on the ideal age gap between siblings

There's an internal debate that goes on inside a mother's head following the birth of her first child. Sometimes this debate is moved to a moms group online where thousands of women weigh in with their overly-analytical responses, all of which are wrapped up with paper and pretty little bows and tagged with either The Only Right Answer or Because I Said So.

The debate on when to have a second child is what I mean, of course. The when is the right time? and what is the best age difference? and are only children so bad? that send the internet spiraling, screaming, crashing into balls of I Have All The Answers flames. I mean, maybe before losing Wylie I thought I had all of the answers, too. I just knew I wanted different than what I had, being nearly eleven years older than my only sibling, for Ethan.

This is a debate that shuffles up all different responses on what is universally best. There are the saccharine future-predicting tales of friendship and closeness, sibling soulmates and other halves. There are the promises that your only children will turn into psychopathic killers with complexes and a desire to destroy. There are those who insist children should be at least five years apart as there is a void forever in their hearts if their parents cannot guarantee solo attention at all times. Of course, there are the anecdotes and reflections of the opinion wielders own childhood. You'll read the "I always longed for a sibling" or the "my mother ruined my life by having my sister ten months later" or the "my brother and I hate each other's guts" or the "my sister is my best friend in the world" and you'll think I want that one. That life, right there. That scenario. That situation. Sign me up for that one.

But life doesn't really work that.

As with most baby loss mothers, the naivety is sort of stolen from underneath our feet. We stumble and fall and when it comes time to pick ourselves back up, we realize that you can basically plan nothing. Heck, sometimes you can't even hope for anything. You just sort of have to wake up and shrug your shoulders and take each day as it comes because anything more than that will make you completely crazy, or crazier than you already feel on a daily basis. People will say "the Frozen dolls are sold out at Target, my daughter's life is over" and you will want to hurl scalding hot coffee at their faces and resist the legitimate urge to do so. And that desire to hurl scalding coffee, well, it taps me on the shoulder and gives me a sly little grin whenever these Child Planning conversations find themselves filling up my social media feeds. Maybe before May 12th, I would have been another voice weighing in for Team Anything But What My Parents Did. But now, I scroll through the conversations and try not to read them or too much into them. I was naive once, too. I was giddy once, too. I thought the world was a beautiful, magical place where I could say something would happen and it would. For a long time, it did. And then one day, well, it just didn't anymore.

As I sat in my OB's office next to my husband as we waited for our first prenatal appointment for my pregnancy with Ethan, I noticed a photo frame hanging on the wall. It was given as a thank you to one of the doctors for delivering these four babies, all born four years apart in boy, girl, boy, girl order. "That's what I want," I said to my husband. "Look how perfect. Boy, girl, boy, girl and four years apart. Of course, two and a half years of Ethan's life went by and we decided it was time to have another baby ("oh, he can have a couple of years to grow up with her before he begins school," "oh, I can tot school two children in our little classroom at once," "oh, he wants a sibling just like all of his friends have at this point," "oh, I would love to have another tiny, little baby to care for," "oh, I want them to be best friends like everyone on the internet says their children will") and so we did. But then she died.

My internal debate happens nightly. I realize that I can control nothing. I realize that it doesn't matter what I feel the ideal age gap is because it means nothing and suddenly the only ideal is having a child who survives. Still, I back and forth with myself. Before falling asleep, I give myself a good half hour of "holy shit, I may wind up doing exactly what my parents did" and "no, that's it, we have to try to conceive again right away" and exploring all of the other crevices in between. My children will never be friends, I convince myself. I may never have another child and Ethan will be a future guest on Lock Up, I worry. And did I mention the ol' holy shit, I may wind up doing exactly what my parents did one? Because that one is the headliner every night.


That's my sister. You can't tell anymore, but she's blonde and has blue eyes and a nose ring and a thigh gap and we look nothing alike. She was a hip hop dancer for many years and listens to music that raises my blood pressure and makes me feel like I need to bathe in bleach. We don't like any of the same things. I don't just mean that because of our age difference, but just because we are on opposite sides of the Spectrum Of All The Things. We used to say we were Daria and Quinn until she decided she no longer liked Daria, probably because I do.

I was almost in middle school when she was born. I was busy dealing with periods and backstabbing girl friends and classmates who understood the parts in Grease that just made me feel confused. Still, I loved that little girl. My friends and I begged to babysit for her. We begged to plan her parties. We begged to hang out with her, do her make-up, dress her up, spend every waking moment with her. When I was eighteen and leaving for college, I couldn't let go of her. I sent her a postcard or letter just about every single day that I was gone. I drove home to have lunch with her in her classroom. She'd grab onto my arm and say "this is my big sister" with pride. She was the 12 year old maid of honor in my wedding. She was there the day Ethan was born. And then, eventually, a nearly 30 year old stay-at-home mother and an 18 year old high school senior stopped having any common ground. We weren't friends anymore. Right now, we're not really friends anymore. Our conversations usually include her turning down any plans I try to make or offers I extend. I tell her no, stop that, don't do that, go away and roll my eyes when she speaks in a language that I don't even begin to understand. I still love that not-so-little girl, but we aren't friends right now. In ten years, we will probably be friends again. Maybe even in five years. I realize there comes a time where the divide isn't so wide, where it feels a lot more shallow, but right now it's deep. Right now it's big and wide and lonely and empty and I curse my parents and their excuses as to why they waited so many years to have another child. Right now I need a sibling. Right now I have someone who, for cash, may be willing to watch Ethan long enough for me to pick up take-out at Chipotle.

The thing is, this is my reality now. I don't get to snap my fingers and welcome a baby into my womb and then the world. I don't get to pick and choose and make wishes and have hopes. I'm also coming at life with a perspective of knowing that just because my children are close in age, it doesn't mean they will be friends. It doesn't mean they will like one another. It doesn't mean they'll be close or spend holidays together or have children together and fill my living room on Sundays for family dinners and together time. That, too, is just a dream. Just a hope. Just a daydream. I don't have those anymore.

What I do have is my reality. A reality that is filled with people telling me that one day we will bring home a living baby. A reality that may mean my children are eleven years apart. A reality that may mean one of my children will be eighteen when the other is twenty-nine and maybe it's the twenty-nine year old who still lives at home while the eighteen year old has just traveled Europe and has their sights on a family life in the suburbs. Loss lets you see the gray area that sometimes you miss out on when you're blind to a certain level of pain. It's a level of gray area that these debating mothers on the internet can't really see and, in a way, I envy them. I wish I was as sure of anything as they are of everything that sits just so out of their control.

Tonight, I made a promise to myself to embrace the gray area. To say goodbye to these ideas of perfect and ideal and perfectly planned and in my (not so) humble opinion and to know that whether or not Ethan grows up to be an only child, he won't be on Lock Up. And if he is, it isn't because of his lack of siblings. And if Ethan winds up having siblings born from my own body or through adoption and if they are six years apart or sixteen years apart, all I can do is continue to take each day at a time. To do what I can do. To see things for how they are and not how people on the internet insist they will be. I said goodbye to my dream and my ideal and my perfect, and the best I can do is to rebuild from here and know that there is no perfect. I must grow to love the crumbles and the fault lines and the chipped paint and the brown grass in the proverbial yard. And that's what my parents did, the best with what they had. The best they could do with what life gave them. I don't roll my eyes when my mother recounts her stories of all it took to conceive my sister, the struggles and the appointments and the doctors and the fear. I understand it all now and, in that sense, I am doing just what my parents did: the best I know how.


  1. Thank you. This was beautiful. I also look back on the Me I was last year this time. So sure of how my life would play out. Totally unaware that a month and a half later, it would all be ripped away and that the road afterward would offer little comfort. I miss having opinions about epidurals and cloth diapers and breast-feeding and "cry it out" and all that. I think so often of how much simpler life is for moms and dad who never have to say goodbye. Who never have to wonder, "was that our only chance? Will we only ever be bereaved parents with this empty feeling inside?" I envy it with a passion.

    There is no ideal besides breathing (and hopefully healthy). I hear you.

  2. Another beautiful post, my friend.

    My brother is four years older than I am and we are not close at all. I don't think this has anything to do with the age gap, but rather everything to do with our personalities and how we were raised. Nevertheless, I worry all.the.time - because Kale and Bea are four years apart and I want nothing more than for them to be best friends forever. But, considering all the other shit I worry about as a mother, might as well just add this one to the fire...

  3. My brother and I were 8 years apart....he was more like a father to me at times. He taught me everything and since he passed I miss him dearly. Now I am an only child and my husband is an only child. I feel the exact emotional & mental debate you are talking about. I don't want Mya to be an only child because it is lonely...our extended family is getting so small....but I also think I am not ready to have another child yet, yet I shouldn't be selfish?

  4. I swallowed a lot of water. cheap asics running shoes Minzui smile, cheap asics running shoes sale frivolous brought her chin, and kissed up. cheap knew their thoughts, asics shoes sale uk smiled and said my sister, you're beautiful, asics running shoes sale Woman, asics running shoes sale even ugly, as long as the lover of praise, she feels that he is the asics running shoes sale world's most beautiful woman. so beautiful.

  5. mulberry outlet, http://www.mulberryoutlet.com.co/
    ed hardy clothing, http://www.edhardy.us.com/
    dolphins jerseys, http://www.miamidolphinsjersey.com/
    ray ban sunglasses outlet, http://www.raybansunglass.us.com/
    tods outlet, http://www.todsoutlet.us.com/
    new york giants jerseys, http://www.newyorkgiants.us/
    mizuno running shoes, http://www.mizunorunningshoes.us/
    san antonio spurs, http://www.sanantoniospursjersey.com/
    raiders jerseys, http://www.oaklandraidersjerseys.us/
    ray ban sunglasses online, http://www.raybansunglassesonline.us.com/
    ugg outlet, http://www.uggsoutlet.us.org/
    oakley outlet store, http://www.oakleyoutlet.in.net/
    coach outlet online, http://www.coachoutletonline.in.net/
    moncler jackets, http://www.moncler.us.com/
    louis vuitton handbags outlet, http://www.louisvuittonhandbags.org.uk/
    calvin klein outlet, http://www.calvinklein.in.net/
    the north face outlet, http://www.thenorthfaces.in.net/
    new balance shoes, http://www.newbalanceshoes.in.net/
    iphone 6 cases, http://www.iphonecase.name/
    michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkors-outlets.us.com/
    oklahoma city thunder, http://www.thunderjerseystore.com/
    ray-ban sunglasses, http://www.raybansunglass.com.au/
    calvin klein underwear, http://www.calvinklein.in.net/
    lebron james shoes, http://www.lebronjames.us.com/
    nike sneakers, http://www.nikerunningshoes.cc/
    tory burch outlet, http://www.toryburchoutletonline.in.net/
    michael kors handbags, http://www.michaelkorsusa.us/
    michael kors factory outlet, http://www.michaelkorsfactoryoutlet.us.org/

  6. In order to evaluate the services or to find out the best option, you can either contact them directly or can also request for the quotes or can also contact them directly. Moreover, to find out the best option, you can check out their experience as well as the track-record so that you could have an idea of what type of services they provide. Make sure that you better check the services and their team as well.

    Packers and Movers Delhi

    Packers and Movers Noida

    Packers and Movers Faridabad

    Packers and Movers Ghaziabad

  7. If you are someone new to this city or visiting here for the very first time then you should not take the stress of your relocation needs as we are here to furnish your demands in a great and convenient manner. Everything you have to do is just visit the website and check out from the range of service providers listed on our website. As there is a bunch of service providers listed on our website you need to ensure that you select the preferred ones.

    Packers and Movers Pune

    Packers and Movers Mumbai

    Packers and Movers Hyderabad

    Packers and Movers Bangalore

  8. If you are sorting out packers and movers in delhi however unable to seek out the real service providers, then you must have to check out dealkare, here you will get the list of best packers and movers of delhi.
    packers and movers in delhi
    packers and movers in mumbai
    packers and movers in noida

  9. If you are looking for Java summer training in NCR, ITSWS is one of the best company to provide you high class training on live projects. Where you can learn live experience.
    Java Summer Training in Noida

  10. SAS Training in noida- If you are looking for SAS than Webtracker is the best option you. SAS can be integrated with clinical trial management systems (MCs) such as Oracle Clinical. The data integration process starts with data extraction (data import).
    PHP Training Institute in Noida
    SAP Training institute In Noida
    Hadoop training in noida
    Java Training Institute in Noida
    Oracle Training institute in Noida
    Linux Training in Noida
    Salesforce training in noida

  11. Get All Government jobs notification like result, exam date, interview date and so on at one place. That is findsarkarijobs.com.

    NDA Exam Schedule 2018
    CDS Exam Schedule 2018

  12. If you are searching the best packing and moving industries in Noida Sector 37, Dealkare is the best and hassle free packers and movers.
    Packing and Moving services in Noida Sector 37

  13. DHL Movers and Packers Delhi is the No. 1 "Packers and Movers in Delhi". We Packers and Movers Delhi are committed to provide holistic solution for packing and moving services for household items, commercial goods, offices, machinery, office equipments cars, two-wheeler etc. If you are looking for a licensed insured and professional moving company ready to handle any move type shifting, house moving, office moving, businesses moving than we can help in Your transfer. We Movers and Packers Delhi have a track record of serving the customers with reliable, efficient and professional services of all their packing and moving needs.
    packers and movers Noida @

    packers and movers Gurgaon @

    packers and movers Ghaziyabad @

    packers and movers Faridabad @

    packers and movers Greater Noida @

    packers and movers Delhi NCR @

    packers and movers Dwarka @

    packers and movers Rohini @

  14. Ah,so beautiful and wonderful post!An opportunity to read a fantastic and imaginary blogs.It gives me lots of pleasure and interest.Thanks for sharing.
    sap abap developer training

  15. thnks for sach a great article .. we know are some nformationbest online news in india the universal post is creating and curating stories, research to take you to the real facts truth behind every step, every statement given by so called - Pseudo Intellectuals who think India is intolerant. Join us in our journey and we promise you to clear your thoughts and you will celebrate Independence Day every day in India. hindi news moneycontrol
    the wire india post
    abp news google news

  16. Nice Blog. Thanks to share the information. Keep on more information.
    We are making your Home Shifting, House relocation, Car and Bike transportation, Company and corporate shifting easily. Get an instant quote from more than 500+ Verified packers and movers listed on 99packers.com
    Packer and Movers in Delhi
    Packer and Movers in Noida
    Packer and Movers in Gurgaon
    Packer and Movers in Ghaziabad

  17. http://mycanadafitness.com/price-moving-jeddah.html اسعار نقل العفش بجدة
    http://mycanadafitness.com/company-moving-mecca.html شركات نقل العفش بمكة

    شركة كيان لنقل العفش بالرياض والمدينة المنورة وجدة ومكة والطائف والدمام تقديم لكم دليل كامل لشركات نقل العفش بالمملكة العربية السعودية

    نقل عفش شركة كيان
    دليل شركات نقل العفش

  18. Trucking Cube Provide Freight Charges, Lorry hires Bulk Transport, Cheapest Truck Rental Company, Hire a Truck, etc. If you want this kind of services at an affordable cost then contact Trucking Cube.

    read more

  19. Um online auf das Norton-Konto zu zugreifen und das Norton-Setup von norton. com/setup herunterzuladen, ist es unerlässlich, eine Hoch geschwindigkeits-Internet verbindung zu haben. Wenn Sie keine Hoch geschwindigkeits-Internet verbindung auf Ihrem System haben, wird empfohlen, dass Sie das Norton-Setup offline herunterladen und installieren, da es sonst während des gesamten Prozesses Probleme verursacht und viel Zeit in Anspruch nimmt.

  20. Trend Micro Support specialists can mortgage their hand to download, introduce and update Trend Micro Spy Sweeper Antivirus in your framework. We can likewise fix all errors which could appear even as introducing and designing Trend Micro Antivirus in your PC. We can allow you to distinguish and evacuate noxious dangers, malware and spyware by gambling out a quick output on all information and envelopes.
    trendmicro download

  21. Avast Software (avast login), the global pioneer in superior security objects for consumers and companies, ensures more than four hundred million individuals at the net. Avast offers objects beneath the Avast and AVG brands, that defend people from dangers on the web with a standout amongst the maximum evolved threat identity arranges on this planet
    Avast Login

  22. Activation.Kaspersky.Com Lab gives antivirus protection to gadgets like PCs, Mac, iOS, Andriod, gadgets. Showing a wide cluster of capacities, the antivirus now not simply ensures the capacity lifestyles of your gadget but further shields character data whether it's far media or literary information. The security programming enterprise is usually making every one of the gadgets further developed in step with the prevailing need of clients.

  23. TomTom HOME enables you to have the maximum latest TomTom programming and make the maximum of our maximum current administrations, make reinforcements of your TomTom, efficiently introduce maps and administrations, get free traffic cautions on your PC, and down load unfastened administrations or shop for additional.
    tomtom update


  24. Garmin.com/express is a totally popular call within the market of the Fitness and Navigation Devices. You should purchase Garmin Fitness Watch, Automobile Navigation Device, maps and lots of extra. These gadgets are of able to saving and optimizing the data in line with the user’s want. And to manipulate and shop the facts, the Garmin additionally offers the Garmin Express.

  25. Get Instant Approval Merchant Account and Payment Gateway Integration through our easy Online Application. Apply Today for Payment Gateway, Merchant Accounts and Online Credit Card Processing Services for high-Risk Business by Merchant Stronghold
    Merchant services

  26. We are popular as Florist Service in Gurgaon from last 10 Years, we also offers fresh flowers cakes and latest gifts across Gurgaon. Send flowers online and Offline from flower shop for your loved ones and available for corporate gifting with fastest delivery.

    Florist Service in Gurgaon
    Online Florist Services in Gurgaon
    packers and movers baner
    packers and movers balewadi
    packers and movers ravet
    packers and movers bhosari
    packers and movers telegaon
    packers and movers magarpatta
    packers and movers aundh

  27. Very interesting blog. Many blogs I see these days do not really provide anything that attracts others, but believe me the way you interact is literally awesome.You can also check my articles as well.

    Security Guard License
    Ontario Security License
    Security License Ontario
    Security License

    Thank you..

  28. It is ideal age to make video for tiktok. Now all young people use tiktok, some of them even buy tiktok likes from here https://soclikes.com/buy-tiktok-likes to get popular

  29. I think this the best blog with the most important information filled in this website
    I Got the more and more ideas from this blog Thank You for letting us to know.
    pythonTraining in chennai

    python Course in chennai

  30. Apoyo sobre las mejores Trabajar en Bali oportunidades de inversión en Bali y asesoramiento sobre cómo gestionar tus ahorros en el país

  31. Kami adalah salah satu media Info Kerja Bali online terkemuka di Bali.
    Membantu memfasilitasi pencocokan dan komunikasi peluang kerja antara pencari kerja dan pemberi kerja, di Bali, Denpasar, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Tuban, Jimbaran.

  32. Website Developer Bali adalah seorang Freelancer Website Developer Bali, dia sangat menyukai hobbynya dalam menelusuri setiap blok yang Anda di internet. Dia memiliki banyak pengetahuan tentang Digital Marketing dan bagaimana penerapan dalam bisnis.

  33. Satya Puri Studio is Bali architects have worked on historically-inspired homes & villa around the world — including “Lux Villa in Bali; Sukh Sagar Haveli in Jodhpur, Rajasthan; Kahani Paradise in Gokarna. Their work shows inspiration across history and styles, tied together with the goal of enhancing life through good design. Above all, Satya Puri Studio Architects aims to produce personalized living environments.

  34. SEO adalah proses meningkatkan visibilitas dan peringkat website bisnis Anda di laman hasil penelusuran mesin telusur, seperti Google, Bing, dan Yahoo, sehingga memudahkan pelanggan menemukan produk atau layanan Anda secara online.

    Kami menawarkan layanan Jasa SEO terbaik di Bali dengan Strategi Optimasi Situs Website secara tepat dan akurat sesuai dengan prinsip kerja mesin pencari.

  35. When you think Indonesia, you probably picture its Labuan Bajo, and sunny beaches in Canggu. Yet, many people don’t realize that Indonesia is also a great place to start a business. According to International Labour Organization, there are about 700 thousand small businesses in Indonesia in 2018, which 57 million are small and medium sized enterprises Start Business in Indonesia

    But what makes Indonesia so great? Major cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya, an impressive university system, and low taxes means the Sunshine country is ripe with opportunity for savvy business owners. Keep reading to learn more about why Indonesia could be the perfect spot to start your new business!

  36. We advise in the suitable Business Consulting Bali business structure and establish entities

  37. This design is incredible! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. I was almost moved to start my own blog 메이저사이트

  38. Fantastic job. I really enjoyed
    what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  39. I am actually grateful to the holder of this site who has shared
    this enormous article at here. 바카라

  40. Everyone loves it when folks come together and share opinions.
    Great site, stick with it! 토토사이트


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...