My kids are only 13 months apart. At first it was hard, but now I'm grateful I had them close together.

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My kids are only 13 months apart. At first it was hard, but now I'm grateful I had them close together.
The author's first son was 5 months old when she got pregnant again with her second.Courtesy of the author
  • I gave birth to my second boy when my first was just 13 months old.
  • It took me a while to get pregnant with my first child, and quickly got pregnant withy my second.
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There are varied opinions about the so-called "perfect" age gap between your children, but I can only speak from experience of having two boys born 13 months apart.

When I tell people, there is usually a sharp intake of breath and a look of pity, but I would absolutely recommend a small age gap. Yes, it was scary and incredibly challenging initially. However, they are now 9 and 10, and I wouldn't change a thing. The age gap turned from exhausting to amazing.

I got pregnant again when my son was 5 months old

It took a while to get pregnant with my first son, James, and the birth was traumatic. He got stuck back-to-back, and after an epidural, endless pushing, and what felt like days of labor, he was finally delivered via forceps, resulting in an episiotomy and a significant tear.

I didn't think about having a second child as I was having birth counseling and focused on being a new mom. However, nature had other ideas, and when James was 5 months old, I was pregnant again. I cannot explain the fear when I found out. I think I'd known for a couple of weeks, but I was in denial until a pregnancy test confirmed it.

My husband was incredibly supportive while I went into panic mode. I was petrified of physically giving birth again, and the prospect of having a newborn again (and, let's face it, hardly any sleep) freaked me out.

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I had an elective C-section for the birth of my second son, Oliver. James was 13 months old, and even at that young age, he was not impressed. He gave me the cold shoulder and refused to look at his baby brother; he'd gone from having me full-time to sharing me with the newcomer.

At first, it was hard

I won't pretend that the first year of having two under 14 months was easy. I became militant in routine and tried to get them to do as much together as possible. But anyone with children knows you can't always force a routine, especially with feeding and sleeping.

Naps were a monumental feat. I'd spend ages trying to get one off to sleep and creep between rooms, trying to settle each one while the other screamed louder for my attention.

But on the days they slept simultaneously, I experienced absolute joy and used to trot downstairs for a hot coffee and a much-needed hour alone. Those small wins were so satisfying.

Also, I didn't know any different. I only knew how to deal with two boys in diapers at the same time, both with pacifiers and unable to speak. I think that ignorance about not knowing any other age gap helped me through those early days.

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I'm grateful I had them close in age

I am now hugely grateful that I have my children so close together, and it's been a blessing as they've grown older. When we go on holiday, they are happy playing together and don't need other children or expect us to do everything with them. If we have events they find boring, they always have each other.

My husband and I work a lot during the school holidays, and we've had to put them into clubs. Clubs can be daunting if a child doesn't know anyone else, but because they go together and tend to be in the same age group, they always have someone to navigate new situations with.

It also means that they're interested in many of the same things. So, it's easy to find things to do when I'm doing something with them, like a day trip or activity. I think I'd be at a loss to know how to handle a significant age gap.

Plus, they are best friends. This may be down to luck and the fact that their personalities are very different, which makes them compatible, but I know they always have each other, which is very comforting for a parent.

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