Friday, November 2, 2007

Sibling Spacing

Ask Moxie today had a topic about the ideal spacing of siblings and it got me thinking. I guess I had always assumed that most people purposely had siblings every 2-3 years (certainly the case in Mr. Moose’s family – 4 kids all approximately 2 years apart with the last one slightly more, but only so much that she falls to the next school grade by a couple of months). I started to think about my own thoughts and compare them to the sibling sets I know and how they worked out.

My BFF’s husband and his brother are about 10 years apart and have really never gotten along. My BFF is paranoid about large gaps in sibling age because of that (her sons are about 3 years apart and she is content with that), and yet another friend is the youngest of 4 siblings – the first 2 being 17 and 19 years older than she and the 3rd being 3 years older (#3 was an “oops” and then their parents decided “well, we’re doing it again anyway, why not 2?”) and my friend and her brother (who was 17 when she was born) are close and loving, she has a usual love/hate relationship with the one who is only 3 years older and she and the oldest sister kind of ignore each other’s existence. (I didn’t know the oldest existed for years, to tell you the truth since by the time I came along, she was married with a couple of kids and lived out of state.

I think I always assumed that we’d have another in 2-3 years, but a lot of that depends on our financial situation. I never even remotely considered having one sooner than 2 years (or pretty close, anyhow) though the more we talk about prevention/post-baby BC the more nervous I get with the possibility of having an “oops”.

Several of Moxie’s commenters mentioned things other than numbers for when they wanted to wait until – when the first was done nursing, or out of diapers, in school, potty trained. I see a lot of benefit to many of them. And in some ways, we’re going to have to play it by ear, I’m sure.

My sisters kids are spaced 2 years, 3 years and 22 months apart, but almost none of them was exactly planned that way (the 2 girls were happy surprises) and number 2 was a “let’s wait and see” pregnancy.

Ultimately, I don’t know what will happen for us – and it will largely depend on how well we do with our finances and when/if I’m able to stay home and how much I’m able to work at a part-time job, etc. This is likely something that will also depend on the personality of our baby in the first place (ie, a high-needs baby will put off the sibling a little longer, an easy baby might make it more likely to have number 2 sooner. And of course, this assumes we get a choice. A surprise pregnancy or a much-delayed one are just as likely as having a choice in the matter.

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