Mourning the Age Gap

A couple of months after my son turned two, I was ready to get back on the baby-making train. We got pregnant with TJ very easily, so I had faith that it would happen for us again within a few months. Little did I know that the universe had other plans for us.

I’m the oldest of four kids, all born about two years apart. Sure, we had our fights when we were young; sharing bedrooms will do that to any siblings. But we were all pretty close and I think we had a pretty rad childhood.

Cut to now, we’re all in our late 20s and 30s and living pretty far apart from each other, yet we are emotionally closer than we have ever been. We constantly support each other the best we can, given our distance.

Even before my son was born, I wanted my kids to be around the same age gap as I am to my siblings. The quantity of children was undecided but I knew I wanted them to be two to three years apart. I felt that the closeness I share with my siblings was due in part to our closeness in age.

Do siblings who are further apart in age still have fantastic relationships? Sure! I just use my own childhood as reference.

We’ve been trying for almost two years to conceive a sibling for TJ. The age gap that I thought I wanted, that I thought was perfect, is now gone. If I were to get pregnant right now, my kids would be more than four years apart. And I have no idea how much bigger that gap is going to get…. whether we conceive a child of our own or look to adoption.

More than 4 years apart and they likely won’t be in high school at the same time, looking out for each other like I did with my brother. They may not like the same generation of kids’ toys and music. Heck, I don’t even know if I will be able to use the same car seats before they expire.

A few months ago, I literally had to mourn the childhood I thought my son was going to have with any siblings… hoping it would be just like mine. I know it’s a silly notion, but the pain I felt was real.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I was really down about it for a while. One could argue that I have no right to feel so down about my “unexplained infertility” since I have been able to have one amazing little boy when so many women are still struggling to have their first child.

To some extent, that’s true. I feel incredibly blessed to have my son.

But you know what? I’m not done yet. My family isn’t done yet. I know it’s selfish, but I want to experience pregnancy again (even the crappy parts). I want to experience childbirth again. I even want to go through the newborn phase again, no matter how much I will think back to this very moment and say, “what was I thinking?”

As time heals everything, the pain of not having my children when I wanted has lessened. As TJ grows more independent and communicates more effectively, I am seeing more and more how he is going to make an amazing big brother some day. I hope he will be able to cope with the big change that comes when a new baby joins a family; a change that probably would have been much harder on him when he was just two or even three.

Image by Cari Hollis Photography

Does my heart ache when TJ asks me for a baby brother or baby sister? Hell yes. I still fight back tears when he tells me, “Mommy, try harder.”

But I feel more and more at ease with the fact that the universe will choose the right time, not me.

5 Responses to Mourning the Age Gap

  1. Please don’t let anyone (including yourself!) make you feel like your emotions aren’t valid. Fertility issues are no less painful whether you’ve already been blessed with 1 or 10 children. If you don’t feel like your family is complete yet then having to wait for that next little miracle is hard. And changing your expectations is hard too - even for simpler things than child-spacing. Thank you for sharing this. Wishing you the best of luck!

  2. As always, your words are wise, your thoughts clear even when laden with painful emotions. Thank you for sharing this. I hope to become more conscience and empathetic to those mamas around me struggling with infertility.

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  4. I just came across your article. I want to tell you that I do understand a little bit of what you are going through. My son is now almost 10 and we have had problems having more. We have tried everything and it hasn’t worked. It does hurt when your child is asking for a brother/ sister, but time does help. The Lord has been good to me too with providing 2 beautiful nephews through my little sister for me and my son. He gets the little brothers that he has always wanted and I get to go through the baby stuff. I’m thankful for the blessing of them. I’m thankful that my sister is close enough to share them with me. Just tonight little A. needed something and sense Mommy wasn’t available he only wanted me. It’s great to be that for him. All in all…. don’t give up! Look for the little blessings… trust me it gets easier. ((hugs))

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