I wasn’t sure if Mila would always be an ‘Only Child’ – I wasn’t sure at one point I would even have children, having a baby with a man who’s already been married once before and whose children from that marriage were all grown up was a big decision, more so for him than me, he would be starting again and I was just starting.
When we met he didn’t want anymore children and at 23 years old, I wasn’t even thinking about it. I was enjoying my early 20’s, my friendships, an exciting new relationship, my freedom and having babies wasn’t on my priority list at the time.
Time passes, things change, priorities change and those ‘what would our children look like?’ conversations happened and we excitedly decided we wanted to have a mini us one day and not long after we got married we started trying for a baby, Mila soon came into our lives.
It was around the time she was 10 months old, sitting on the floor playing with her toys that I felt an overwhelming pang of sadness that she might not have a sibling. Of course she had my husbands children which are her big brother and sister but with them both nearly being old enough to be her parents it’s just not the same. I wanted her to experience waking up excitedly Christmas morning and running down the stairs with a brother or sister to see what Santa had brought them, to giggle with at the dinner table, share little secrets with, confide in each other and even to squabble with over those silly yet oh so important things siblings fight over. I wanted her to have a lifelong friend and I absolutely wanted another one of her!
I hinted to my husband a few times, he wasn’t overly keen but he also knew what I meant and how much it meant to me and he did confess to me one day that he thought the same, he and his brother are so close and of course he wanted that for Mila too.
We weren’t sure what kind of age gap would be best…how does anyone really know what’s best? I wanted to enjoy these precious times with Mila and watching her grow and change so much everyday I was aware how quickly it all flew by and the thought of missing out on anything because I was preoccupied with a newborn made me a little apprehensive, but the thought of them close in age made me feel like they would be little best friends and that was one of the reasons that made us decide 2 years between them would be ideal for our family. Mila was 15 months when I fell pregnant, which meant she would turn two just three weeks before her little sibling would be born.
I was never overly fussed about what gender our next baby would be, but, I always had a feeling/envisaged I would have girls and the moment I fell pregnant my instinct told me it was a baby girl. Sisters! 💗
As my bump got bigger and the time grew closer for this new family member to make her arrival the guilt set in. I can’t even remember how many times I cried over feeling so guilty that Mila would think I didn’t love her anymore once the baby was born or that she would feel abandoned, or how I could possibly love another baby like I love her…all these irrational thoughts that now seem crazy were very real and those hormones made me an emotional mess wondering if I had done the right thing. Until you experience this it’s hard to understand fully but anyone who is going through it – you are SO normal!!
Pregnancy while you have other small children is hard at times. Much harder than your first pregnancy, your body aches a little more and those times you got to rest or even nap with your first bump are a thing of the past. Mila was at the stage where she refused to get in her pushchair and wanted to walk everywhere (she was actually at a stage she refused a lot of things) but then made me carry her when she quickly grew tired, not fun 9 months pregnant and in a heatwave let me tell you! You struggle to put your own shoes on in those last few weeks and you have a toddler mid tantrum needing shoes on too…‘Why didn’t I wait another year??’.
That’s the thing with close age gaps, your soon to be no longer ‘only baby’ is just that, still a baby and needs you to do everything for them and it dawns on you that in a few weeks your hands will be very very full!!
Be prepared that the terrible twos is tough and dealing with the tantrums after nights of no sleep, crazy hormones and feeding every hour makes you want coffee on a drip…if not something much stronger.
In some ways this has made me wonder if maybe a slightly bigger age gap would be a little easier but every age gap
comes with its struggles I’m sure…
However, once Nirvana was here and I saw how much Mila adored her, each day got a little easier and I could see their little friendship form I knew the gap we chose was perfect for us. Nirvanas first laughs were mostly down to her big sister (a few cries too I have to add) and I absolutely would not change a thing.
I try and make time for just Mila and I when I can, even if it’s just us making cupcakes together while Nirvana sits in her high chair chewing her toes or letting her ‘style’ my hair.
I know Nirvanas turn will come soon for us to have some one on one time together when Mila starts pre school this September and I don’t think Mila actually remembers a time her sister wasn’t around anymore, they love each other so much and I feel so very lucky! Your heart doesn’t split, it just doubles!
That ‘Mama Guilt’ has definitely turned into ‘Mama Pride’.