Having a Second Child Soon After Baby #1

I come from a big family -- six kids, all pretty closely spaced together. So when my husband and I decided to have our second child, I knew I wanted a small age gap. This way my kids would grow up together the way my siblings and I had. Family and friends shared that it would be difficult to be taking care of a baby while raising a terrible 2-year-old. However, I found having my terrific two sons close in age to be as beneficial in the short-term as I know it will be in the long run.

I had experienced raising a newborn before -- and not that long ago -- so I felt better prepared with our second child. I remember the first time we -- including ER doctor Dad -- saw blood appear on our first baby, we rushed unnecessarily to urgent care. Nothing -- not medical school, not the baby books -- could prepare us for parenthood the way our first go as parents did.

That’s not to say things were easy -- far from it! The number of diapers we went through on any given day never ceased to amaze us. And the amount of supplies I needed to get out the door doubled -- there was so much to carry; I always looked headed on vacation! While one son was trying out “no” in louder volumes, the other was trying out his new squirming muscles during a change. Having siblings close in age can definitely be a ton of work!

Sharing our time amongst our two boys can be difficult at times. For example, we rain-checked potty-training, so our older son only uses the potty occasionally. But now, whenever he does, nothing beats the look of absolute pride and importance on his face he when we ask him to show his little brother how to do it. We were worried our first son would feel neglected or, worse, replaced. But it turned out -- to our unexpected joy -- that we were replaced. While Daddy was used to getting second chair to mommy, it was big brother now who got hugged first and could do no wrong.

Our grander parenting plans are sometimes put on hold, but I feel our mantra and for other families who have their first and second baby close in age should be “short-term sacrifices lead to long-term benefits.”