My kids will have a decade between them and I think that’s awesome

Guest post by Kacey
Photo by Lance Shields, used under Creative Commons license.

Ten years ago, I took a pregnancy test that resulted in two blue lines. Those two blue lines indicated two things: 1) I was pregnant with my daughter, and 2) my entire life was about to change in ways I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. My first “happy accident” pregnancy was completely unplanned, and thus I was completely unprepared. What followed in the next two years was a rollercoaster of epic proportions during which time I moved, totalled my car, got married, got divorced and learned how to be a mommy, and to a certain extent, a grown-up.

Fast forward to now. My beautiful, amazing daughter is almost ten, and she amazes me daily with her intelligence, insight, humor and compassion. I’ve gotten married to the coolest guy I’ll ever meet and he’s doing a fantastic job loving her and being the stable stepfather that she needs. The summer is coming up, and with it, we will be moving across the country to the town where we both met and where, coincidentally, I first saw the aforementioned two blue lines.

In so many ways I feel like my life is coming around full circle, and that’s both breathtakingly cool and somewhat terrifying. Especially because now, ten years after my first time, my husband and I are about to start trying for a second baby.

I have quite a few worries, as I’m sure you can imagine. I worry that because I’m older, I’ll have a hard time conceiving. I worry about the potential risks associated with being pregnant at 35 (or older!) vs. 25. I know that pregnancies are not considered “high risk” on the basis of the mother’s age until 40 or older, but I feel like that’s looming right around the corner. I worry that my body will not stand up as well to the rigors of pregnancy and childbirth, and I worry that I’ll be less well equipped to deal with an infant, baby, toddler, young child etc. without the seemingly boundless energy of my 20s.

But there are some very good things about my situation as well, and focusing on them often helps me counteract some of my incessant worrying. Unlike last time, I’m much more settled in my career and in life in general. I’m married to a full partner in this enterprise. I am much better off financially than ten years ago. I am not quite as scared of the unknown. I’m much more mature and self-assured at 35, and I know that knowing and loving who I am can only make knowing and loving a baby that much better.

This time, any pregnancy will be at least somewhat planned, so some of the emotional upheaval associated with the unexpectedness will be missing, which will be nice. This time, if I get to tell my parents that I’m pregnant, their first reaction should be joy, not worry for me. This time, I’ll have my amazingly supportive daughter alongside, and I’ll look forward to enjoying the experience of watching her learn to love her new sibling.

Comments on My kids will have a decade between them and I think that’s awesome

  1. I’m in a similar situation, but my daughter is currently only 5… though by the time we’re ready for another baby (and said baby is born) she’ll likely be 7 or 8. I’m very nervous about the gap between them…

    • My oldest sister is 15 years my senior, my older sister is 13 years my senior, my older brother is 11 years my senior, and my younger brother is two years my junior. While my older brother is estranged from the family for a host of complicated reasons, the rest of us have always been very close despite the large age gaps.

    • I have a half sister who is 13.5 years older than me. Growing up it was awesome. It’s nice to have a cool older and wiser mentor who isn’t your parent. I’m sure at times having a kid sister drove my teenage sister a little crazy, but she never showed me anything but love and kindness. Now we talk frequently and I always try to see her when I can. So large age gaps aren’t the end of the world!

    • I have a sister who is 5 years older than me and a sister who is 12 years older than me. I’ve always been very close to both of them, and actually, I really like the age difference. My parents said it was a bit easier and there was less competition. Because of the age difference I know a lot of cool things that others my age didn’t. Plus I had someone(s) I could go to with a problem or for advice that weren’t my parents but had experience.

    • My sister is 7 years older than me and my brothers are 5 years older. While I can’t speak to their experiences (although I know sometimes they think I’m spoiled! Comes with the youngest territory though), I actually really enjoyed it. They were mostly around when I was small so I learned all the sharing and how I won’t always get my way, but when they went to college, it was during the more formative teenage years of my life where it was great that I was basically an only child. So I loved it!

    • My brother is 7 and a half years older than me and he is the most wonderful, supportive person in my life. His wisdom and realism is a gift I am incredibly blessed to have, especially as I move forward in my life.

    • My sister and I have an eight year age gap … and she moved in with me when she graduated highschool! I love having her around, and for her I am more freedom than living at home, but not the complete scariness of being out on your own with out an “adult” to be accountable to. So far, its working out great. I love my little sister tons (and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual).

    • I was 10 years old when my brother was born and I feel like I helped raise him. There are many things about his babyhood that my mother doesn’t remember, I had to tell her recently about his first laughing fit and remind her of his first word. With that said, it has been hard. I don’t feel close to him at all. When he was born I was just starting my life as an independent young person. When he was 10 I was moving out of the house. Now I live across the country and haven’t seen him in two years. Sometimes I wish we had been born closer together, I feel like I don’t know him at all.

  2. First, congrats and good luck! Second, y’know how people sometimes say that siblings born far apart don’t have as close a relationship as sibs born close together? (Or maybe people just say that to me.) Well, it’s BS. My brother-in-law is 10 years older than my husband, and they are best friends. My hubs really looks up to his brother. They talk almost daily and hang out regularly. My mother-in-law jokes that she had two only-children.

    • Your mother-in-law may not be far off, psychologically speaking! I’ve read that kids born more than 8 years apart often act more like two only children than siblings (not that they don’t get along or anything, but that certain personality traits of kids with siblings are often not present in kids with siblings who are far apart in age.)

      • I’ve experienced this in my family. Due to the large age gap between me and my older brother, he exhibits both traits of a youngest and middle child, and I exhibit both traits of an oldest and middle child. It’s an interesting mix!

      • Yep! My half-sister is 14 years older than me and we never lived together growing up so I’m a only child personality wise. My sister often saw this as a great opportunity to pretend to be my mother, including trying to reinforce rules that she made up for me while I lived several states away from her. The age gap did not work for us, but I think that has more to do with our personalities than anything else. I’ve known lots of other with similar gaps who are much closer than we are.

  3. I’ve posted this before, but what the heck, I’ll say it again in case anyone missed it. My lil bro is 5 years younger than me. We picked him up from the airport (he’s adopted) when I was 7. We love each other like mad, and no one makes me laugh like he does (he once made me shoot a nerds candy out of my nose I was laughing so hard!) Whatever interval works for you, works for you. Don’t worry about it, the kids will have whatever relationship they are supposed to have.

  4. My brother and I are a little over nine years apart, and we are the only kids in our family! I’m about to turn 27 and he’s 17, so while we are in totally different stages of our lives (he’s a partying high school senior, I’m a stay at home mom) we still love each other more than anything!

    It was hard to really have a lot in common with each other when we were younger (like when I was moving out of the house and he was in 5th grade…) but to this day we still share the silly stories of growing up with each other.

    Also, we are full siblings from very recently divorced parents so we can totally support each other through the weirdness that they are thrusting upon us. We have a different kind of sibling relationship than kids closer in age, but we make it work!

  5. My mom had me at 24, my middle sister at 29, and my youngest sister at 34. We are all incredible close, thought my youngest sister and I grew up butting heads nonstop. Frankly though, that is more because we are like clones born 10 years apart πŸ˜‰ I was so incredibly excited when my youngest sister was born and I have vivid and wonderful memories of seeing her grow up (and it also made me not ever want to be a teenage mom- a random bonus I’m sure my mom didn’t expect). I hope you have a wonderful experience!

  6. My only sister and I are 11 years apart. I was going to be an only child until I left for summer camp for a week and mom my found out that she did not like an empty house. At age 35 she gave birth to my wonderful sister. I think being an only child for so long and then being the older sister helped me develop independence, and then responsibility when my sister came along. My mom often says this was the perfect arrangement for our family and she would never have it any other way!

  7. My sister and I are 15 years apart in age. My mom had her when she 19, with a terrible man that is no longer in any of our lives. She was over thirty when she met my dad, and had me when she was 34.

    The result of all this? I grew up as almost an only child (sometimes it felt like I had two moms). And my sister and I are the closest siblings most people have ever met. πŸ™‚

  8. My brother and I are a few weeks shy of being 11 years apart. We did not grow up close in the sibling sense, but he always had an older playmate to take him to the park. And once he reached about 6 or 7 and I was a teen, I took him to lots of places, waterparks, etc. that my parents had long outgrown the energy for. One mistake I think is forcing your daughter to do too much. I have 15 year old twin sisters in law and a 1 year old sis in law, and the twins are constantly stuck on babysitting duty, and in fact have to spend their entire summer babysitting so they can save money on daycare. The twins really resent their baby sister, which is sad.

    • Yes, this. I’d say that the gap itself doesn’t matter as much as the type of interaction the kids have.

      I was the constant babysitter for my younger siblings (who were 5 years, 8 years, and 10 years younger than me), and when I was younger, I didn’t like them at all. They were just little pains that I had to supervise constantly. I didn’t start to really like them until I had been away at college for a few years.

      Constant babysitting can really mess up kids’ relationship roles.

  9. I am currently experiencing something similar to this in my own life! My now husband and I conceived our six year old when we barely knew eachother. We were young and terrified and really just getting to know one another when our son was born. Fast forward six years and we’ve decided we’re ready to expand our family! I am currently eight months pregnant with our second child and I must say SO much is different this time around! We are more financially stable, very much in love, and super ready for this baby. Along with the good differences, there are some not so pleasant differences, mainly the way my body is handling pregnancy almost seven years later! I’m sure you’ll be able to conceive beautifully and wish all the best for you!!

  10. Wonderful! the sibling closet to me in age is 8 years older than me. My eldest sisters are 13 years older than me. My own kids are almost 4 years apart. I also had my last one a week before I turned 40. I am still tossing around the idea of having a third kid, but not so sure I want a 15 year old when I am 60, although my grandmother did it and my mom turned out fine (and still an active 75 year old) and my grandmother lived to see my mom have 5 children.

  11. I have a sister who is 9 years younger than me, and we have always had a great relationship. She is far enough in age that our social lives don’t overlap and cause strain and can be the case with many sisters. I think it’s wonderful!

  12. I was 19 when my daughter was born. Five years later, I am still with her father, but we both recognize that we were very young and still don’t feel that we will be financially ready for another child for another two or three years. Some people have told me that I should be trying for another by now, that it’s not good to have children too far apart, but we know what’s going to work for us and when the time comes that we are ready, it’s going to be awesome. It’s all about what works for you.

  13. I am right there with you sister! I dunno if it’s going to work out but we’re stubbornly (*wink*) “trying”. I’ve started seeing a nutritionist/chiropractor who confirmed what I suspected-nerve impulses to my ovaries are nearly completely restricted. I’ve had chronic hip pain for years. I’m not willing to push it with fertility treatments because I’m happy with my kiddo; we are a happy family of 3 and the side effects of clomid etc are just daunting to me. It’s natural or nothing for us and we will see what happens! Here’s to some great baby-making!

  14. There’s a woman in my prenatal yoga class (who looks to be in her early 40s, maybe?) who said she has two kids – ages 22 and 24 years! And now she’s expecting her third in a couple months.

  15. I’ve mentioned this on another article, but my sister and I are 9 and 15 years older than our little bro, please tread lightly. Be really careful not to treat her as an extra parent, PAY HER if you want her to babysit and set clear boundaries. A lock on her door once nugget is up and fiddling with stuff is a really good idea, and planned special time with aunties, uncles etc once nugget is here will really remind her that she’s still important.

  16. I totally agree with Jennifer P! My brother is 10 years younger. When he was born, I felt incredibly jealous- I was an only child and all the individual attention I’d enjoyed went away overnight. It was not an easy adjustment. I was angry and resentful. We were at different ends of the spectrum- I was a hormonal teenager while he was playing with trains and helping my mom cook. And yes, I was a built in babysitter sometimes. I moved to college when he was 7, so we never really grew up together. Now that I’m 30 and he’s 20, we are closer than we were in the past. As he got older, we had more in common, but it’s definitely not your “typical” sibling relationship. Everyone’s different.

  17. My brother is ten years older than me, and it did mean I was a bit more like an only child since by the time I was ~seven he’d moved out and rarely visited. However, now I’m in my twenties we have become a lot closer, and the ten year age gap doesn’t feel quite so big.

  18. I definitely agree with comments about babysitting. It’s important for older kids to have an occassional hand in child care of their littles sibs but it can take over their lives and relationships. I don’t think they necessarily need to be paid but respecting plans is important. Granted, my mum is a total alcoholic and our case was extreme, but caring for my sibs seven and ten years my senior has had a lasting impact on my attitude toward rearing kids. I’m always wracked with guilt over the things I could have/should have done better for them. I have to consciously remind myself I was just a middle schooler.

    On another note, it occurred to me while reading this that if we have a baby in the time frame we plan, my step son and kid #2 will be the same number of years apart as my step son and I are. (Fiance is 34, I am 25, and little man is 11.) Not sure what it means exactly but it struck me as odd (in a good way. πŸ™‚ )

  19. I understand your worries and concerns. Ive been down a similar path. Im 41 and expecting my third child. My oldest son just turned 20 and my youngest son is 12. Eight years apart. I was young with my 20 yr old. His father and i not married and terrified. Eight years later I felt we were in a better place and I wanted another child. I did think of the age difference and how our lives would change but in the end it has been wonderful. My boys are very close. And it has been like raising two only children but I feel like I was able to really focus on each stage each of them were in because they were so far apart. They had the benefits of having my complete attention but sharing my Love. I think its made them amazing young men. Its been an absolute JOY! Since then I have divorced and am engaged to the most wonderful , Loving man ever and we have decided to start our own family. Im terrified again. BUt like you said I know that I will be an amazing mother with all my experience and wisdom. And so far (8 mos) Ive felt pretty good pregnant. Not very different from 12 years ago. My boys are excited and are going to be wonderful big brothers to there little Sister πŸ˜‰
    Life is whatever you want it to be, follow your heart. And you will be an amazing Mother , again.

  20. My sister and I are 15 years apart. I’ve been out of the nest for 11 years and she’s about to enter 8th grade. It’s no big thing. Also, I knew everything about newborns when I had my own. I moved out when she 2. Now that my son is 2 I’m feeling the fear of the unknown.

  21. My brothers are 6 and 11 years older than me. My mother had me when she was 36. I never felt like she was “too old” or didn’t have enough energy. Even now that she’s in her sixties, I don’t feel any disadvantage in having older parents.

    I often tell people that my oldest brother is more like a father figure to me, and I hope he’s never resented it. He has helped me so much and done so much for me and we love each other dearly. And even though my brothers are five years apart, they are incredibly close… they’re best friends.

    If my brother was ever resentful about all the free babysitting he did for my parents when I was little, I’m paying him back now by always watching HIS daughter! It all works out! Love them, support them, and it will turn out just fine.

  22. more power to you! my mom had my brother when she was 36 and i was 16. the age difference between meant nothing. he’s my little brother & we’re very close & adore each other. and even cooler, he was 10 when i had my daughter and they’ve grown up together like siblings. i love our family the way it is & wouldn’t trade it for anything. a 10 year age difference could bring a totally new and unexpected joys to your family you never even thought of before! best of luck!

  23. For the record, anything over 35 is “advanced maternal age”

    That said, I My kids are 19,17,14,13 and Due in October on my 40th birthday πŸ™‚

    The only difference so far between those pregnancies and this one is I am calmer, more grateful and feel so beautiful it comes out in the way I interact with the world… so even though I am huge ( I was overweight when I got pregnant) everywhere I go people remark at my glow…

    Much luck and light and love to your family!

  24. I’m the oldest of four and the only girl, my brothers are five, eight and ten years younger than me and it’s wonderful. I was always old enough to “help” my parents even in just a little way like cleaning up or reading a story to them and it took some of the stress off them. Something to keep in mind.

  25. Just to be on the other side of the spectrum, my sisters are 8 and 10 years older than myself, and I don’t like it! I always felt alone as a child, because they were much older than me and with burgeoning social lives, too busy to bother with a younger sibling. They did, to be fair, spend some time with me, but most of the time I just felt like a drag. I was close with my oldest sister, and then with my second sister when she went off to college, and when both were out of the house, I was on my own for a long time and I hated it. I would have preferred to have siblings close in age.

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