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Leah_S

My mother-in-law says that I shouldn't consider having another baby given that there will be a 9 year age gap....

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(I found this forum about 2 months ago and my mother-in-law and my conversation has gotten me to finally join and post.)

 

My mother-in-law says that I shouldn't consider having another baby given that there will be a 9 year age gap as she describes a nightmare of their not getting along.  (her two kids were 18 months apart)

 

Here's the background of our conversation:

 

I'm a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to one son age 7  (he'll turn 8 on March 27). 

 

We have never used birth control in our 12 years of marriage and we have only 1 child.     I have always had normal 28 day cycles and I ovulate every month (per temperature charting, ovulation predictor kits, and the temporary pain on either side of my abdomen that occurs on day 14 each month --  likely the egg being released) and he has normal sperm counts.  

 

I went to the doctor (gyne) recently for my annual check up and she did an ultrasound and.....long story short, she saw a polyp inside my cervical canal "os" (the canal through which sperm enter and menses exits).     She removed it and said it was "large enough to have likely been a player in our fertility".    (My son was born c-section so he didn't need to pass by this polyp).  

 

We did conceive 4 years ago and miscarried week 8.    Now that this polyp has been removed and we may indeed be fertile, the question of conceiving again is becoming a real question.     It used to (5+ years ago) not be a question as we concurred we wanted at least 2 kids.     But, now that we're older and our son is older we're having a pause to at least think things over.    If we conceive within the next 4 months, our son will be turning 9 when baby arrives.     There's the starting over in the baby phase (my husband is 40 and I'm 37) and other issues that starting over entails.....but, when my mother-in-law said that it made me sad.    I know that they'll be a 9 year / big age gap, but it'll hurt me if they clearly DON'T like one another because of the gap.    If it's going to be MOSTLY the baby getting on his nerves and my hearing whining that big brother won't play with me......that will stress me out.    And if I have to see them not interact as adults, that'll make me very sad.

 

What is such a gap like on the whole?     Obviously it's not THAT clear cut, but I'm just wondering if there are general patterns.     

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My closest sibling is 7 years older than me, and we have always been very close. In my opinion, your mother-in-law should mind her own business. 

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Well, I'm 37, dh is 41. We have 4 kids and my 'baby' is almost 8. I just found out I'm pregnant - there will be an 8 year gap there. Now, this wasn't planned, but it wasn't prevented either. Ds is thrilled. Like, giggling incoherently thrilled that he will be a big brother. I say ignore mil. It's not her choice and just because it isn't the way she did it doesn't make it wrong.

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We have a 9 year gap between oldest and baby. Of course, oldest is a "little mommy." Of course, people in general are a hassle, no matter how old they are, or how you're related to them or not, when you have to live with them, right? ;) It's none of your MIL's business, quite frankly. I'm sure she's a lovely lady, but  no one asked her opinion I assume.

 

I remember my MIL commenting on our 4-year gap. How they won't be good friends, etc. Maybe, maybe not. It's different in all different families. She desperately wanted all her kids to have this wonderful cushy, cozy relationship, but she's not that kind of mom and her kids all get along well, but aren't all best friends. And, she created some of that. There is general peace and harmony, though.

 

Kids will while, whether they are onlys or sibling-havers. As I see it, you'll have two only children, and as an only myself, what could be more wonderful. ;)

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What does your MIL know of it? Everyone is different. Her kids were 18 months apart which I would personally think to be absolutely terrible but it works well for a lot of people.

 

My nieces are 19 months apart and they seem to hate each other and spend a considerable portion of time each week trying to kill each other. Close in age isn't any guarantee for sibling harmony.

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I have 6 kids, so it it's not the same but there are all kinds of age gaps here. In my experience, at age 8-9, my big boys were very helpful, involved and smitten with the new baby. My oldest ds was 8 when my first dd waswas born and they have always been very close. Currently, I have a just turned 15 ds and a 15mo dd, and it is awesome and so sweet to see their relationship. In our bunch, the kids closer in age are the ones to fight more. But, I think that is normal.

 

Of course, it depends on the kids and particulars of your situation.

 

I would encourage you to not let your mil discourage you from considering it, if you would like another dc.

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I have four older sisters, 7,9 and 11 years(twins) older than me and am closest to the one who is 9 years older. Even as a child I was.

 

My eight kids are ages 1-17 with another on the way. I think the oldest ones get along best with the younger ones. The ones closest in ages tend to have the most conflicts/fighting. But the older ones love and adore the younger ones and sometimes the youngest ones prefer them over me :)

 

I do think having no other siblings does change that dynamic a bit but even with kids 18 months apart you do not know what you will get personality wise or anything. There are no guarantees of anything.

 

Have a child if you want a child. You aren't having the child for your son but for you.

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My closest sibling is 7 years older than me, and we have always been very close. In my opinion, your mother-in-law should mind her own business. 

This is the difference between my two, they are of different gender, and they could not be closer. I really cannot describe how awesome their relationship is. I had another baby because  I wanted one, but seeing these two relate to each other has been a huge bonus.

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MIL opinion is not relevant to your decisions. Don't discuss with her. This is a decision based on what you and your dh feel you want and can handle as a family.

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why does your mil's opinion matter to you?  do what *you* feel is right for YOUR family.

 

I have five children.  the oldest graduated college the year the youngest was born.  the next youngest was 12 1/2.  he is particularly close to the one who was 15 when he was born.   he recently had lots of fun going and having a sleepover at my oldest's house.

 

My fil was born when the oldest in his family was 18 - she was like a second mother to him. (after she got over him not being the sister she was supposed to get.)

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If you want a second child, have a second child!  The age gap honestly doesn't matter.  My ex-step-uncle was 21 when his little sister was born.  There are no kids between them and no birth control used between them.  They were pretty surprised when #2 came along since they figured they'd never have a second child.  She was truly a blessing to the parents throughout the rest of their lives.  She grew up super close to her cousins (who are her age!).  The brother and sister are surprisingly close, particularly given such a huge gap in ages.  My parents' friends had three boys and then when the youngest boy was somewhere around 10 she got pregnant with a surprise.  She cried for three days because it was NOT something she had planned.  Then she put on her big girl panties and got excited about baby #4.  This one was a girl and mom and daughter have always been super close and she's extremely close to her brothers as well.  I really think that no matter the gap, whether it's 11 months or 11 years or whatever, it works out just fine

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My eldest is 10 and my youngest is 3.. so a seven year gap.  He dotes on his baby brother and is actually enjoying that relationship more than with this brother who is 2 years younger.  

 

My Dad is the youngest of four.  His older brothers are 14 and 16 years older, respectively.  They are all best friends.

 

MILs and mothers can have opinions, but in the end, all that really matters is what you and your husband/partner want.

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My dd is 9 and we are trying for a sibling. She very much wants a sibling. There is a girl in our local coop who is a year or two older than dd and her mom just had a baby and she dotes on the baby.

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Don't give your mil a say in your choice of family size.  It's not her business.  End of discussion.

My boys are 13 years apart and adore one another.  I was 40 and dh was 42 when our last was born.

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we have a twelve year gap between dd#2 and dd#3.  we quite quickly had dd#4 so that they would have buddies when the older two left home.  

 

they are all quite close.  its a different relationship than between the pairs of dds, and a lovely added dimension.

 

the thing that struck me was that i was already to the point of being able to do more things i was interested in, and then suddenly was back to b*st feeding, nappies, and naps.

that was a hard switch for me personally.

 

but i can't imagine life without the younger two.  i am a more steady mom for them, having gained some experience ;)

ann

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I have a 4 year old and an almost 12 year old.  They enjoy each other and get along most of the time.  Of course, there are times that the 4 year old drives her sister crazy, but she is still glad she has a sister. 

 

 

Suzanne

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Your children will be people. They might get along, and they might not. It shouldn't "hurt you" that they will have a normal human relationship between the two of them. Not everyone gets along. I suggest:

 

1. Release the fear. You can't control other people, and having a "meh" sibling relationship is not they end of the world -- if, just in case, you do get that "worst case" result. Yes, it could happen. Sibling "meh-ness" can happen in any family, with any age gap.

 

2. Do what you can to facilitate healthy relations between them. Look it up. Get some books like "siblings without rivalry" -- or whatever. The situation really is fairly manageable, and your actions/attitudes will be a strong influence... Which is why you need to do #1... If your attitude is primarily "fear that this will go badly" your influence won't be at its best.

 

(Reacting like "Oh NO! I see minor sibling conflict! It's big and scary because it might mean I've failed my kids! I have to react to the problem right now!" -- if you have that feeling and fear -- will make your children tense and confused, probably making things worse. A thoughtful strategic response won't do the same thing.)

 

3. Don't invite your MIL to weigh in on personal decisions. She is a bystander, and she can learn to keep her impolite and intrusive opinions to herself.

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First, your mother-in-law needs to mind her own business.

 

Second, my kids are 7 1/2 and 8 1/2 years apart. The little ones certainly bugged the oldest. Oh well. That's life. Now that oldest is away at college, she misses them a lot, and they miss her.

 

My sister's kids are 8 years apart. He's 11, she's 3. They get along fantastically.

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There will be differences between having kids back to back and having a gap, esp. of 9 years.  But . . . a close relationship isn't guaranteed in close in age siblings and it isn't precluded for siblings who are born years apart.  One sister is 12 years older than me and we are best friends.  Another sister is 9 years older than me and we don't connect at all.  It has nothing to do with the age span and everything to do with personality.  

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Did you ask MIL for her opinion? Or share the medical information in such a way that it seemed you wanted her input? Otherwise, ew, lady, you don't comment on your son and DIL's reproductive choices!!!

 

You can see the spread in my signature, and I'm currently pregnant. It's been great for our family, but only you and DH can decide what's best for yours.

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I am 7 years younger than my sister and my brother is 8 years younger than I. We were close as children and are also as adults. The age gap is beneficial in some ways because the older child is old enough to help and - in our cases -- excited about having a baby in the house.

 

Frankly, I wouldn't listen to your mother-in-law. It's your family, your body, and your marriage. The decision should be up to you and your spouse.

 

Exactly.

 

I am loving the 7+ year age difference between our 2.  They have the sweetest relationship.

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My MIL told me not to have boys.   :crying:

 

Do what you and your DH want to do.  Who cares what she thinks.

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 I think it's weird to assume any siblings won't like each other simply because of their ages.  Siblings can get on each other's nerves or be best friends (and sometimes both) no matter the age difference. There's enough to deal with as a parent and you don't need to add things to worry about. Have another baby if you want to!

 

My two oldest are 19 months apart and then there's seven years between the 2nd and 3rd. It was a huge adjustment to have a baby in the house again when our youngest was born, and to think about adding on so many more years of active parenting.  I definitely don't regret it, but it changed our family dynamic hugely.  I have fond memories of the years when we had just two children, and I like having all three too. It is harder to find activities for the entire family since our youngest's interests are so different from the older two, but it's so nice to have a little one around when we have teenagers too.  

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My next sibling younger then me is 7 years younger then me. Don't make him into your personal babysitter but do make him involved with helping with the baby a little. If he sees himself as playing an important big brother role in the new baby's life, it will go smoother. Age in itself doesn't make for a bad or good relationship between siblings.

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I don't discuss these things with my MIL. It is none of her business. Make a decision that is good for you and your son and your husband. 

I don't even discuss medical conditions with the ILs, let alone reproductive choices. Good luck.

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In April, I will have  DD13, DD6 and a newborn. My girls are excited. The 13 and 6 fight and squabble at times but they love each other!  Do what is right for your family and I am so sorry that MIL couldn't keep her 2 cents to herself!.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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I was 9 years older than my youngest sister. We got along much better as children than either of us got along with our middle sister, although they were actually closer in their teen years when they still lived at home but I did not (they were only 3 years apart).

 

My mother is 8 years younger than the next of her four older siblings (all stair-steps, 12-18 months apart). She has always had good relationships with all of them, although she was closer to the older of the two girls (12-year difference from Mom) and the younger of the two boys (10 years older than Mom). She even lived with her oldest sister and BIL for awhile as a preteen and helped care for her niece and nephew, even though they were actually closer to her in age than her sister.

 

A good friend of mine and her only sibling, an older sister, are 12 years apart. They also get along great. My friend says that growing up she got the benefit of being both a sister and an only child, as her sister went to college when she was only 6.

 

My own two are 5 1/2 years apart -- on purpose. We have friends whose kids are 13 months apart, and the thought of that made me shudder!

 

So no, I don't think the age difference alone is a reason not to expand your family. There are plenty of other considerations, but I don't think I'd make that one of them. Good luck!

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There are many large age gaps in our extended family, and they haven't been a problem. "Close" might look and feel different between siblings that are similar in age vs. spread apart, but that doesn't mean it's a problem. And like others have pointed out, no one is guaranteed anything in how the relationships between children work out.

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There are many large age gaps in our extended family, and they haven't been a problem. "Close" might look and feel different between siblings that are similar in age vs. spread apart, but that doesn't mean it's a problem. And like others have pointed out, no one is guaranteed anything in how the relationships between children work out.

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My husband's son was almost nine when our oldest daughter was born.  He has been an amazing big brother all of her life and she basically thinks he is the greatest thing.  They have a very special relationship that has evolved and changed some over the years but they have each other's back and they both know that.  They also both have great relationships with all of our younger children as well. Our oldest daughter would say she learned by example from having her amazing big brother and from watching her dad be a good older sibling and from watching her mom have good older siblings so I really think that the family dynamics, connections, and approaches along with some luck and God's grace are much bigger pieces of this puzzle than the age difference.

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(I found this forum about 2 months ago and my mother-in-law and my conversation has gotten me to finally join and post.)

 

My mother-in-law says that I shouldn't consider having another baby given that there will be a 9 year age gap as she describes a nightmare of their not getting along.  (her two kids were 18 months apart)

 

Here's the background of our conversation:

 

I'm a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to one son age 7  (he'll turn 8 on March 27). 

 

We have never used birth control in our 12 years of marriage and we have only 1 child.     I have always had normal 28 day cycles and I ovulate every month (per temperature charting, ovulation predictor kits, and the temporary pain on either side of my abdomen that occurs on day 14 each month --  likely the egg being released) and he has normal sperm counts.  

 

I went to the doctor (gyne) recently for my annual check up and she did an ultrasound and.....long story short, she saw a polyp inside my cervical canal "os" (the canal through which sperm enter and menses exits).     She removed it and said it was "large enough to have likely been a player in our fertility".    (My son was born c-section so he didn't need to pass by this polyp).  

 

We did conceive 4 years ago and miscarried week 8.    Now that this polyp has been removed and we may indeed be fertile, the question of conceiving again is becoming a real question.     It used to (5+ years ago) not be a question as we concurred we wanted at least 2 kids.     But, now that we're older and our son is older we're having a pause to at least think things over.    If we conceive within the next 4 months, our son will be turning 9 when baby arrives.     There's the starting over in the baby phase (my husband is 40 and I'm 37) and other issues that starting over entails.....but, when my mother-in-law said that it made me sad.    I know that they'll be a 9 year / big age gap, but it'll hurt me if they clearly DON'T like one another because of the gap.    If it's going to be MOSTLY the baby getting on his nerves and my hearing whining that big brother won't play with me......that will stress me out.    And if I have to see them not interact as adults, that'll make me very sad.

 

What is such a gap like on the whole?     Obviously it's not THAT clear cut, but I'm just wondering if there are general patterns.     

 

How thoughtful of your mil to share her hang-ups with you. :glare:

 

There's no reason to assume that a baby will get on your older son's nerves. 

 

There's no reason to assume that the little brother will whine because his big brother won't play with him (just don't set them both up for failure by requiring the big brother to play with the little brother).

 

Siblings who are close in age don't always interact as adults.

 

If you and Mr. Leah_S want another child, taking into consideration your ages and whatnot, then you have another child, and not base that decision on the relationship you imagine your younger dc will have with your older dc (and certainly not based on your mil's comments).

 

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Another family with a 'gap'.

Oldest 2 were 2.5 years apart.  Middle dd had some health issues (preemie with lung problems) so that put a hold on a future sibling.  When we were ready for # 3 we found we had secondary infertility and after 5 years we 'gave up'.  I ended up with a 'surprise' pregnancy that ended in a mid-term MC-- I had to have surgery and the Dr discovered the reason for my secondary infertility and was able to 'repare' the issue.  We were pregnant with youngest dd a few months later.

 

Oldest dd was 11 and middle dd was 9 when youngest dd was born.  I was 37.  The older ones were a big help-- but there were a few wrinkles in our homeschooling.  When youngest was 3 we enrolled her in a "Mom's Day Out" program 2 mornings each week-- this gave the big girls some guaranteed mommy time for their tougher subjects.  Youngest also LOVED interacting with kids 'her size'.  I remember youngest commenting on how she hated always having to look UP to talk to someone in the family-- now she is 12 and she looks me square in the eye!  We did have some times when we wanted to do activities with the older girls that were not appropriate for the youngest--but we worked around those. 

 

My older girls go out of their way to keep connected with youngest-- they make time to come over for family game night or to take her to a movie (they moved out 2 years ago and live about 45 minutes away)  Tomorrow middle dd plans to take her to Six Flags and on Friday oldest will take her hiking at a state park (this is spring break week). 

 

 

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I haven't read all the other replies, but your MIL has no idea what she is talking about. IME, kids close in age fight waaaay more than kids with an age gap. Kids close in age want the same things, kids far apart don't. I am 10 years older than my brother and we never fought. In fact, I babysat for him a lot and we were pretty close. My sister is only 3 years younger and we fought about everything. Toys, who was going to sit in the front seat, what show to watch on TV. None of that was an issue with my brother. There is a competition aspect with sibs that are close in age that isn't there when the gap gets bigger.

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We almost had a gap baby, but we miscarried 2nd trimester (and multiple times before that conception). It's not her business, plain and simple and I would have told her that it wasn't.  Hugs to you. 

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I have a brother 11 years older than me. The day I was born, he kept calling the hospital for updates.  As soon as he heard, he rode his bike up and down the block screaming that it was a girl!  I have many fond memories of him.  I remember the day he left for college - I cried and cried.  He was so precious to me!  Over the years we have gotten closer and closer. 

 

Remember that a sibling relationship isn't just for when they live in the same home - it's for lifetime.  And eventually the age difference wears off.  I'm so glad my mother decided to have a late baby (me!) and so is she!  Also remember, having kids close together doesn't guarantee they will adore each other.  It's far more about personality and upbringing than it is about age.  Do what YOU want to do.  Don't let fear (or your MIL :)) make your decisions.  God bless you and your family.

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I haven't read your other responses but your mother in law is WRONG.  I am tempted to make that word bigger to get my point across.  I can't even believe anyone would be so bold and thoughtless as to 1) assume that they KNOW what will happen in the future and 2) tell you and your husband what is right for your own family.  Ridiculous. Rant over, on to the question.

 

I have a 9.5 year gap between my oldest who is 14 and my youngest who is 4 (turning 5 in May).  Honestly of all four kids, those two get along and love each other the most often.  Those two share a room.  ODS is AMAZING with YDS.  It's the most fantastic thing and I would recommend large gaps with homeschooling children to anyone who asked about it! In fact, I have often said that one of my favorite things about having all of my kids home is watching that amazing relationship unfold.  ODS and YDS get to have this indescribable bond that they probably couldn't have if he were in regular school and I am so thankful that I get the blessing of watching it.  

 

Your family is YOURS.  Your MIL doesn't get to tell you what's best for it.  You and your DH do what is best for you two! :)

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My sister is 8 years younger than I am and we are very close. We didn't "play" together while we were growing up, but once went to college, we missed each other like crazy. Been close ever since. 

That said, I a friend of mine is one of 4 girls in her family. They were close in age and they have never been close/good friends as adults. You can't predict family relationships based on age. As other folks have said, it's yours and hubby's decision. 

 

Also, it is fantastic to have the help of an older child/children when you have a baby!  :hurray:

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My daughter is 12; she is 8 years older than my middle son, and is 11 years older than my youngest. I *love* that age gap. Seriously - it's great. Between Red (oldest) and the boys, there has been essentially NO sibling rivarly, as their interests are completely different - I can one of the boys alone to the children's museum, because oldest kiddo isn't really into that any more, and my husband can skip off to a movie with the oldest, to see something the boys wouldn't care for. She's a great help with the boys too; she adores them and them her (if any issues we've had, it may be that she can be too doting at times, especially a year or two ago).

 

The only real downside I can see is looking ahead to when DD eventually leaves for college or life in general. The boys are going to be heartbroken - they are very attached to her/close with her.

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I have a sister 3 years older than me, and a brother almost 10 years older than me. I get along with both of them EXTREMELY well. My sister and I have more in common, but my brother and I have a relationship that I can't quite find the words to explain, to be honest. He was THE BIG BROTHER with all it's terrifying and awesome implications, lol, and I can't imagine what my childhood would have been like without him.

 

Your MIL didn't have kids with a gap between them... she knows NOTHING about it; she's just passing judgment on other people's families without ever having experienced anything like it herself. Don't let that one person's massively uninformed opinion create doubts for you.

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Only two things come to mind.... My youngest is 16 years younger than the oldest and they ( and all his siblings) are 'best buddies" AND I hope you have a VERY close relationship with your mother-in-law because otherwise, I would be telling her to get her nose out of your bedroom and mind her own dang business!

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my oldest and youngest have a 10 yr age gap. They don't "play" but they very much do interact. She does a lot for him. "Can you draw me a cow?" kinds of things. She'll make him costumes and make pancakes in special shapes for him. Yes, they do get on each other's nerves from time to time but no more than any other typical siblings. If anything, I have to reprimand the oldest from doing too much for him. you know, things he should do for himself.

 

BTW, my fil has a TWENTY YEAR age gap between two of his siblings (oldest and youngest) They very much do get along as adults and are a part of one another's lives as much as they can be when they live in different states. Close sibling relationships as adults have more to do with personalities, personal values, and geographical proximity more than age difference.

 

I think your MIL should butt OUT!

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I think your MIL needs to mind her own business! :laugh: .  I am closest to my brother who is 11 years older than me than to the rest of my siblings.  It has much more to do with personality than with age gap.  My friend suffered secondary infertility and has a 9 year age gap between her two kids.  They get along OK.  The older one is sort of a lone wolf, but he seemed to enjoy his energetic little brother.  I don't know if they will have a close relationship, mostly due to personality rather than age gap.  I have other friends who have kids closer together and they don't get along at all due to personalities that are like oil and water. 

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My youngest is an 8 year lagger. The relations between the older kids and the younger are priceless.

 

While there is a bit of stretching for me to cover age appropriate activities on each end of the age spectrum, "not getting along" is about the farthest thing I've observed or could imagine in their interactions. Olders adore and mentor the younger, the younger looks up to and adores the olders. It's quite lovely, actually.

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My youngest brother was born when I was ten and it was wonderful. I refer to him as my first child lol. My kids are seven and a half years apart and it is fine. I think the hardest part is going to be when the older one goes off to college. My younger dd will be bereft. We did not think we were going to be able to have a second either but I am really glad we did.

 

And what is wrong with your MIL? She does not want another grandchild? That seems sort of strange to me.

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I haven't read all the other replies, but your MIL has no idea what she is talking about. IME, kids close in age fight waaaay more than kids with an age gap. Kids close in age want the same things, kids far apart don't. I am 10 years older than my brother and we never fought. In fact, I babysat for him a lot and we were pretty close. My sister is only 3 years younger and we fought about everything. Toys, who was going to sit in the front seat, what show to watch on TV. None of that was an issue with my brother. There is a competition aspect with sibs that are close in age that isn't there when the gap gets bigger.

 

I don't really agree with that. Me and my sister might get along great, but me and my little brothers who are 9 years younger used to fight like crazy. They were annoying little pests in my mind and drove me crazy, that being said, I love them like crazy and now that we are all adults, we get along pretty good. Part of the problem with them is that I had too much responsibility with helping with them and I think it put too much strain on my immature self. My oldest two are 14months apart and they are best friends. I could count on my hand the number of fights they have had.

 

Really good relationships, regardless of age, are half the parents and half the individual personalities of the kids. The years difference will change whether the relationship is a buddy thing or and I'm looking out for you sort of thing, but a healthy relationship can be formed regardless of age difference.

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@OP   I read the first part of your post and did not read any of the replies, because I don't want them to influence my reply to your post.

 

My DD is 13. She has a half brother who will be 30 next July. They get along very well. :-)

 

I believe you should tell your Mother In Law to mind her own business and to drop dead (I chose my words carefully, to keep my language clean, because this is a family forum). 

 

What you and your DH do or do not do is your business, not hers.  GL

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