat my hand and tell myself to hold the horses on babies. But instead, it’s hang onto your sanity and onward ho. Starting this spring, I’ll be the mother to a new adult for the next three years.

    • M says...

      I love this comment. So refreshingly honest. I bet your kids have so many great childhood memories from those golden years you write about.

  41. Kris says...

    What I wouldn’t give to have this be a concern of mine. Am approaching two years of infertility after multiple failed IUIs, a double-procedure surgery, and IVF that’s currently being delayed by a wonky cycle. After all this, we haven’t had a single positive pregnancy test. Every time I hear women talk about ideal age differences, or when to get pregnant so they can announce the news at a certain time or avoid pregnancy in the heat of summer, I feel a sting. People are allowed to talk about these things, of course. But as an infertile person, it makes me so sad. I remember when my husband and I naively thought we would have those discussions, and now it’s just…grit our teeth, spend all our money, and throw ourselves into trying to have a shot in hell. Life can be so unfair.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so sorry, kris. that makes so much sense. and it sounds really, really hard. sending you love.

    • Sarah says...

      I’m so sorry you are going through this Kris, I really hope you it works out for you X

    • J says...

      Feeling this so hard, Kris. I used to think I’d have three kids, spaced out every two years. Now that I’m going on a year and a half of trying and going into my second IUI after a failed first try, I’d be grateful for just one. While I do think it’s fascinating to read everyone’s different experiences, reading about how people planned their kids’ age gaps in such a nonchalant manner really does sting. Sending you love and lots of positive vibes!

    • Emily says...

      I so feel you on this, Kris. My husband and I are going through IVF right now and to hear people talk about planning the timing of their future kids is like a punch to the gut. They say it so off-hand as if there’s no way something so simple could feel so painful to me, but it really does.

    • Melissa says...

      Infertility sucks and is devastating in so many ways. I’m so sorry you’re going through it too.

    • Kellyn says...

      <3

    • Emma says...

      Just writing to say I’m going through it, too, and sending you all love. I can barely write let alone talk about it at the moment, but somehow it helps to read everyone’s messages.

    • Kris says...

      Wow, many thanks to all for the kind replies and for not committing any of the cardinal sins of talking to someone with infertility (immediately going to a sister’s/friend’s/coworker’s success story, saying it will happen if it’s meant to be, or saying to just relax—the worst of them all!) Infertility is an enormous, life-altering trauma and there is pretty much nothing other than the maturity you gain from it that is positive. But I am continually buoyed by the kindness of people who really try to listen, and the stories of other women who have been dealt one of the hardest hands life can give you. Stay strong, all. I know how hard it is.

    • Laura says...

      It is so unfair. I hear you on how things people say without even thinking can hurt so much. Sending you a big hug. ❤️

    • Allison says...

      Sending you love, Kris. It is such a luxury to even have any say in any of this. I always tell my friends, fertility is so unfair. All of life’s unfair, but fertility especially so.

    • Becky says...

      Kris, I agree. Whenever I heard (and still hear) people talk about planning to have one more child because they want a girl (or boy) this time, or because of an ideal age gap between kids, I think wow, what a luxury it must be to able to not only choose the timing but to think in such a carefree way as if it were so easy and expected. What a blessing it must be to be able to choose the timing or at least think you have the control over it. I’m so sorry and for everyone dealing with infertility. I am thinking of you all.

    • Katie says...

      Feeling you so much Kris. Been there, done that, bear the physical and emotional scars. I was blessed to eventually have a happy outcome but it still shocks me the careless thing people say – even friends who know all. And how fresh the pain remains.

      I see you, I hear you, I hurt for you. Know someone is sending you strength, hope and all kinds of loving energy from PA.. I hope you have all the support in the world.

  42. Sam says...

    My beautiful boys are 11.5 months apart. In fact, they had exactly the same due date but we had a planned C-Section two weeks before. It’s a bittersweet story really, that has ended with the most perfect family for us. My first son had a very traumatic birth and we didn’t know if he would survive for a few weeks. The prognosis was very unknown and I fell into a hole of depression about as dark as it can get. A friend of mine was also going through a tough time as her husband had late stage brain cancer and she told me to cling together with our grief, or we would push each other away and the void would get too big. So we did. Literally! And even though I hadn’t even had a period yet and had only just stopped BF my second son basically knew he was a superhero who needed to come into this world and save his mama. And that’s exactly what he did. He brought me out of the hole. He was born with a ton of large birthmarks all over his body and doctors cannot explain why they happen but my mother, who always ‘knows things’ before anyone tells her, told me “Well he took your pain away so the birthmarks are trauma’s stamp”. <3
    I never would have planned my boys to be so close in age but now I realise we can rarely plan anything in this crazy, beautiful, bittersweet life.

    • E says...

      Wow this made me cry. Picturing his birthmarks is so beautiful.

    • Hayley says...

      Brought me to tears ❤️

  43. Heather says...

    I have 3 boys – 8, 4, 2. I had no control over any of it as it took a long time (years) to get pregnant with our second (naturally – I wasn’t ready to try IVF) and then our third was a bit of a shock. I feel really frazzled and overwhelmed most of the time. I love them dearly but worry I can’t focus on the needs of the oldest while keeping the youngest from jumping off the sofa and still have time to snuggle my total love bug middle one. But sometimes I think it might be the combination of their personalities more than anything. They are all very rambunctious and loud and persistent. I had a school conference today and the teacher was delighting in our son and said “Keep doing what you are doing – he is wonderful.” I’m holding that in my heart right now because most of the time I feel like I’m going to lose my mind.

    • siri says...

      This is our family almost to the T! Boys, 9 1/2, 6 & 4. 4 initial miscarriages led us to our golden boy, his very planned little brother, and then the «oops! guess the iud gell out!» youngest brother. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Abbie says...

      Heather i have three boys 7, 5, and 3 and it’s like you just described my exact life. Sounds like you’re doing AMAZING mama.

    • Kelly says...

      I have 2 girls – 9 and 3 – also very rambunctious, loud and persistent! And emotional and dramatic. And i also feel like i’m going to lose my mind much of the time! My older daughter will be hysterically screaming because her math homework is hard and my little will be hysterically screaming because she was trying to walk across all the kitchen counter stools and fell. Or my oldest is trying to tell me a long winded, urgent story about what happened at school and my little is yelling for help in the bathroom.

      it doesn’t help that they are both extroverts that kind of like chaos and I am an introvert who doesn’t, so much, like chaos.

  44. Sara says...

    My girls are 22 months apart, which now that they are 3 and 5 seems like a perfect gap. However, it was really, really difficult until my youngest was around two. Once she was old enough to talk and really play with her sister, and I started to get more sleep things improved dramatically!

    The first year of my younger daughter’s life is such a blur. I think I would have enjoyed her babyhood more if they were 3+ years apart, but now it’s so nice to have them both at similar phases, and into doing the same sort of things. They are great buddies and I really hope they can always have each other’s backs no matter how they grow and change over the years.

    Funnily, my older daughter asked me the other day if I thought she and her sister would be able to recognize each other when they grew up. Ha.

  45. Bb says...

    I am one of four – I am the oldest, my brother and stepsister are 3 years younger, and our half sister is 10 years younger. We are all best friends. My husband is one of four all 2 years apart. He and his siblings aren’t close at all. I ponder that often when I think of how funny families are – even the “perfectly” spaced children don’t guarantee lifelong friendship. We have four children – our eldest son is 9, the next two boys are 8 and 5, and we have a baby girl 9 months. The spacing has all brought its own challenges and joys. For example now it’s hard to have an often fussy baby slowing us down and making things a little harder in terms of freedom, but the three boys are absolutely obsessed with her and she makes us all laugh and brings out the sweetest side to each boy that would have been dormant had she not been born. Having the first two close together was hard bc I don’t really remember the second’s baby year, but they’re constant companions. I was able to enjoy the third and fourth’s babyness a LOT more bc there is a 3 and 4 year gap, respectively. I could go on – but one thing I’ve let go of over the years is there really is no perfect family combo, no ideal age gap between children. I do believe God designed families so that there is no gold standard, and each family is good and hard in its own unique way. It’s kind of like the countries and cultures of the world – each one is different and good.

  46. H says...

    This post is really just plucking my heartstrings. We have a 2.5 year old now and my husband and I talked about “not, not trying” starting back in August, but we found out his company is closing up shop later this year so now we’re dealing with job applications and contemplating a big move. I am so grateful to be in a position where we can actively “family plan,” and am of course thankful for my son, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that we’re not moving forward with expanding our family right now.

  47. Emma says...

    This post is telling me that you can find the good in any combination!

    • Jo says...

      Exactly!
      My husband has 2 sets of grown up cousins – one paternal and one maternal – with the exact same combination: A older brother and younger sister, who are 11 years apart.
      And the 2 sets are complete opposites. One bro/sis pair is very close, they visit each other atleast 2-3 times a year, spend major holidays together, dote on each others’ kids etc.
      The other pair is very distant – almost like they have nothing in common. They socialize formally but atleast from outside, I dont seen a close bond.
      Goes to show the age gap cannot predict how things will turn out.

  48. Little Miss says...

    i am the second of five sisters!
    im 1,5 years younger than the first. one,4 yearls odler than the third,8 years older than the fourth and 10 years older than the 5th one.
    i am now 37 years old and although at times it feels like there is no age difference between my younger sister and i,at other times it feels like we are centuries apart.
    we had other experiences growin up and this affected our level of maturity, despite the age difference.

  49. C says...

    My son is about to turn 4 and I’m two month pregnant with my second child. It took some time getting in the frame of mind of trying for a second. It’s such a huge decision and I tend to get fixated on all the unknowns. Financially, this is a good decision because our oldest will be entering public (free) school when our youngest will be in paid day-care/preschool. We’re happy to have waited because we thoroughly enjoyed our first and he has become quite easy to manage at this point so perhaps he will be a great helper with the baby. He’s been asking for a sibling for some time so we think an addition will make our family feel complete.

  50. Abbe says...

    What an interesting topic! I don’t have kids but am hoping to in the future and this is something I think about fairly often. I have one sibling, a brother, who is nearly 4 years older than me. If it helps quell any parent’s anxieties — this didn’t affect our relationship at all! I think it helped that I’m fairly mature for my age (which was maybe influenced by having an older brother) and he’s fairly immature (classic little sister assessment, ha!). We played together quite often as kids and were really close into high school. I think ultimately, you shouldn’t worry too much about “shaping” the relationship your children will have. This is so contingent on their personalities/your family dynamic/a million other factors! Just do what is best for you as parents and the rest will follow.

  51. Sofia says...

    My 3 siblings and I are all close in age (currently 31, 29, 28, 27) and I love it. We were so close growing up and had such fun playtimes all together, but naturally grew up with our own identities and own group of friends. I always tell people that when I have kids, I want them close in age as well.

  52. Kara says...

    Our son is 5 years old and we are in the process of becoming a licensed foster family for ages zero to five. I am CONSTANTLY thinking about how we could end up with a “sibling” gap anywhere along that spectrum (foster siblings, but that is still a sibling bond). A few months from now we could find ourselves parenting an infant and a five year old… or two five year olds… or some other combination in between! This post is such a helpful reminder that there is no ideal age gap. There are pros and cons to all of them, and so much of the sibling dynamic really just depends on the kids themselves, not necessarily the age gap between them.

  53. Caitlin says...

    My kids’ age gap will be 4 years and 4 months – my second is due in February. Actually, I used to lay awake thinking about the expanding age gap when I was trying to get pregnant with our second, which ended up taking longer than expected and a round of IVF. I found myself obsessing over it, which was insane since there was actually literally nothing I could do about it, as most obsessions go. I felt so much regret and beat myself up for waiting so long to try again for a second child. I’ve come around to all the reasons why a bigger-than-planned age gap is a blessing, and boy am I beyond lucky to even have a second on the way. It was/still is such a lesson in dealing with the curve balls life throws at us, learning to let go of the uncontrollables, understanding that the path you’re on is always the path you were meant to be on, and trusting that (as cliché as it sounds) everything happens for a reason. I now relish the conversations with my (most favorite age so far!) 4 year old about the new baby on the way and can’t wait to see him as a sweet, silly and loving big brother. <3

    • Elisabeth says...

      I can relate to this! We had our first with practically no effort and then dealt with secondary infertility for two years. Our son was born in August (making it a 4 year, 2 month gap). So far, it has been better than I could have imagined. My daughter loves her baby brother and my son thinks his sister is the most amazing thing ever. She was able to get him to smile earlier than we could :-) The pain during the wait was awful, but I’m so glad for the two kiddos I have now. I hope they stay close, but I agree with other commenters. I think it has a lot to do with your family, your kids, etc.

  54. Just a quick comment to say, though my boys aren’t twins, they’re names are Oscar and Owen too!! We call Owen “Harry” (his middle name) but what a coincidence!

  55. Beth says...

    Mine are just under two years and that first year was tough!
    But now my daughter is two and I’m 41 I’m constantly wondering what the next gap would be and if I’m too old and game enough for a third.
    Johanna is this code for your rethinking about your decision not to have another child? 😉

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha no we are definitely done! ;)

  56. Anna says...

    I have siblings 4 and 2 years older than me and 2 and 7 years younger (I’m the middle of five). I’m close to all my siblings so I don’t feel like age gap really matters. Going to high school with the ones just older and younger than me was a lot of fun. My oldest brother and youngest sister are best friends despite their 11 year age gap. As a senior in high school he would pick her up from kindergarten on his half days of school and they’d spend the day together. My husband also comes from a family of 5 kids but they are all 16 months- 2 years apart and my MIL says those were some crazy years with five kids age 7 and younger. I’m pregnant with our first and we plan to have more than 2 kids so there will be multiple age gaps between kids and I’m sure they’ll all work out.

    • Alex says...

      That is the sweetest story about your older brother and younger sister. What beautiful sibling love!

    • Emily says...

      I rarely comment, but I remember being in half day kinder and spending afternoons with my older brother (10.5 years older) and how I loved those times with him, and how heartbroken I was when he moved away for college.

  57. Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I were all geared up at the beginning of this year to start working on baby #2, which would have made for a 3ish year age gap. Then, some wonderful things happened in my career, and we decided to hold off on baby-making to give that growth space to bloom. That would have made for a 4ish year gap. When we started talking about trying again, we suddenly found ourselves facing some very unexpected health issues that meant now was not a good (or safe) time for me to be pregnant. While I am confident that each time we’ve made the right decision for ourselves and our family, it has still been a struggle to let go, again and again, of what we imagine our family will look like. Seeing these stories of the very different and very beautiful relationships that siblings and families can have was exactly what my heart needed.

  58. Jan says...

    This is a definitely a topic I think about ALL the time! My husband and I have three sons, ages 19, 17 and 4. The first two boys gave us the experience of raising “2 under 2”, and while challenging at times it was also a lot of fun. When the youngest was 5 we got pregnant again and lost the baby at 14 weeks. We’ve always believed that things work out the way they are meant to, so we carried on quite happily as a family of four. Until 8 years later when I surprisingly got pregnant again. It’s impossible to overstate how shocked we were. Our third son was born when the other two were 13 and 14. He is truly the best thing that ever happened to our household. He ADORES his brothers, and they return his affections in equal measure. We have one in University and another one getting ready to head off next September, and feel so, so thankful for the little person who’s still at home keeping us company as the older boys begin to lead their own exciting lives.

    • Mermaid says...

      Hello,

      What a cozy sounding family! How old were you and your husband when you discovered your surprise pregnancy? Were you at all concerned regarding health etc?

      Kindly,
      an older mom

    • Jan says...

      Hi! We were 39 and 48 when our surprise came along. To be honest, I wasn’t too worried about my health or the health of the baby, but because of my “advanced maternal age” my doctor thought it wasn’t a great idea that I carry to 40 weeks, so he was born at 37 weeks weighing 8lbs 6oz. We live in a very large city though, and I’ve noticed that a lot of women are having babies in their 40s now (I know of someone who just had one at 54!) so it didn’t seem too outrageous to be having a baby at our ages. :)

  59. Martha says...

    Our boys were very planned at almost three years apart and our family was complete. Or so we thought. Nope, we’re pregnant again. Boys will be 5 and 8 by the time the baby is born. Again, not at all planned but a welcome surprise (once we got over the initial shock!)

  60. Nicole says...

    I have a 16-year-old son and am currently pregnant, due in May 2020. My first was unplanned and I raised him by myself. It was important to me to wait until I got married to have any more children, and that just happened to take 15 years to happen. It’s very weird to have a child who is mostly independent and be so close to being empty nesters, and then decide to start all over from scratch again. We plan to have one more child after the one I am pregnant with now, and I want them to be 18 months to 2 years apart in age.

  61. Julie says...

    My sister and I are 18 months apart, and are close but fought a LOT as kids. My brother and I are almost 8 years apart in age, and he’s my best buddy. We weren’t necessarily “close” when he was young, because of the age difference, but I enjoyed the heck out of him and taught him early on to love some of the stuff that I did (Monty Python, Mystery Science Theater 3000). As he got older he was way more into music, and still teaches me about new bands and certain songwriters. It’s been a joy.

    I used to worry about age gaps with my own eventual children, but as someone who is infertile I just want one now. I’m almost 40 and it doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

    • bridget says...

      just read your words and wanted to extend an embrace. that must be so hard. i’m going to be hoping for your heart’s own wish for you. ❤️

  62. Oh I love reading about the different age gaps people end up with! My sister and I are nearly 6 years apart and have always been super close.

    I have five children under 9 – I wrote a thing a while ago about having closely spaced children (which was, then, 4 children in 6 years!) and its one of the things I think people are most curious about with our family. It’s chaotic! But mostly happy chaos.

    https://themumandthemom.com/2017/02/01/on-having-4-closely-spaced-children/

  63. Josephine says...

    My brother and I are 10 months apart (and we’re biological siblings with the same mom.) I actually searched all these comments before posting to see if anyone else’s children have such a small age gap. (Nope.) I didn’t think much about the logistics of this until I had my first child. By then, both my parents had passed away, and I couldn’t ask the million questions I had. My mom was very old-fashioned, Catholic, and wasn’t exactly into talking about things like vaginal versus C-section deliveries, breastfeeding, etc. I still can’t fathom how you could become pregnant in the month after giving birth – like was she totally not nursing? How did she even ovulate – or have sex at all for that matter? How did she deal with having only 1 month “off” from being pregnant for like a year and half? I can’t even imagine, and I wish I could have told her how amazing I think she was!

    • Susan says...

      Was your parents’ wedding close to when your brother was theoretically conceived? Is it possible he’s actually older? (This happened in my husband’s traditional Catholic family…)

    • K says...

      I know someone whose two children are 11 months apart, within the same calendar year too! I’m pretty sure she was breast feeding. But it has to be an easy first birth to have that second pregnancy be possible, right? Really full on emergency c-section here and given I still couldn’t walk without pain for a good two months or more, there was certainly no chance of much other activity!! (Mine are all 2 1/2 – 3 years apart which would have been my choice regardless of circumstance though.)

    • Julia says...

      My dad and his brother are 11 months apart – almost but not quite the same extreme as you and your brother. I have not asked my grandmother about it though, even though she’s still alive it feels like too personal a question. But it still amazes me – how and why?!? She’s not religious or in any way against birth control or the like — which makes me think it wasn’t exactly planned, and maybe it was more due to ignorance than anything else…? After my dad they then waited four years to have their next child, which makes me think the experience got a bit too much…

    • emily d says...

      not 10 months, but my husband and brother-in-law are 51 weeks apart. i asked my mother-in-law about it… she said she cried a lot when she found out. and doesn’t remember the first few years – she already had a 3 year old AND they moved to another state when my husband (baby 3 under 4) was a WEEK OLD. she’s not an open or emotive woman, but she was bracingly honest and i so appreciated it.

  64. Meg says...

    Olivia – I’d like to submit my sister and I in the close, but not twins category! We’re a year and three days apart. I’m actually the youngest of 4 kids who are all within 5 years of each other – my Mom has the same sentiment about diapers being done for good when that season is over (and PTA meetings and smelly middle school sports pick-ups)! As I get older, I’m more and more impressed with my parents. Having an infant, 1 yr old, 2 yr old, and 4 yr old must have been a hand full. But having a 6, 7, 8, and 10 yr old was too! Or the years we were all in middle or high school!! I lived it, but I am still in awe.

  65. Allie says...

    I spent my whole life thinking I was closer in age to my little sister than to my older brother. Turns out we just never did the math and I’m actually closer in age to my older brother. Ha!

  66. Anon says...

    I’m asking this as sensitively as possible (as a non-parent), but does anyone regret having kids? Not that you don’t love your kids, but do people secretly wish they’d remained child-free?

    This seems to be the most un-ask-able question but I’m still so interested.

    • Margot says...

      This is an interesting question. As someone who found the first year of my daughter’s life completely miserable (sleep deprivation + no support + a heap of “I’m the worst mother ever” feelings) I used to think alllllll the time “what on earth have I done” and would weep with regret. Now I’m over it and I don’t so much wish I had remained child-free, but more I wish I had appreciated my child-free existence more (if that makes sense?). I miss doing things for myself and I miss the person I used to be. Of course my daughter is the biggest blessing I have ever received, but I do look back and regret not doing more things for me with my time.

    • Anon says...

      It’s so interesting how taboo this question is! I think the reason it is taboo is because the word ‘regret’ may make a parent feel guilt.

      I provide the unasked for advice to all of my friends who don’t have children never to have one. That’s not to say I regret my child, I don’t, she is the center of my world and I love her more intensely than I ever thought possible. AND I hope my partner and I will be able to have more children.

      BUT had I not had her, I would have still lived a fulfilled life of love and happiness and more travel than I could imagine with my partner. And while I am completely lovingly consumed with my role as her parent, my life would have been so much easier and less stressful without her.

      It’s like the bar of chocolate when you’re on a diet, it’s delicious, but if you don’t try it you won’t tempt yourself to have more.

      So while I don’t ‘regret’ it, I would never recommend it.

    • Sara says...

      When my first, who is now 5, was a few weeks old, I remember very distinctly thinking my husband and I had ruined our lives. I also went through a phase of thinking everyone I know who had kids had tricked me into thinking it was great so that I would be as miserable as they were.

      Now I have two daughters, ages 3 and 5, and I am so glad to have them. In a way they DID ruin my life, because that old life I had is long gone and a new kid-centric one has taken its place. It took a long time to adjust to that realization and come to terms with it, though.

      For me, I am a healthier, happier person because of becoming a mother, but there are definitely many moments when I feel jealous of my child-free friends’ freedom.

    • stacy says...

      I’ll answer as best I can!
      I think with any life decision we always wonder, even fantasize about the road we didn’t take, the opposite path. I struggled with infertility and eventually got pregnant with my son via IVF. I “forced” the the pregnancy, in part because my husband really wanted kids, and also in part because I was destined to beat this infertility thing.
      Years 1 and 2 of babyhood were rough! I questioned (regretted?) my decision and my ability as a mother almost daily. I had a tough time bonding with my son and I ignored my failing marriage, I struggled silently but came out on the other end. In hindsight all the signs of postpartum depression were there, yet I ignored them.
      Today, he is almost 5! I thank my lucky stars for this wonderful boy. My heart expands in new ways every day because of him. My marriage has since failed yet there is not a single regret left in me. Do I sometimes wonder? Sure, dont we all? Where would I be if I had finished college? or not settled down so soon? or taken that epic trip?

    • t says...

      Hey Anon,

      I think this is a very hard question to answer once you have kids because you love them so stinking much that you can’t answer objectively. It isn’t like answering “do you regret moving to NYC” because you can’t love NYC like you love your children.

      But, I can honestly say that were I to live my life over again I wouldn’t have children.

    • AG says...

      I don’t regret having a kid.

    • KP says...

      I’m childless but just recently had this conversation with an acquaintance that has an 20 month old. He quite bluntly and seriously said he regrets having a child about 40% of the time. In the very early infant days, while his wife was deep in postpartum depression, they would seriously talk about whether they should put the child up for adoption because it was all so difficult, nothing came naturally, and they had no outside help or support. Now, they see that talk of adoption was mostly fueled by sleep deprivation but the challenge and stress definitely seems to remain. As someone contemplating starting a family myself, the conversation was fairly terrifying but I think the other commenters here get to the heart of the matter – parenthood is hard and you will miss your old life. It’s perfectly normal to mourn the loss of your old life and independence, etc.

    • Diane C says...

      When I was debating having another child, a parent with three told me, “I regret the life that we have right now, but I don’t regret the child.” And I think this is so true- you can absolutely love your child and still feel like you truly don’t have the life that you want.

    • Katharina says...

      I have three daughters and they were all planned. I don’t regret anything. I do find myself wondering though “what were we thinking?!”. My life would have been easier with less kids especially since our youngest is a special-needs child. But then again I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t be that person.
      My husband once said that he sometimes wonders, too. But then he imagines any of our girls to not be with us and that thought makes him tear up every time.

      For me it’s like Sara said: “I am a healthier, happier person because of becoming a mother, but there are definitely many moments when I feel jealous of my child-free friends’ freedom.”

      This year I had conversations with friends in different stages of their life. I sometimes felt like because I have more than two kids they were sort of apologizing to me for not planning on having kids or for just having one. But I do not care. Just because I chose to have kids does not mean anyone else has to.

    • Cece says...

      Oof. Well on a personal level – no I don’t regret having kids, I think I’m happier and more content now than I was pre-parenthood, and I’ve also discovered a lot about myself along the way.

      But I do miss aspects of my old life, travel in particular. And date nights and cultural stuff and time with my husband that’s just for the two of us. And my career has really suffered which definitely bothers me. And I’m not talking about a passing pang – I really, actively miss the freedom and spontaneity of being able to put myself and my needs first more. But it’s not a trade off I would make if you gave me the option, my kids would still win out. Also – money can fix a *lot* of parenting issues. If we were wealthy enough for exotic holidays and frequent babysitters I feel like I don’t think I’d want to change much in my life.

    • Kay says...

      I don’t regret having my son, but I don’t think I realized that I was saying goodbye to my old life for good. When he was a newborn I kept thinking to myself, “things will go back to normal”. But they never do. It’s a major attitude shift that I think takes time, and can’t fully be comprehended until you’re there.

  67. Meg says...

    My kids are 3 years & 2 months apart. Last year, my son told me i was “going to have baby sister soon” and we were not trying & i have reproductive health issues so i kindly informed him that was incorrect. I found out i was pregnant less than a week later. We didn’t find out what we were having, but he called the baby “baby sister” all along. He was right! He is the *best* big brother. I struggled a lot when wrapping my brain around the possibilities of each sex of baby when we were still waiting to find out, and always envisioned myself as the mama to two boys. I have learned so much from my son already, but he was so right… this sweet girl was meant to be our baby. I wasn’t sure i would ever be ready to have a second, so things really felt like they worked out the way they were meant to. I hope he always cares for his sister the way he does now…. no one makes her smile or laugh more than he does, and he absolutely delights in all of her baby mannerisms. Even “her is pulling my hair! That is so cute!”‘i know it won’t always be easy, but seeing them as siblings has already warmed my heart is such a wonderful way.

  68. Flannery says...

    Any reason why you only featured families of two?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      a couple of these families (kendra and sharon) actually have three kids, but i wanted to concentrate on the age difference between two siblings, in order to make the post feel more clear, if that makes sense! xo

  69. Meghan says...

    I’m a high school teacher and a couple of years ago we had a family that we referred to as ‘quintuplets’. They weren’t actually quintuplets; they were quadruplets with a younger sibling. BUT, that sibling was less than a year younger than them, so they were all in the same grade. It was pretty crazy. They were our school’s entire golf team.

    I often wonder what that household was like when they were babies. I know they had a lot of extended family’s help (they moved to Canada from Indonesia), but still…!?! What was it like for their mother to be pregnant with four 10-month olds at home? Was the youngest sibling planned? If not, imagine how she felt when she found out! What was her husband’s reaction? How do you actually keep that many babies alive? Like actually literally alive?!

    • Rebecca says...

      Haha, “like actually literally alive” I would wonder that too.

  70. Rachael says...

    LOVE reading all these comments and perspectives! I am 20 weeks along with our second and our daughters will be 3 years, 10 months apart. Ideally we would have liked them closer in age but due to secondary infertility & 2 miscarriages, this is the age difference we have been blessed with. At first, I felt stressed about it b/c I’m less than 2 years apart with both of my sisters and we are the best of friends. But the more and more I’m reading about age differences and talking to friends with a 3-4 age gap, most say how much they love it which is getting us excited about the larger gap. Our daughter is over the moon excited for a baby sister, but we also know what an adjustment it will be for her. She is a mama’s girl through and through, so we know it’ll be tough. But I think her being older and being able to help and be such a hands on big sister will help a lot. At least we’re hoping that’s the case!!!

    • Karrie says...

      Hi! Just piping up here to say “same!” My boys are 3 years 10 months apart and I also had 2 miscarriages in-between. I wanted to affirm to you that the age gap has worked out really well thus far (they are 5 years and 16 months right now). My eldest started full-day kindergarten when the baby was 2 months old (I took 12 months of maternity leave) and it was wonderful to be home alone with the baby (nursing and Netflix!) and then pop over to the school to pick up my kindergartner. My eldest is not as patient as I would always like with his toddler/baby brother, but he is old enough to be both a playmate and a helper. The youngest copies his brother and idolizes him, but is also not afraid to say “no no no no” and push him aside when he wants his own space. My heart soars when they cuddle and share a hug. My eldest can read now which is beneficial to our toddler who is only finally now enjoying books. While nothing will ever make the pain and grief of my pregnancy losses feel totally “okay”, seeing my living children grow and bond has been wonderful.

    • J says...

      I rarely comment but had to say- my sister and I are 4 years apart because my mother had miscarriages as well. As adults, we are the BEST of friends and I am so grateful for our age difference. It allowed us to be close growing up without ever being competitive, and now in our adult life age doesn’t seem to really matter. Having a sister is the best gift ever- your daughters are very lucky!

    • ERP says...

      My son is 3.5 years older than my daughter. I also had a daughter 2 years after my son was born, but lost her to a full-term stillbirth 5 days after his second birthday. Like you, it took me a long time to make peace with the age difference we’d have, versus what I had thought we’d have. However, it has been wonderful. Obviously, I wish (more than anything in the whole world) that my first daughter had survived, but it’s so difficult for me to imagine a 2 year age gap since I’ve found the bigger age gap so helpful. My son and I were (and are) very attached due to all we went through, so it was an adjustment at first. But it’s been better than I ever imagined. It will be GREAT!!! Don’t worry!!! And congrats!

    • Rachael says...

      Thank you for your sweet and reassuring replies. Made me tear up with happiness and excitement, so thank you so much! And J, to hear you say “your ‘daughters’ are very lucky” made my heart soar and eyes fill with happy tears. I’ve always had this vision/dream of 2 daughters, (side note to say we would have been just as thrilled to be welcoming a boy… any baby is a blessing!) but after 2 miscarriages and struggles with conceiving, we weren’t sure it was going to happen. When I think about how lucky and blessed we are to be welcoming our second daughter, I am filled with such gratitude. Feels like this sweet girl was just meant to be and was waiting for the right time to make her arrival.

    • Rachael says...

      And ERP, I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious daughter. I know a day doesn’t go by where you don’t think of her. Sending love.

  71. Summer says...

    Bahhh I don’t have kids and this question plagues me. My husband and I are both in our early 30s, both lawyers, and neither of us can even contemplate the logistics of adding a tiny human to our current schedules. But we also want kids – plural- and figuring out how to fit in two before we are out of child-bearing age is such a quagmire of competing interests. How does the age gap affect parents’ work-life balance?

    • Julia says...

      I’ll bite! I’m pregnant with my second right now and when she’s born, our kids will be 4.5 years apart. We intentionally did this for a few reasons – cost of daycare being one (so only one kid in daycare at a time), but also it has assisted me professionally. Baby babies are SO challenging, exhausting, needy, etc. and spacing them out a bit has made it all seem more manageable when it comes to balancing our full-time jobs and also grad school for me.

    • Meghan says...

      A friend once gave me a great piece of advice when I was pondering when to have kids : she said “ you’ll never really be ready. Youll always want to save more, travel more, work more. So if you want them, have them and you’ll figure it out”
      I found that with one baby, we could manage the work/life/ baby balance with good help and good effort from both parents. The second kid is a bit of a game changer for working parents. You have to decide what your priorities are because there will be a sacrifices, you and your partner just have to decide which ones to make .

    • Bb says...

      My two sense is you won’t figure it out until you go for it and the baby is in the world. Then it’ll all work out ok. Im sure you know (many women on CoJ have shared about this) that as you get older your fertility does decline – so if you want to have multiple children it’s worth thinking about getting started. I have many friends who waited bc of demanding (and awesome!) careers and regretted not starting sooner when they had trouble conceiving.

    • Alex says...

      You just have to do it! If you know you want kids, that is. There is never a “good time” and there will always be reasons to wait. But once you take the plunge, you’ll figure it out. And there’s just so much that’s out of your control, trying to plan it too perfectly will only make things more stressful. As for work-life balance, that will be really tricky if you’re both lawyers in any way that resembles my husband’s being a lawyer. As difficult as it can be, I might say having them closer together will ultimately be better for your work life because they can go through stages together and you will have less time where you are doing multiple drop-offs and pick-ups and bedtimes etc. Plus then they’ll both be in school together sooner. It will be a little crazy in the beginning, but as much as you can control it (which is not at all, haha) that’s what I would personally aim for!

    • M says...

      I echo the “you’ll never really be ready” comments. I’m also a lawyer and my husband works for a large bank. We didn’t have “extra time” before our first kid was born, and we still don’t! We make it work with a lot of planning, tons of outside help (and feeling thankful we have family close by/can afford our nanny and any extra hours), and lots of love. My son does make my work life harder, and I do sleep less to make up the hours lost at work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. That being said, it’s HARD, and I often tell colleagues that this life of mothering and lawyering is not for those who don’t want both parts. But, if you do, you’ll make it work, and it will feel worth it.

    • Jessica says...

      Hi Summer, very similar boat here–early mid-30s, lawyer, trying to figure out timing. Something that has come into our planning is maternity leave policies–we were “ready” a while ago, but then I switched jobs and maternity leave wouldn’t kick in until I’d been there a year, and then I couldn’t fathom pregnancy while figuring out a new firm/slightly different area of practice. Looking back, I’m glad we waited, it was a crazy first two years and I don’t understand how I could have done it pregnant/with a newborn. That said, I’m now happily settled at work, and it seems like the perfect time, but while trying is fun, no positive results yet, which is hard to deal with especially in light of having “put it on hold” for professional reasons. No answer, just wanted to chime in that you aren’t alone!

    • Ana D says...

      It took me three years to get pregnant (25 weeks today) and I spent a lot of time thinking about future state strategies before we started trying to conceive. What I know now is that I can’t make a strong strategy unless I have the necessary foundational information.

      For us, we learned the necessary foundation information for my family’s optimal (or at least, not abysmal) age gap between children starts with resolving these data points:
      Q1. Can we grow our first child?
      A1: Apparently yes. If we couldn’t grow a child, we were considering surrogacy or adoption. And again, that needs to be answered before planning the second theoretical child.

      Q2. Once we have this child, and are experiencing life as parents – are our feelings, resources, energy, and child’s quality of life at a level that would encourage us to attempt bringing another child into our family at this poitn?
      A2: Pending. Until I meet our first child (he’s swimming around above my bladder rn), and we parent him for at least a year, we won’t have sufficient data or brainspace to make a positive, generative, strategic decision about attempting to grow human #2.

    • Elisabeth says...

      We didn’t want to wait so long, but our four year gap between kiddos will definitely saves on childcare costs! Though it creates other challenges since one will be on a school schedule long before the other. One kiddo felt much easier than two, but I feel much less bothered by the trade-offs than I did the first time around. With one I felt like I had to make sure I could still pursue the same career in academia as before and now I’m not sure I care! (Though I am going back to work tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes :-)

  72. Sal says...

    My sister is 3 years and 3 days older than me, which was fairly intentional on our parents part, by all accounts.

    We were close enough in age that we often had similar interests, but far enough apart that we weren’t stepping on each others toes too much.

    • Christina says...

      This is exactly the reasoning behind our choosing the three-year age gap between our children, now 11, 14 and 17! :-)

    • Sarah says...

      This is the age gap that my husband and I would like for our kids too (getting ready to start trying for our first). We both have a sibling that’s 2 years younger and that was a little too close for both of us :)
      Plus, if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant early next year, I’ll have my first baby right before I turn 34. Hope to get to two before 40 :)

  73. Laura says...

    I would have liked to have a somewhat bigger age gap between my first and second, 4 years, because I thought it would be easier, limited time paying double for daycare, and truly I wasn’t quite ready for a second until our first was 3. But it took my husband even longer to be ready and then we had secondary infertility. I’m 38 weeks pregnant and we’ll have a 6 year age gap. Even though it’s not what I planned, I think it’s going to be great. It helps to read other people’s experiences of bigger age gaps since it isn’t the norm.
    I will say that I prepared myself for nosey questions about the size of the age gap but no one has said anything.

    • Olivia says...

      There is a 5.5 year age gap between my two boys, who are now 6.5 and 1. My siblings and I are only 2 years apart, and for a long time I regretted waiting so long to have a second. But the two of them are wonderful together! The little one adores the big one, and the big one is helpful and sweet, and he doesn’t feel like any of his territory is infringed upon (e.g., he understands he has to share his mom, and we do special stuff like build legos that the little one can’t do). If I need to sneak a nap while the little one naps, the big one can sit and watch a movie without any worries. At this age, the big one can articulate what he is feeling, which means we can much more easily deal with jealousy issues. Since I spend a lot of time in baby-world, it’s extra fun to sneak away with the older one once in a while. Having a baby makes me appreciate, in a way I probably wouldn’t if the gap weren’t there, just how interesting the big one is to talk to. If I could go back in time, the only thing I would change is the guilt–not the gap.

  74. Suzie says...

    My son and daughter are 26 months apart. Which, coincidentally, is the exact same distance my brother and I were. It was a nice distance apart. We got to be in school together, grow up with the same cultural references, knew the same people but still maintained our own lives and interests.

  75. F says...

    Oh my goodness, once again Cup of Jo is in my head! I have been agonising about this recently; after fertility treatment we were incredibly lucky to have our son who is 22 months; people keep asking me when we’re having another and I find it so tough to answer that! It’s a bit complex, with my fertility issues & being back at work, plus a summer deployment for my husband who was away may-October we hadn’t got round to trying. He’s just back and we were told to delay conceiving as he could have been exposed to zika. Added onto that, when the quarantine time is up and we can try again, if we were lucky enough to get pregnant again it may coincide with another 4 month deployment! I’m also mid thirties so aware I don’t have all the time in the world too. Argh!! This post was so good to read and helped quieten the eternally running dialogue in my head somewhat, so thank you!

  76. Ilona says...

    Mine are 5 years apart. I had really bad PND when my daughter was born and we were in a psychiatric hospital for a month. Things got better slowly, with therapy, and we are very close now (she’s 9). By the time she started school (age 4, might be different in the US) I felt sad that the baby years were over! I was turning 40 that year so we decided that if we wanted to have another child it should be sooner rather than later. I was anxious throughout my second pregnancy and was on antidepressants – I was worried the PND would hit again, worried I’d be putting my daughter through this at an age when she’d remember it.

    We had our son in December 2015. They get on really well most of the time, but we sometimes do separate activities on the weekend: he won’t sit through a two-hour film, while she will.

    I was really happy being a mum-of-one, and didn’t feel like I was damaging my daughter by ‘denying’ her a sibling. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

  77. Shannon says...

    The picture of Abbey’s boys melts my heart! Their story is so incredibly sweet. Thanks for sharing!

  78. Amy Thiessen says...

    Our boys are 3.3 yrs apart. It was a little further than the pre-child version of me would have thought they “should” be but I was thrown having the first one and didn’t feel ready for a second. I LOVE pushing important things back.
    At 8 and 4 almost 5, they are extremely close and sweet and just the right amount of helpful to each other and I hope it stays that way.

    • Lainey says...

      Almost identical situation here! We just weren’t ready to think about a second until my first was 2.5, approaching 3. Kids are 3 years, 4 months apart and I feel like it’s pretty ideal. They play together but also are at very different developmental stages and have their own things going on.

  79. Monika says...

    I loved what Sharon said about her twins and crafting their own identities. Mine aren’t identical but they look so much alike, people often confuse them (sometimes I do too!) So far, I’m fairly certain they’re both deeply devoted to and driven mad by each other as they fight a LOT (they’re 4 years old now) I have an older boy, by 2.5 years, a lovely big brother who is super-close with my wild twin and sometimes (a lot of the time) the party of three is chaos and fighting. But I have an older sister who is 18 months apart from me, and we are besties, and I want my kids to be close, to be each others defenders and champions, even if they can’t always like one another. I promote closeness and solidarity, yes, but I don’t pressure them to adore each other. That is all about chemistry and I can’t control that.

  80. Lucy says...

    I have twin girls that are turning six next week and my husband and I are tortured over whether to have another. The first 4 years were so hard I couldn’t even contemplate it, but now that we have caught our breath and they are such a joy, we’d like to go through this a second time (with a lot more experience and only one child this time around!). I also dread the day they both leave the house and we are empty nesters! But our life is so wonderful, and I enjoy my girls so much at this stage, that I hesitate because I know it will disrupt the equilibrium. Plus, I’m 41 and can’t get pregnant on my own, so I know it will be a process. I do think that having a potential gap of at least seven years has also made this decision harder because that feels like too far apart, but the responses here have given me a lot to think about. It can be so hard to make the decision that your family is complete!

    • Monika says...

      Lucy, can I just say that is is such a relief to hear that the first four years of twin parenthood were hard for you too? Not because I want it to be hard for anyone, just because it has been so, so hard for us and not many people are open about their struggles with parenthood, it’s most often easy breezy chit chat and jokes about sleepless nights. Thanks for being real. As for your decision, it IS bloody hard but I don’t know that there is a wrong choice here. Either way, you win. Kids, as I’m sure you know, have an incredible, wondrous way of working things out amongst themselves. To my mind, age gaps don’t affect the quality of love; personalities and upbringings do. Good luck going forward!

    • Liz says...

      Lucy,
      My twins are 7 and we would need IVF too. I would LOVE to have another but now I can’t imagine starting over, going through IVF again and having a big gap between the kids. It’s so hard.

    • Lucy says...

      Monika – I cried a lot ;-) I felt like a failure most of the time, but looking back, I think I was doing a pretty good job. It’s just so overwhelming when you are in the thick of it with two infants/toddlers that I was rarely noticing those moments of grace. Thanks for your words of support. <3

      Liz – good luck navigating the hard things. I'm with you. <3

  81. I’ve been feeling so preoccupied by this question lately and how it pertains to my own life. My son is about to turn 2, and my wife and I would love for him to have a sibling. He was conceived via IVF, and our next baby will be too, so it feels like we have a little more control over the timing and planning. I’m 20 months older than my brother, and my wife is 10 YEARS older than her sister, so we’re going to try to land somewhere in the middle I think. A difference of 4 years sounds nice (most of the time).

    What’s nice about this post, though, is that it’s showing me nothing’s perfect, and everything’s perfect. There is no correct age gap, no magic number of months or years that will guarantee harmony. Everyone who weighed in (and who’s commenting) has had one or two challenges, but overall each spacing seems to have been so worthwhile for its own unique reasons. That is lovely to know and fundamentally so reassuring.

    • Emma says...

      This was so nice to read. So many of the comments and perspectives shared on CoJ come solely from the perspective of a straight experience, and I really appreciate reading one closer to what my own will be one day! Thanks for this :)

    • Allison says...

      “Nothing’s perfect, and everything’s perfect” — is there any better description of all of this (fertility, pregnancy, parenthood)? I will hold on to that expression for a long time <3

  82. Daniela says...

    My brother and I are four years apart and I think it’s perfect. We’re close and still had things we would play together growing up.

    My husband has two siblings in their late teens on his mom’s side and then three siblings on his dad’s side that are 10, 3, and 1. He loves his siblings but a totally different dynamic than what I had growing up – for the youngest ones, he could be their dad!

    He’s 30 and I will be there next year and we both want kids but haven’t started trying. It feels like a lot of pressure especially since we’d love 2 or 3 but we just aren’t ready right now. Maybe next year but it would mean our kids would probably be very close in age since I also kind of want to be done around 35!

  83. juju says...

    One of my brothers is exactly 4.5 years younger than me and we’ve always delighted in wishing each other happy half/whole birthdays! We have another brother and sister, and we’re all very close, but it’s nice to have that funny little bond just between us.

  84. Iris says...

    I LOVE the timing of this post as I’m about to have my second baby, 3.5 years after my first. They’ll be the same distance in age as my younger sister and me, which has always felt like it worked well.

    We’re a major blended family – I have an half older brother and half sister but they’re 10/13 years older than me. They felt like grownups and almost like an aunt/uncle to me until I was an adult and now that we all have our own kids they feel completely like peers and we’re close.

    We also have 2 younger step sisters who are 9 and 13 years younger than me and I feel like such an old lady compared to them because they’re so hip and cool. I love our dynamic though, as they give my younger sister a chance to be a big sister and we’re all quite close in spite of the age difference. We’ve known them virtually their whole lives so even though there is a bit of an age difference and they’re step rather than full siblings, I can barely remember or imagine life without them.

  85. Alyssa says...

    At the risk of sounding crazy, I’m dying to know how Olivia got pregnant 3 months after giving birth! I tried to have my first 2 as close together as possible but didn’t ovulate until my older was 11 months old (which is when we got pregnant, yay!). Olivia, can you share your magic secret?

    • Mel says...

      I wondered the same thing. I breast fed my first til she was almost 3 and my period didn’t come back until she was a year and a half! I recognize I breastfed much longer than many but I always wonder if I would have had to cut off breastfeeding if I wanted kids closer (no, I didn’t/dont)

    • Alison says...

      For what it’s worth I exclusively breastfeed for 6+ months but still somehow was one of those women who had their period back/ovulating 11 weeks after birth.

    • Eve says...

      You can ovulate while still breastfeeding, for sure. (Speaking from my mom’s experience… I was born on my sister’s first birthday.) This is why OB/GYNs ask you about your post-birth birth control plans.

    • Dee says...

      I also really wanted to have my kids closer in age, but didn’t ovulate until I completely stopped breastfeeding when my oldest was 3 weeks shy of her second birthday. I had only been nursing at night at that point, but apparently that was enough to stop my cycle from returning. My kids have a 2 year, 9 months age gap, which in our experience has worked out really well. I do think that in the end, any age gap can work well; having a much bigger age gap with my own brother I did feel like I wanted my kids to grow up in similar circumstances. When I was growing up with my brother, it sometimes felt like we were growing up in two different families (economically, in different countries because of international moves, with young vs. older parents etc.)

  86. Daisy says...

    We have two boys 12 months apart. One is 20 months & the other 8 months old. We’re trying for baby number three. Yes, it is crazy chaos but we also have gotten used to it. My husband and I have big gaps with our siblings and we wanted to give our kids the possibility to be closer to their siblings. What really helps me through hard moments is thinking about how temporary these life stages are– the dishes, the laundry, and everything else can wait.

  87. Heather says...

    We had four babies in three years and one week. My husband was really hoping he could say, “we have four kids, two and under”, but we missed it by seven days.

    Our oldest was 19 months when our twins arrived, and they in turn were seventeen months when our youngest was born. We had a lot of help those first few years, and I drank a lot of coffee. But man, I miss those days of trips to story time at the library, the pumpkin patch every fall on school days to avoid the crowds, and just hanging out all day together. We went on a lot of adventures.

    That being said, Our youngest just went to kindergarten, and it’s been amazing having them all together again, in one place. Plus, I was ready!

    It’s been really cool watching them grow up together. They have such different personalities but all enjoy doing the same things for the most part. Right now, they’re all discovering Harry Potter, and it’s just so fun. Wouldn’t trade it for anything…but does make tooth fairy duties a bit challenging. So many teeth lost this past year. I could hardly keep up.

  88. Lydia says...

    I am the youngest of five and my oldest brother is 14 years older than me, then a sister 11 years older than me and another sister 10 years older than me, then my brother who is just 1 year older than me (then me!).
    My parents had a bit of a mid-life crisis in the form of my mom getting her tubes UNTIED to have my brother and I.
    I had a great time as a the youngest of 5. I called them all mom and dad, much to their chagrin! Ha!

    Honestly, I have great friendships with all my siblings, and often forget that we are so far apart in age. It has helped me make friends with peers in a range of ages, which is so valuable and lovely.

    My eldest sister was especially like a mother to me — since my own mom was often struggling with her alcoholism. It provided me with some otherwise absent stability. How fortunate I was. Today that sister is still often like a mother, but also my dearest dearest friend.

  89. Emily says...

    My sister and I are almost 3 years apart. To say I grew up in her shadow is an understatement-we grew up in a teeny tiny town and she was pretty, smart, outgoing, popular, thin, etc. etc. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I began to be Emily, instead of just her little sister. In many ways I loved having an older sister but in many ways I also resented it.

    I have a single child. The pressure to pro-create a second time was so strong when my son was two and frankly, has not yet fully waned. I’m approaching 45 and I’m wondering if people will stop asking me when I begin to look as if I couldn’t become pregnant again. Still, not a week goes by in my life or his where someone doesn’t say, Oh is he an ONLY? Or make some comment on him being a single child–particular people with more than one child. Frankly, it appalls me. I notice it frequently in the comments here as well–some notion that having a single child is somehow cruel or harms the child. It’s so odd to me that this notion persists. We live in an era where our planet is dying and the most helpful thing humans can do is limit reproduction and still we push this notion that families with multiple children are the best/better, etc. I feel for women who elect to not have children at all let alone those who yearn for children and cannot have them. We think progress has happened yet our identifies as women are still so tethered to our ability to bear children.

    • Erin G. says...

      I’m in the same boat, Emily, and couldn’t agree with you more or have said it better.

    • Julie says...

      That must be so infuriating. My husband and I have unexplained infertility and still get asked when we’re having kids. It’s such a loaded question, whether it’s about a first child or having more. I wish more people would be cognizant of that.

      Also, my husband is an only child and he had a wonderful childhood :)

    • SJ says...

      Disclaimer: I am currently pregnant with a second kid but I still HEAR YOU. Maybe it’s a validating thing for parents who have their schedules filled with sports games and play dates? With all the attention on the climate crisis it is a bit appalling to say more is better for anything let alone humans.

    • Katharina says...

      I am an only child and I liked it.
      So is my husband.
      We decided to have three kids.

      This year when meeting with some of my old friends I felt like they somehow felt the need to justify themselves in front of me for not planning on having kids or for just having one. But why? Just because I chose to have kids does not mean anyone else has to. Nor does it give me the right to comment on their choices.

      But I have to admit that having to justify myself for my children because having them was bad for the environment appalls me though.

  90. Erin says...

    Ours are 20 months apart. I found out on our daughter’s first birthday that I was pregnant. They are 6 and 8 now and are each other’s best friend and worst enemy depending on the hour.
    I only have half siblings who are much older than I am and I didn’t really grow up with them. The thing I was least prepared for was the fighting for no reason, the competitiveness and the feeling of displacement of the older one. Who knows though if those are personality things or due to closeness in age as siblings. And since you can only live one life… we’ll never know.

  91. amy says...

    My kids are 13 months apart and they are best friends. It was so overwhelming the first two years but it is such a blessing. I am trying to have a third baby now and on my “con” list is the age gap (the boys would be 6 and 7) if I am fortunate to conceive soon. Reading this post makes me realize there is no perfect “gap.” Thanks cup of jo! And thank you all readers. I love this community so much.

  92. Carmen says...

    I have been pregnant 7 times but only have 3 children. The two boys are 2 years and a half apart, and the girl is just one year and a half after the second. She was neither planned nor unplanned. But I can still remember the face of the chemist when, on my way to the kindergarten with the second in its pushchair, I asked for a pregnancy test…

    They are now almost 17, 14 and 12 and a half. My last pregnancy, a very unexpected one, was exactly five years ago, and should it have progressed (I miscarried again), they would have been 12, 10 and 8 years apart from the newborn.

  93. Tiffany says...

    My mom is one of 7 kids (6 girls – one boy). My grandparents had all 7 kids in a 10 year span (with no twins)!!! Not only was my granny fertile like the Nile Delta but she is a goddess for having so many in close proximity to one another while staying sane.

  94. Hilary says...

    I so appreciate this post! Similar to many here, I have an almost-3 year old and feel some pressure about cooking up a second baby. And while we’d very much like a second baby…I’m just so dang tired! I’m building a business, finally working out and getting strong again, and sleeping through the night. It’s hard to give that up. And I also know a lot of very happy sibling pairs who are five years apart. That seems like the sweet spot to me! Glad to see so many others here say that, too!

    • Mel says...

      I’m in the same boat. My daughter turned 3 a month ago and about 9 months ago is when I started feeling like ‘me’ again. I look at my friends with a ton of littles and wonder ‘how does she do it?!?!’ all the time. And then I remember that wonderful little phrase ‘good for them, not for me’. And then I sleep through the night, and listen to my daughter play independently for an hour and think, we could do this again….in a while.

    • Emily says...

      Right here with you. Still don’t make it to yoga as often as I’d like, and my kid is almost 3 and while part of me wants another one (tick, tock, little clock), I’m also really happy about getting more sleep and no more diapers.

  95. Kristin says...

    I have three kids and they are all 2.5 years apart. Now ages 12, 10 and 7. It was CRAZY for us parents to have three kids 5 and under at the time but they are all so close that I think it was worth it. They’ve always played together very well and are good friends. Built in play dates! :)

  96. I really wanted to have 2 kids that were around 2 years apart. It appeared that was going to work out as I got pregnant in August, so our kids would have been 2 years and 2 months apart – just as I wished. Then I miscarried at 8 weeks. :….( There are a lot of hard aspects of having a miscarriage but one of them has been the loss of that “ideal” time frame. After the miscarriage, I was so focused on the lost time between the time it took us to get pregnant, the 8 weeks being pregnant and the time we will wait for my body to heal/get another cycle. Now our best case scenario is for our kids to be 2.5-3 years apart. I’m trying to be ok with this but it’s really hard for a planner like me. My husband has an easier time letting go of the timeline because he is more go with the flow and wasn’t dead set on having kids 2 years apart. When I told him I was struggling to let go of the time we are losing he said he’s not focused on that because no amount obsessing will reverse the lost time. And intellectually, I understand that, but my heart hasn’t quite caught up with my mind. All that said, I know that when/if we have a 2nd child, the timing will have to be right and perhaps I’ll obsess less over the gap between our kids ages. Time will tell. I think the tough thing about sibling spacing is how little control we have over it – some will struggle to conceive, some will miscarry, etc. It feels very out of my control.

    • GJ says...

      Lisa, I’m so sorry for your loss. I too had a miscarriage under very similar circumstances (and sounds like with a similar personality) and our first two ended up being exactly 2.5 years apart. While the grief of that was complex and nuanced, I found in retrospect that I actually preferred that gap better. There is so much language development and maturity that happens around/shortly after the second birthday that it made parenting my oldest much easier with a newborn. My second and third were 2 years and 6 weeks apart and it felt much more like having two “babies” for that season since the older one just didn’t understand as much and wasn’t able to communicate her needs as well. I know how hard the loss of your ideal can be and I don’t mean to lessen that, but I wanted to offer up what I found in my journey to be a silver lining in case you can take encouragement from it.

    • Bb says...

      I totally understand that. I have 4 kids 20 months, 3 years and 4 years apart and each gap is wonderful in its own way. I promise when you do have your next child you’ll never think again about the spacing. It’ll be perfect.

    • IC says...

      Wow, the exact same thing happened to me, same time stamps and everything! And right after the miscarriage, I got the CMV-virus, so I couldn’t get pregnant for a few months either. As I was 35, I already considered myself quite old so I worried a lot too.

      My second one is born 2 years and 10 months after my first. Until now (second baby is 7 months old), I only see advantages. Oldest one is capable of dressing and undressing himself, washing himself, doing little chores at home. If he has to wait a little bit, he understands that most of the time. I think there is less stress for parents with a wider age gap, because the first one doesn’t need as much physical care anymore (changing nappies, dressing etc).

      Since the moment the second one was 5 months old, they really interact very well. Sometimes the oldest one is the only one who can make the youngest happy again. It’s really nice to see. So don’t worry about it, it will be okay and it will work.

      And as Joanna once said: it’s not about age or gender if they get on together, it’s mostly character. I agree with that.

    • Jen says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss :( I too felt a 2 year gap would be perfect. I don’t know if this helps but my kids are 2 years + 4 months apart and I frequently find myself wishing that gap was a little bigger. 2-2.5 seemed like the time where my oldest went from still babyish to little boy and I kind of feel like I missed out on that last bit! I don’t think there’s any perfect gap, every one has it’s pluses and downsides.

  97. Annie K says...

    I’m an only child and, until I was 15, lived full-time with my mom who has (since then) been diagnosed with persecutory delusional disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. I wanted a sibling so badly! To say, did that really just happen? Did I really say what she says I said? Dad didn’t actually do that, did he?

    My mom was the middle of three and I’ve often thought of her younger sister, my aunt, as the person my mom would have been had she been well. I told this aunt one time how much I wished I had a sibling throughout my whole childhood- My aunt carefully, lovingly reminded me that I had done so well despite the circumstances, and that siblings aren’t always a wholly positive influence on our lives. I hadn’t thought until then that my exceptionally difficult mother was also an exceptionally difficult sister.

    Of course, this was a different era and my mom’s family had other limitations that exacerbated all possible issues. I love hearing positive sibling stories and imagining them for my kids (2 years 7 months apart). I hope that neither of them struggles with severe mental illness, of course, and I try not to worry about it now (they are 3 and 7 months). I will do my best, as their mom, to support and encourage their relationship. And if the relationship is not what I wished it would be, I will validate them as individuals and not try to force them to be anything they aren’t. I’m reminding myself now and will need to again and again, I’m sure.

  98. Ana says...

    I have just had my second son, and the first one Daniel is 6 years old (and a half). I didn’t want such a big difference, but we had many infertility problems, that’s life… But now I am happy with the situation!! Daniel is very happy with the little one and is not jealous at all for example… It is very easy with both of them. Now, I wonder what would the situation be with a baby and a toddler!! OMG!!

    • Laura says...

      Yes! By next week, we’ll have a 6 year old and a newborn. It’s not what I planned (fertility issues too) but now I can’t imagine how challenging it would be to have a much smaller age gap.

  99. Kiley says...

    My husband and I have an 8 month old, and we debate the best time to have our next child a lot. I know that having children close together is no guarantee that they’ll be best friends, but my husband and his brother are a year apart, and they had the same group of friends, same interests, and were always close in school and still today. My brother and I are 3 years apart, and it always seemed like we were just missing each other in terms of school and interests. The highlight was when I was a senior in high school and he was a freshman. It made me wish we could have spent more of those years together. I think we’re on the same page with a potential second child, but when I bring up the option of a third that’s where I lose him, ha!

  100. Colleen S says...

    The age difference between my sisters and I are interesting. I have a sister who is 22 months younger, one who 8.5 years younger, and the youngest is 12 years my junior. I am closest to my two youngest sisters and have basically no relationship with the one closest to my age. My parents were 27 when I was born and 39 when the youngest was born.

  101. Sabrina says...

    I have a half sister who is 18 years younger than me and I sometimes feel like her mom, which I definitely could be so I feel like we wo ‘t ever have that sister connection, as I mostly ferel like her babysitter or possible parent. It’s sometimes really fun though to play the cool aunt/half sister who lets her do all the cool stuff that parents wouldn’t do haha

  102. Alexandra says...

    I second Kady. I’m an only child and I so longed for a sibling my entire life, that when my husband and I decided to have kids I definitely wanted to have more than one. As a matter of fact I was more stressed in my second pregnancy and I had people telling me not to worry because “you already have one”. Such a silly comment, although well meant by most including my own mother 😂. There are 2 1/2 years between my girls and now that they are 19 and 16 1/2 and so close to each other I feel so grateful for having them at the time I did. The older one is away in college so it took a while to rebalance things because suddenly we were again a family of three. Some days I don’t hear from my firstborn and then her sister says sometime like “oh we were on the phone for two hours straight” and I know things are ok 🙂

  103. txilibrin says...

    Mine are 23 months apart. When I delivered my second I felt so guilty because I thought I wasn’t going to pay much attention to the older one. I remember sitting with a friend in her hospital bed (we delivered 3 days apart) crying because I felt I was a bad mom. I wanted my kids even closer in age but this has worked out so well!
    My older loves his brother and when he doesn’t see him around, he keeps asking for him.
    And the baby is amused seeing his brother play. It is still early, the baby is just 4 months, so I really hope they get along as much as siblings can. I’m a single child and I think having someone there always for you has to be the best ever.

  104. Anitra says...

    I think the closer in age, the higher the highs and the lower the lows! My sister and I are four years apart (I’m the baby) and we were inseparable until she entered her teenage years… then we DESPISED each other until she went off to college. Now we’ve been best friends again for over ten years! I’m sure my Mom didn’t much enjoy our teenage years, but I wouldn’t give them up for the many more amazing years of friendship we’ve had.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s wonderful, anitra.

    • I can second this! My little sister and I are 18 months apart and we battled constantly- in fact we still battle decades later. But our bond is deep and intense and we work hard to keep one another close despite/around/through our differences. It has never been easy but it has always been worth it.

  105. Andrea says...

    My daughter and son are exactly 23 months apart. It was difficult at first – one barely two years old and a newborn, both with different needs. That season of life was both fun and overwhelming, and they grow up so fast.
    Now they are 12 and 10 years old, and I’m so thankful that they have had each other to grow, play, and fight (!) with.

  106. Hannah says...

    I’m 5 years older than my brother and 7 years older than my sister. It was fun to always get to be the leader in games of make believe growing up, and I think it’s a larger part of why I ended up being a teacher. I loved helping my siblings learn and grow. A big gap definitely doesn’t mean you won’t be close. My siblings are my best friends. Honestly, I think being far apart in age helped that since when we were young we weren’t competing. Once you’re out of college you all end up in the same big age pot – struggling 20s for all – and the age gap starts to fade away.

  107. Anna says...

    A very weird question, but was the photo of Sharon’s boys taken in Reykjavik? (I think I recognise the coffee shop and street (!?), even though I have been there only once. Either it’s the same place or everything looks the same now. And, Sharon, your blog and internet presence is dearly missed! Hope you’re thriving.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! they go on a christmas trip every year and went there a couple years ago!

    • Molly says...

      Yes I miss Sharon’s blog so dearly!!

  108. HM says...

    My kids are 3 years and 1 month apart, which feels like the perfect gap for our family. Our daughter BEGGED for a sibling, and she hasn’t stopped being obsessed with our son. She has always been a really patient, empathetic kid–I joke that she’s his preferred parent, since he goes to her first if he wants help or comfort.

    Our little one just turned 2, and part of me is longing for a third (and fourth)… but the other part of me is longing for a quiet morning three days a week once the 2-year-old is in preschool.

    My greatest worry in introducing more kids to the mix is that it would upset the balance of my two, who so fully belong to one another.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      mine are 3 years and a month apart, too. your kids sound really sweet. <3

  109. C says...

    I have two older sisters. One (L) is 2.5 years older and the other (E) is a full 14 years older. All three of us have gone through different levels of closeness with each other.

    Since L and I grew up basically in the same bedroom, we fought like hell as kids. But when she moved from Texas to New York 12 years ago, we realized how much we missed each other and have been pretty close ever since. My relationship with E has been much rockier – 14 years puts her right at the age where she’s sort of a sister but sort of a second mom. That was tough, particularly when I was in my 20s and didn’t want another person telling me I was making mistakes. She definitely disagrees with most of my life decisions (for example, I quit a very lucrative STEM career to get a PhD in the humanities and that resulted in a gigantic argument that’s never really been resolved…4 years later) so our current relationship is quite tenuous – at the moment, we only speak on holidays. She called me a few weeks ago and I thought, “Oh shit, E is calling. Did someone die?” Then I remembered it was my birthday! I’m hoping we can find a way to get back to a level of closeness that feels good again.

    My mom and her sister were as close as two sisters could be until they had a huge falling out 30 years ago and haven’t seen or spoken to each other since. I want to avoid that with L and E at all cost. Grudges just aren’t worth it.

  110. Evelyne says...

    This is a lovely topic, but also one that can be difficult. Some of the people have mentioned in their comments the reasons that are beyond our control and that can have a great impact on when one has a child. My children (if we are able to have another) will not have the age gap that I wanted because of delays in my menstrual cycle starting up again and a very difficult and drawn out miscarriage. Who knows what will happen next.
    There can be a lot of judgement from others who don’t know the potentially painful circumstances that shape the family that one has.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for your note, evelyne. i hear you. and i’m so sorry about your miscarriage. sending you so much love.

    • Jenna says...

      This. I have an only. I probably would have made the same choice had it been a choice, but it didn’t really feel like one. My pregnancy was very unplanned and having another kid with the same father wouldn’t have been smart. His dad was a horrible partner to me, and now that my son is older, he really dislikes his biodad. In my new relationship (now nearly 12 years), we decided against a kid for various reasons—the age gap, that we didn’t want to return to the baby phase at that point, and that my first child would have been the only person of color in our family and we didn’t want him to feel othered.

  111. My husband and I have siblings with ages that are very spaced out (my youngest brother is 11 years older than me, my oldest is 17 years older). So we always wanted to have kids with a small age gap in the hopes that they’d relate to each other more easily.

    Now we have two kids who are 23 months apart, and it’s great in a lot of ways – they have the same interests, they play together all the time, they actually look like twins. But I wasn’t prepared for how much harder is it on the parents! When they started sharing a room, the four year old immediately taught the two year old how to open doorknobs and get through all the child-proof locks. If one of them has an idea for some sort of mischief, the other eggs him on.

    I love that they’re so close, but I have a new appreciation for more spaced out siblings. :)

  112. Cath says...

    It took us a while to conceive our first son, who is now 10 months. We are in complete shock to be expecting another boy already, a happy accident who will be just 17 months younger than his brother. I’ve heard that kids close in age are extremely competitive, especially when they are the same gender. I’m hoping I can do a good job fostering a healthy relationship between them, but as an only child myself, I don’t have any personal experience in dealing with a sibling rivalry. Does anyone have experience with this?

    • Lisa Murphy says...

      My kids are 15 months apart. My oldest was 6 months old and I was pregnant with twins! Not planned and life was super crazy when they were little. They are 17, 16, and 16 now. Yes they are competitive and have the closest relationships all at the same time. They are each other’s cheerleaders and times rivals. I am 10 years older than my sister and my husband is 7 years younger than his brother. We are jealous of the closeness our children have. We just try to make sure that the kids get alone time with us so that they know they don’t have to compete for our attention.

  113. Kate says...

    I have three children and number 4 on the way, we’ll have 2 years, almost 3 years and 2.5 years differences. I’ve loved having them close generally but it surprises me how close a relationship my eldest has with my (current) youngest even though they are almost 5 years apart so I think all age gaps work out in the end. The close gaps means I will be in the small children phase for a decade which is not something I envisioned for myself but what makes you happy isn’t always what you thought!

    • This is pretty much us too! My two oldest are 23 months apart, my third came 2.5 years after my second, and I’m pregnant with #4 who will be 21 months younger than #3. I’ve found that so far, the personalities dictate just as much as the age in terms of how they play together. All of mine play well together but in such different ways! A mom of 6 once told me that siblings have a way of softening the edges of each other, and I’ve found this to be so true.

  114. We have three kids…a 12 yr old boy, 9 year old, and a 10 month old girl. Adding a baby after all these years of parenting older kids is chaotic sometimes. But since my husband and I both have 2 siblings, three kids felt normal to us.

    My son is much sweeter toward the baby than my daughter. During my pregnancy my daughter referred to the baby as the replacement. So there’s a little jealousy going on. But we’re managing. And we get to enjoy all the cute stuff that babies do, only this time we’re more relaxed and less worried about the little things.

    • Kate says...

      I have 3, not quite as spaced out but with a gap between 2 and 3–my older two (also boy, then girl) are 23 months apart and then there was a 4.5-year gap before the baby. When my middle daughter was about 5 and the baby was 6 months, she turned to me one day and growled “…and then you went and got this BABY that we didn’t even NEED.” But 2 years later they are so amazing with each other! Both big kids are lovely with the baby (I guess she’s not really a baby now—2.5!), and it makes me realize how hard it was when I had a little toddler and a newborn.

  115. Mali says...

    I have five kids, and there are different age gaps between all of them–none of it intentional. I just got pregnant when I got pregnant, and I see advantages and disadvantages to it all. The biggest gap is three years and the smallest gap is 22 months, and between the oldest and the youngest there are 10 years. All of them are sometimes friends. All of them are sometimes frustrated and annoyed with each other (or just one … or two). All of them can play together at times, and sometimes they each play separately. I see it as a great microcosm of the world.

  116. SN says...

    I just had our first baby in August and it’s so interesting to think about when / if we’ll try for another. I’m so in awe of her right now, I can’t even think when I’d be ready for another. But hopefully it will just feel right? Of course we’d be so lucky to have a second I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, or take anything for granted assuming we’ll have this experience again.

    I’m one of four and I have 6, 3 and 4 year age differences between my older and younger siblings. I’ve always been close to all of them, but our relationships have changed and evolved so much, I don’t think the gap has as much impact now that we’re in our 20s & 30s. Growing up, it was fun having siblings in different life stages because you could learn from them, but had a time buffer to carve your own path. Just like anything… I think we get what we need in life, so any gap has it’s wonderful aspects and it’s challenges.

  117. Rebecca says...

    I grew up one of 5 kids, and the first 4 of us were born in a 5 year period (my poor Mom) and then there is an 8 year gap during which my mom decided she wanted one more! I loved having siblings close in age to me but I also loved having a sibling who was 11 years younger: I wrote all these journal entries about funny things she would do or say, saved pictures and notes she would leave me, and have so many good memories from every stage of her life. She’s been one of my favorite people since the day she was born, and I think it’s really cool that she has 4 older siblings who remember way more about her growing up years than my parents do about ours.

    • Tara says...

      Rebecca–I am also one of five and the first four of us are very close in age! At one point my parents had a four year old, a two-year-old (me), and one year old and a newborn. My sister and I are the closest in age–13 months. Then there was a six year gap before my brother was born. When we were all off at college (there was a three year period where my parents had three kids in private colleges simultaneously :S) they felt a bit sorry for my brother and made sure we had a wonderful dog so he had some more companionship! I was 8 when he was born and felt like he was MY baby. We all are so close and share very similar senses of humor–the three middle kids (me, my sister and my brother were all within 29 months of each other) especially all felt the same age for a while there. They know how to crack me up with a single word or bring me down a peg. I got married much older than my mom and my two boys are 23 months apart, which has been a good span for our family. How did they become teenagers, though? My siblings are among my very favorite people–how lucky I am! I hope the same for my boys.

  118. Rose says...

    My children are 6 years apart. Unplanned. Ideally for us, we wanted them close in age- but it didn’t happen. At 13 and 7 they don’t play they same way they used to- pretty randomly they have these moments where they totally connect- whether it’s over Pokemon, soccer, a snack… It’s almost as if they both subconsciously realize they haven’t connected in a while and they gravitate towards each other- they will both be much happier for the rest of the day. It’s a restorative moment for them… and ME! I love being the fly on the wall and watching my daughter giggle because of her older brother, even vice versa! Always ends in an argument, but it is beautiful while it lasts!
    I hope they continue to have this beautiful relationship!

    I’m part of a blended family , all 5 of us are within 3 years of age. We are all really close and consider each other very best friends. I’m so grateful.

  119. Nadege says...

    My son was 6 when his sister was born, and I honestly LOVE the age gap. Their interest in toys/resources are totally different at this age, so none of that kind of fighting, older is able to understand needs of younger which is huge help. Ppl are sometimes curious about the age gap, I’m pretty open about the fact that they have different dads/were born during different relationship eras!

  120. Leora says...

    We are 6 and I’m the oldest. There are 18 and 20 years between me and my younger sisters. I made it a point to live geographically near my family after I left home and today I count my sisters (now 30 and 28 among my best friends). It took years but it was worth the wait! That said, I had my 4 children in 6 years to minimize the age gap so they could be friends sooner. Some days they get along and some days they don’t. Only time will tell. I think that sibling relationships can truly be a wonderful gift that will evolve through the years no matter what the age difference.

  121. Ae says...

    We are all 4 years apart (except me- I’m 5 years younger than my next sister)— this means the oldest sibling is 13 years older than me! It worked out fine. I’m not especially close to bro but remember dropping him off at college as I was entering kindergarten/1st grade, etc. and my sister who is just 5 years older than me really took great care of me as older sibiling. I think large differences are fine.

  122. Ellen says...

    My sisters are 3 and 4 years older than me. We all got along fine, but there was definitely a time when they were around 15/16 and I was 12, where I really just didn’t have that many common interests with them as they had between each other. I would say they truly became my actual friends (people I needed to tell what stuff was going on in my life to, wanted advice from, planned to spend time with) after I was completely out of puberty (which in hindsight is really only by the time you are 20 maybe). So by the time I was about 20 and they were 23/24, they became my true friends, not just my sisters. I always liked them before, but something changed when I joined them in adulthood and we could not be closer now.

  123. Sarah says...

    I have 2 boys, 2.5 years apart. The spacing was mostly intentional: my sister and I are only 16 months apart, and fought TERRIBLY growing up (although we’re great friends now); my husband is 4 years younger than his next oldest sibling, and felt like the gap was larger than he’d ideally like for his kids. So we sort of split the difference and hoped for the best. So far things seem mostly okay: they’re close enough to play together and have some of the same friends, but are 2 grades apart in school so have some good separation, too. The hardest part is that they’re close enough to relate as though they’re the same age at times, which makes older brother super jealous of younger brother’s “easier” homework, or younger brother super jealous of things older brother gets to do because he’s older…

  124. Kim says...

    My kids are 17 months apart. I did want to have them close together in age and get all the diapers over with as soon as possible, too! It was tough in the beginning having a toddler and newborn, but over time it changes and gets easier. Now they are 5 1/2 and 4 and they are best buddies. I love seeing them make believe, play, read and learn together. My older son teaches his daughter how to spell and read. He’s gentle and caring, sometimes rough of course. They are so different in personalities, but love each other so much. There have been times when I have doubted our decision and wished we had spaced them out, just to savior the kid years a little more, but I’m happy with our choice ultimately. We’ve recently hit this sweet spot where the hand me downs are conveniently being shuffled directly from one dresser to the next. It’s a fun age for both of them!

  125. Debating in DE says...

    I have 2 right now — 19 months apart. I always thought we’d have a third also close in age, but after two rough deliveries, I’m wondering if I’m brave enough to go through that again. Time’s ticking…

    • Also still debating says...

      My two are 22 months apart – 3 and 1.5. I thought we would have four when we first got married, and now I can’t make up my mind about whether to go for a third (and final). I ache to be pregnant and to have a newborn one last time, and I can’t imagine what life without my second…wouldn’t a third be the same? But then the cost of childcare is kind of killing us right now and extending it another few years has a real impact on us and the ones we already have, which I don’t take lightly. And our kids are starting to get to a spot where we can be adult humans again for more than 5 min a day so…yeah. Still debating too.

  126. Hannah says...

    I love this article! Our daughter just turned 3, and we are debating still waiting another year before trying for baby #2. Very few families around us have large age gaps with their kids (the most common seems to be 2 years or less!) and so we don’t have a lot of perspective on how it might turn out.

  127. Megan L says...

    This has been so present on my mind lately. CupofJo is finding its way into my worries again. My son is almost 2.5 and we’ve been trying for our second for a few months. Each month I find myself ruminating on “well if we are pregnant this month, THIS will be their age difference.” It’s just another thing to worry on and put pressure on myself about. Hearing other peoples journeys has been so affirming for me, last month I asked my aunt about her sons and their age difference. They are incredibly close and I always wondered how that came to be. Well it turns out, their six year age difference was due to unexplained secondary infertility! After one failed round of IVF, they got pregnant on their own and the rest is history. Stories like that remind me to give myself some grace. Best laid plans often go awry but sometimes it can be for the better.

    • Ashley says...

      Ahh…same boat here! My son is 2.5 years old and we have been trying for a second for about 8 months now. My sister is 4 years younger than me, and although we are close now, we were not as kids. My mom has often expressed that when we were kids, she did used to occasionally regret her decision not to have us closer together and that has always stuck with me. My husband and I ideally wanted to have kids 2-3 years apart. As each month passes, I am definitely finding myself become increasingly anxious as I see the potential age gap get wider and wider. Trying to be better about intentionally choosing the line of thinking that it will all work out just as it is supposed to, but easier said than done sometimes…

    • Jenna says...

      I am in an almost identical position and feel exactly the same way!! (Down to the worrying about what season of maternity clothes I will have to wear…) Nice to not feel so alone xo

    • Misha says...

      We have 3 kids – 10, 7, and 3.5. I found 3 years to be nearly perfect between my first two and fretted SO much about the nearly 4 year age difference between my middle and last. It has all been great, really. Sometimes the older two play together, sometimes the younger two, sometimes – when magic strikes – all three. But the sweetest relationship of all has been between my eldest and the baby – with a 7 year gap! I didn’t anticipate such a sweet, special bond between those two. All this to say, sometimes, the gap doesn’t matter. It just comes down to their little personalities and a dash of luck. As my MIL says, “Whatever you get ends up being perfect for you, because you wouldn’t give up any of the children you have for an ideal spacing/gender/etc.”

  128. Jules says...

    I am one of six kids and our ranges are kinda nuts. After the first two we were all 4 years apart and my parents say they liked the gap in between to gain control of the herd. My oldest brother would be turning 40 this week actually (he passed away at 24), my sister is 38, brother 34, me 31, brother 27, and the youngest is 14! We are all directly related (no-steps or amything) and we are all pretty close. My sister is my best friend on the planet- when I was in high school I was helping to raise their babies and was a built in babysitter. Now that I am about to start having kids they are able to help with advice and hand me downs. And the youngest (14) is more like a cousin to my nieces and nephews, but is still suuuuper close with all of my siblings. I wouldnt want it any other way.

  129. Aww love this! Especially the comment about the twins I laughed out loud! My daughter is 4 years and 3 months older than my son. It’s been good for our family my son really looks up to his big sister. And my daughter really enjoys being someone he looks up to win win.

  130. EM says...

    We were lucky to not have infertility issues with our two girls. But I didn’t get my periods back until almost 2 years after the older ones birth (breast feeding, etc). As soon as that first period showed up, boom!

  131. Jenny says...

    My children are 3.5 years apart and 4 grades apart in school. We did this for financial reasons….couldn’t afford 2 in daycare and probably won’t be able to afford 2 in college at the same time. They are still pretty close though.

    • Dee says...

      My sister and I are almost 4 years apart (and 4 grades so we never went to school together), and we weren’t very close growing up. Now as adults (27 and 31) we are really close and talk every single day! I love our age gap.

  132. Telly says...

    Thanks for this post. I recently found out I’m pregnant, completely unplanned, and I have a 13 month old. We struggled with the decision to keep it because we had always imagined having more alone time with our first born. We’d wanted to ideally wait until he turned 3 or 4 to have a second. The initial guilt was horrible. We’re feeling a little better now but I’m hoping to hear more stories from mom’s who had 2 under 2 and survived it fine.

    • Mich w/ 2 Ls says...

      We did! We planned it that way. Ours are 19 months apart, and we loved it. Our son was helpful (in his limited way — “Can you go get the binky for [name]?” and he loved to go get it for her). Now that she’s mobile — they’re 2.5 yrs and 9 months — there’s some squabbling over toys, but no one makes her laugh like he does, and he loves making her laugh! It’s scary to have your plans change, and it’s a lot of diapers to change :-), but it’s also a lot of fun.

    • My sister & I are 20 months apart & incredibly close {both of us unplanned whoopsies }: I don’t remember life without her….we were only a year apart in school & played in the same teams & had overlapping friends & interests. My husband’s family had strict 4 years apart for college funding purposes… this just seemed cold & calculated to me….& they are just not a warm & close family in general…. I won this difference of family planning & our boys are 2 years apart {but 3 grades – which makes a HUGE difference!} Our boys are the very best of brothers & friends!

    • Laura says...

      My two boys are 20 months apart and it’s going fine! I worried so much about the impact on my older boy but to be honest he took no notice of his baby brother until he started walking! They are 4 and 2.5 now and of course there are fights over property and times when no-one sleeps but they are each others best friends and now I get to secretly listen to their hilarious chats (like last night’s classic “why don’t we talk about underpants now?”). I know it’s easier said then done but try not to give in to the guilt – there are pluses and minuses of every age gap but 2 under 2 is totally doable and often wonderful. Good luck!

    • txilibrin says...

      I agree with the comments below! My kids are 23 months apart and my oldest loves helping me. I’d be covered in poop and ask him to grab wipes for me and off he goes (sometimes getting distracted on the way!). He also loves repeating what I say to the baby like, “Don’t bite your hand” and my son would say “Hand no, Martin”. I have so much fun!
      It is exhausting, my weekends are so different now, that sometimes on Mondays I’m happy to be back at the office! So…

    • Astrid says...

      I had 2 experiences of 2 under 2. The first set of kids were 23 months apart and then about 6 years later (secondary infertility) we had another set of two that were 2 years apart. In total we had 4 kids in 10 years with a bit of a gap between kids 2 and 3. It’s been wonderful. Both “older” and “younger” kids of the sets had close siblings and all of them got to enjoy the oldest and youngest. They are now 27, 25, 19, 18. They are all friends and close. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

    • Meg says...

      My first two are 19 months apart and that second pregnancy was a surprise. I felt panicked and upset at first before getting used to the idea. It is many years later now, and my report is that having two kids under two is rough for the parents but great for the kids. They definitely enjoy having each other as buddies despite all the fighting, and that was a big silver lining for me and helped me remember to be grateful even when I was so tired managing a baby and a toddler. And now that we’re in the phase of doing different activities like sports and music lessons, they can do them at the same time and at the same place even if they aren’t in exactly the same class, and that helps logistically.

    • Sarah says...

      Hi Telly! We had ours 19 months apart and love it so much. One of the best things is that they talk to each other in the car (so I don’t have to!)! As 2- and 4-year-olds they do not always want to talk about things that I am interested in talking about, but they will just talk to each other to their hearts’ content. I am so grateful for that and so many other aspects of their closeness.

      There is a comment earlier about how the highs are higher and lows lower and I think that’s true. This hard early stage of parenthood is just a little harder but will last for a little less time (esp with a third who was born when the older was 3.5). I’ve always wanted them close and sometimes I think yeesh this was silly it’s so dang hard, but mostly I am glad for it, and glad that we are zooming through this stage of such extraordinary dependency. And like one of the women in the post wrote, there will be more overlapping years of wanting to be at the park!

  133. Mel says...

    What a timely post as I think about this all the time. My oldest sister is 7 years older than me and my best friend, my other sister is 18 months older than me and while we played as kids we drove each other nuts (and still some times do). My husband had 4 kids in his family, all 2 years apart and most of my friends having babies are spacing them to be 2 years apart. My 2 sister in laws have 3 each, all spaced 2 years apart and both have said they can’t even remember the early years because it was so chaotic and I never wanted that. My daughter is a little over 3 and i’m only just now feeling ‘ready’ to think about another. I feel like our life is calming, and now that our daughter is asking for a sibling it seems like a good time. Incidentally i’m 8 days late so is this it?

  134. Emily says...

    Anyone else delaying their age gap plans with having a second child due to the crazy cost of childcare here in the US?! My son is 1.5 and ideally, my husband and I would love to have a second child and have them be 2-3 years apart. But feasibly with how much we are paying in daycare for both of us to work full-time outside of the home, we cannot afford a second child until he’s 4-5 (maybe…). We don’t have family close and while I know there’s other childcare options (nannies, au pairs, a parent staying home full-time), it’s all daunting to think about.

    • Nadege says...

      Listen, this is more or less the age gap between my kids, and I love it. Most ppl around us went for a 2ish year gap, so yes if you wait you might feel like an outlier that way, but we so love that our two inhabit really different developmental worlds but also that I was able to give the older full attention for so long, and when baby was born, we weren’t dealing with jealousy/rivalries. When I meet other parents with a big gap we just have a LOOK we give each other, we know how lucky we are! How much more sleep we got between kids, etc…!!!! Yes you’ll probably see lots of his peers getting sibs before him, but I really don’t think you’ll regret the gap!

    • Kirsten says...

      Childcare costs are no joke!!! And are part of the reason for our age gap in the opposite way – I’m in the midst of a career change and currently staying home with my two year old and we tried for a second one fast so we could keep all of the super-expensive baby years during a time that one of us is home! Planning on sending them back and going to work again when we’re out of infant/toddler surcharge range…

    • Jessica says...

      I delayed getting pregnant so that my daughter would be in kindergarten when her sibling was born, but her sibling turned out to be my now 4-month twins. I can’t afford to quit my job, but I can’t afford childcare for two either. Best-laid plans, etc.

    • Jennifer says...

      We didn’t intend for a larger age gap, but my kids are 7 years old and 17 months old (so about a 5.5 year age gap). It’s so freaking great. The 7 year old boy is now in 1st grade and my baby is in daycare. It ended up so perfect actually: the same year my son started going to kindergarten is about the same time I started my baby in the daycare. So no double costs for me.

      Plus, they love each other dearly, and surprisingly play really well together. Of course there are days when my son is playing with his legos and baby girl wants to join in and we can’t really let her (don’t swallow that!), but overall it’s been great. He’s an awesome helper, and just generally loves being a big brother.

  135. Marisa says...

    Mine are five years apart intentionally, and it’s perfect! We were surprised by how hard of an adjustment it was for the big sis at first, thinking that being old enough to understand what was going on might make it a little smoother than having them closer together. I think the combination of a sensitive and articulate kid starting kindergarten and having a new sister at the same time was just so much. For about six months there were serious, heartbreaking emotional outbursts (like “I want to die” and “I hate myself”- it was horrible). Once the little one was an older baby and more interactive, they have been SO SWEET and in love with each other seriously all the time. They don’t fight or compete like closer in age siblings do— it’s clear enough that they can’t do all the same things because they’re such different ages. They are both so proud to show each other off to their friends. They share a room, which has always been wonderful. We love how our family turned out so much!

    • Emily says...

      Thank you so much for this! I am reading through all these comments searching for reassurance as my daughter is about to turn 5 and I am early pregnant with a second. I put it off for a long time for lots of reasons; financial, mental and physical wellbeing, my daughter’s happiness as a priority first and I wanted to be sure I actually wanted another. There will be a 5 and a half year age gap and I am a little bit nervous of how it will work out. So pleased to hear it can be so positive, thank you.

  136. Allyson says...

    My daughter Marion just turned 2 and I feel so much pressure to get going on a sibling. We think two kids will be plenty for us, but I am having a hard time getting myself psyched up to be pregnant and deal with breastfeeding again. It was a beautiful, painful, exhausting miracle to breastfeed and it took a toll on my body. Plus, I’m not ready to share focus just yet. This gave me some peace of mind about a larger age gap than has been prescribed by our friends/family.

    • Sara says...

      I’m right there with you. My daughter is 15 months and we most definitely want to give her a sibling (ideally 2.5-3 years apart), so I just keep hoping that I’ll *want* to want to go through the whole shebang again sometime soon. Is that how it works for most people though? I was elated to be pregnant with my daughter, and I want to feel that excitement again, though I’m afraid if I wait for the excitement to hit I might be waiting forever.

  137. Anne says...

    I also tried to be intentional about the spacing between my kids, but the universe smiled at my attempt at control and said not today! We wanted to have my daughter and her sibling about 2 years apart, but ended up with identical twins that came early – in all we had 3 babies in 19 months. Wouldn’t change it for the world, but my those first few years were hard. The boys are almost three now and i’m just starting to see the light now that everyone wants to play together.

  138. Hali says...

    My parents had 2 batches. My older brother and sister are 10 and 12 years older than me. My little sister is 17 months younger than me.

    It’s awesome and it’s weird. My older siblings had a completely different childhood than my younger sister and I, since my parents had a fraction of the income and resources for them as they did for us. In some ways there’s a little resentment about it from the first batch kids, but nothing that causes more than a joke around Christmas time some eye rolling. My mom still feels pangs of guilt about it, I think it made my older siblings way cooler than I turned out.

    My older siblings credit us younger siblings for staying out of trouble in high school – our little faces were too cute and innocent to lie to or betray with shady behavior. Hah! I idolized them so much that I really struggled to realize they’re also flawed mortals as got to be a teenager myself.

    Most of my life I was way WAY closer with my older siblings and had nothing in common with my ferocious little sister. She scared me, I annoyed her.

    Now that we’re all independent adults, I’m close to my younger sister for the first time in my life and it’s safe to say we’re a little obsessed with each other. We had an epiphany a few years ago – we look like twins, sound like twins, act like twins… and no matter how we fight we’re stuck in this tumultuously passionate relationship that is one of the strongest in my life! When we get to hang out out each other a few times a year, it’s like discovering a new BEST friend all over again and we delight in identifying our differences and similarities.

    If I could chose how many kids to have and how distant they’d be in age, I’d probably go with batches of two, but like 3-4 years apart between the sets.

  139. Ruth says...

    It’s funny that Olivia wanted to get it all done with at once. We specifically waited to have #2 until our older daughter was out of diapers and in a big kid bed. Our daughters are 3.5 years apart and it’s wonderful so far (the baby is 6.5 months now). I feel like our older one is still little but also at an age where she is semi-independent, which is helpful. But they are still close enough that hopefully they can bond. My younger sister is 6 years apart and we didn’t really connect until she was in high school, at which point I was out in the world already.

  140. Shelley says...

    Thanks for this post! You have one child and your whole life is turned upside down and then how do you know when to have the next one? I feel pressure to have children close together so they will be friends, but love to hear the perspective that age difference really doesn’t matter!

    • E says...

      obviously there are so many other posts here about sibling friendships with big gaps, but I’ll just chime in to say that my little brother is 8 years younger than me and one of my best friends : ) I believe you have to do what works for you, and assume it will work out for the kids, too!

    • Julie says...

      Just like E, my brother and I are almost 8 years apart and are sooooo close. Just as close as my sister and I, we’re 18 months apart.

    • Ellen says...

      My husband didn’t feel ready to try again for a while after our older daughter was born, so our kids are four-and-a-half years apart. I’d been imagining closer spacing, but I actually love the spacing we ended up with.

  141. celeste says...

    Mine are 25 months apart. They are 11 and 9 and even though they are a boy and a girl, they are super close. My brothers are 3 years younger than me and 8 years older than me and we are not close at all. I feel I gave my kids a gift.

  142. Sneha says...

    Thank you for this article. I always wanted to have children two years apart but for many reasons it’s not happening. Have so much anxiety as I see others have their second and third kids. Comforting to see families with larger age gaps between kids. Makes me feel less alone.

  143. Abbey says...

    I love reading about all the different experiences of siblings! Thanks for including us!

  144. Dee says...

    I have an almost 9 year old stepson and we’ve just had a baby girl. So far we are loving the age difference- he’s so sweet and patient with the baby. He asks loads of questions and is incredibly helpful- always makes sure she has her toys and is ready to grab anything she needs like a bottle or binky. I think the big gap is also good to quell any jealousy or rough feelings. We can talk to him about school, his hobbies, his friends and still make him feel special during this hectic new baby time. I hope they’re close as time goes on- he’s a great teacher and I’d love to see them share an interest because brother taught sister

  145. A says...

    I have a two year old and am currently in my first trimester. I was trying to space my kids two years apart but have had several miscarriages over the past 9 months. One of the toughest parts for me in losing my babies was that the timing of the spacing was out of my control (crazy, I know). Now that I’m almost in the safe zone of pregnancy with baby #2, I have a feeling that this was just the baby/sibling that we were meant to have.

    • I just had a miscarriage in October at 8 weeks and letting go of my “ideal” age gap has been very hard. It hasn’t been as hard for my husband as he is very go with the flow but I’ve had to mourn the loss of that ideal age gap on top of mourning the loss of a pregnancy. Growing a family is very difficult for some as you have so little control over what happens. I’m sending you all the good thoughts that this pregnancy progresses well for you and you get a happy, healthy rainbow baby. I can’t imagine dealing with multiple miscarriages – I’ve only had one and that was heart breaking enough. xoxo

    • A says...

      Lisa, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It really is such a painful experience and I hope you’re taking the time you need to greive.

      My husband also didn’t understand my stress over, on top of everything else painful with miscarriage, that “ideal” age gap. He also didn’t understand my pain when my first would-be due-date passed. He also doesn’t feel the pain from regular questions about “when are you going to give this kid a sibling?”. That to say, while you may feel alone in this, I have a feeling there a lots of other women feeling the exact same pain.

      Sending you some love today.

  146. Margaret says...

    My kids (Hugo and Sophie) are ten months and 1 day apart. We became parents through adoption and didn’t plan to welcome two babies in one year – but how lucky are we!

    • Natalie says...

      Same situation, Margaret! Mine are six months apart, which is essentially impossible except in adoptive situations, but which feels natural enough to us (and them!). Across all gap sizes, there are awesome benefits and some big trade-offs. Bottom line, it will work out!

  147. Jessica says...

    I have one kiddo — 2.5 years old — and we’re right at that age when people start to ask when we’re going to have another. I joke that we’ll start taking about it when she turns 5. I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on our family to do things in a certain way because, frankly, you just never know what will happen (we could try for another kid and have multiples, or never get pregnant again). And whatever the age gap, we’re not guaranteed that our kids will have the relationship we’re imaging for them. I don’t want my life to be aimed at some image of a life when I actually have such a great life right now. We do want to have another, if possible, but we’ll wait until it feels right for us. We’re just trying to really love what we have.

    In terms of the gap, whatever it is (assuming we are able to have another child) — I know plenty of kids who are not close to their closest sibling and are close with their furthest sibling. And some of my FAVORITE people are only children. My closest sister (under 12 months) and I are not that close (we love each other, but we speak maybe once every 6 months), but my furthest sister (12 years) and I spoke so often on the phone when she left for college that we got in trouble OFTEN for running up the long distance phone bill. When cell phones came along, we joked that we wanted to get phones implanted into our ears so we could talk all day long. She passed away unexpectedly 6 years ago, but for our whole lives together, we loved each other SO much.

    • E says...

      Sorry for the loss, Jessica. Sounds like your relationship was really special.

    • Tess says...

      “I don’t want my life to be aimed at some image of a life when I actually have such a great life right now.”
      WOW this is so, so wise!! Thank you for your perspective.

  148. Jeannie says...

    Thank you so much for this post!! I have been struggling with secondary infertility for 3 years, and my daughter is now 4.5. We are moving on to surrogacy and if all goes well, my children will be 5.5-6.5 years apart. And if all doesn’t go well, they will be more like 8 years apart. It has been hard not to stress about the age difference between them (on top of all of the other stresses). I really appreciate Abbey’s perspective. Post like this help me take a deep breath and know that it can work at any age difference!

    • Jules says...

      My best friend on the planet is my sister who is 8 years older than me. Do NOT worry <3

    • Kristen says...

      My sister who is 10 years older than me is also my best friend on the planet — and I’m so thankful to her for treating me that way since she basically had to be my caregiver for the first 18 years. One of the great pleasures of having a much older sibling is that I also have a really unique and wonderful relationship with her kids, who could never quite figure out if I was a kid or an adult and I think still see me as something in between.

    • Beth says...

      Please don’t stress about the age gap! There’s 10 years between my brother and me (I’m older) and I’m so glad for that gap! My mum struggled with second infertility too and wanted us to be closer in age, but I’m my opinion it actually worked out for the best. We both got a lot of the privileges that come with being an only child (undivided attention, space to be ourselves without competition) for the majority of our childhoods, with the perks of having a sibling too. I’m really close to my brother and love him more than anything but we couldn’t be more different – our personalities are like chalk and cheese. I sometimes think that if my mum had got pregnant earlier as she planned and we’d grown up as little kids/teenagers at the same time we would have driven each other crazy and wouldn’t get on as well as we do as adults. So you never know… this could be a secret blessing in disguise!

  149. Amanda says...

    So interesting to read everyone’s experiences. My sister and I are 15 months apart. I loved growing up close to the same age. I knew I wanted that for my children, too. Last Christmas we welcomed our baby girl, and last week we found out baby No. 2 is on the way! I’m thankful my hope of kids close together is becoming a reality.

  150. Stephanie says...

    I always love learning about sibling age gaps. I have 6 brothers and sisters myself (I’m the oldest). The sister that I’m closest in age to is only 18 months younger than me but the youngest (twins) are 17 years younger than me because my mom had me very young and then re-married. I have close but different relationships with all of them that I cherish so much!