Infertility, maternal age and child spacing

My husband of four years and I just had our first child. Because of fertility issues, it took us 3 years to conceive and carry our child to delivery. We miscarried our first two children.

Unfortunately, NFP isn’t an option for us because all my cycles are anovulatory. NFP specialists recommended we seek Catholic-approved fertility treatments, which we have. Once my cycles were induced, we were able to apply NFP principles to track my induced cycles. It was through this process that all three of our children were conceived.

I am 31 years old and our son is 4 months of age. I am worried that with the combination of my age and my track record of anovulatory cycles that having more children may be difficult.

My question regards child spacing. It is obvious that I will need to revisit my fertility specialist to induce cycles once we are ready to conceive again. It is also possible that it may take a number of years to have another child, based upon my past experiences. However, having children who are spaced very close together is also something we have to think about.

In your opinions or experiences, what are the benefits and challenges of having children spaced closely together? With my biological clock ticking and with the added challenges of fertility issues, we’re tempted to starting actively trying once again.

Thanks for your input (and prayers).

My daughter is 16 months old and I am due in May…They will be only 20 months apart. My cousins were 15 months. Our neighbors kids are 20 months too. It’s actually more common than you think.

I was really freaked out when I first found out I was pregnant…REALLY freaked out. (Lots of yelling at my husband…in my defense we were in the middle of a MAJOR move, and my 1st trimesters are HORRIBLE). I have a feeling the first year is going to be a little tough, but after that I think it is going to be great. They will be close in age so planning vacations, schooling etc. will be easier, they will be doing lots of the same things and hopefuly will be friends.

I’m actually really glad they are not 3 years apart, because two friends did that route and the older children seriously regressed, including going back to diapers, bottles…one even refused to walk.

I figure by about 2 months into it, my daughter will have forgotten what life without the baby was like. I will warn you that being pregnant with a toddler is not easy and exhausting.

Our DD1 and DS are almost 3 years apart, which I found to be almost perfect spacing. DD1 wasn’t jealous of DS at all and it was great.

Our DS and DD2 are 17 months apart. When we found out we were pregnant with DD2, DS was 8 months old (we got pregnant on my first cycle after stopping breastfeeding). We were pretty surprised considering how long it took to conceive DS. I was really concerned about how I would be able to BF while making sure a 17 month old wasn’t getting into everything and was just nervous in general about the spacing. As it turned out, it was much easier than I anticipated. Now, I don’t know if that’s because of my kids’ temperments (pretty easy going) or what. DS wasn’t jealous of DD2 at all and DD1 (who was 4 when DD2 was born) was really able to help me – grabbing tissues for me, playing with DS, etc.

I will say that going from 1 to 2 kids was WAY tougher for me than going from 2 to 3 kids. Sounds weird but that’s how it was for me. :shrug: I think by the third you’re used to juggling 2 so it’s not so tough to add another!

The biggest challenge of having them spaced closely is a physical one – I couldn’t carry both of them in from the car at the same time. Going grocery shopping is tough unless the store has the carts with the seats on the back (because otherwise, there’s no room for the food). Going anywhere – including Mass – is challenging, because unless DH (or someone else) is with me, I just don’t have enough hands to handle them.

Saying a prayer for your family. :crossrc: Hope you hang around here at CAF – there are a lot of great, encouraging people here. :slight_smile:

We had our children quite close together; an average of 18 months apart. This was intentional, and we used NFP to space our children as well as breastfeeding.
The reason we wanted our four children close together is so that they could be very close playmates. And so they were, and still are! :smiley:
They love nothing better than getting together as a family, now with their children! They have always wanted to be together. They are all best friends, basically. Even go on vacation together!
It was pretty active in our home while they were toddlers…at times I felt overwhelmed. I did persuade my DH that a housekeeper was necessary, and we cut back on expenses everywhere else to make sure that we hired a housekeeper. Best decision we ever made! It really isn’t that expensive, and it is worth every penny.
My DH is much older than I am, and we decided that our fourth would be our last because DH was closing in on 40. Seems silly now!!! :rolleyes:
We often mention the fact that we should have had at least 2-3 more children. They were, and are, so fulfilling and joyful.
My advice? Have as many children as you can reasonably have. You never regret it. Plan your schedule carefully, and how you will handle various things. Housework, childcare, etc.
Having lots of children is awesome.

My brother and I are 20 months apart, and we grew up having a very close relationship. I always felt very sorry for my friends whose siblings were 3 or more years apart from them because not a single one of them ever felt emotionally close to their siblings, not as children and not now as adults. They truly missed out on something special.

I plan on spacing my children very close together, maybe even as close as 13 or 14 months and certainly no more than 2 years. It will be hard having multiple very children running around for the first few years, but I know the reward of seeing my kids have a deep and loving bond with each other will be worth it.

I agree, having lots of kids is awesome!

I’m the oldest of 5 kids. The age gaps are (about) 3 years, 3 years, 22 months, 3 years. Despite the fact that my youngest sibling is 11 years younger than me, we’re very close. I just wanted to point out that even if kids aren’t spaced very close together, they can still be great friends and love spending time together – we do! :smiley:

I know my situation is not that common, but when I was your age I only had two of my six children. After a 7 year gap, we had four more kids at age 37, 39, 42, and 44. You say 31 is getting up there, but for me, we were just beginning. Do you have a reason not to be and older mom?

I have five children, and we are actively trying for a sixth. The gaps are 18 months, 15 months, 22 months, 22 months, and if we conceive soon, about 24 months. My oldest is now eight. This last child is the only one we’ve planned.

My kids play very well together, things are easier now than a few years ago, as the older kids are better able to help out (and three are now at school).

The second and third are the only boys (15 months apart), and they are best friends - totally different in personality, but inseparable. My oldest girl loves to help the youngest, and the two youngest girls look like becoming best friends as well. Any combination of kids works, and there’s almost always a playmate. However, it’s hard to get someone to agree to mind all of them, and we sometimes have to drive halfway around the country to drop off children before we can have a night out.

The kids know how to share because that’s how it has to be with lots of closely spaced siblings. They’re all interested in similar things, so outings are fun for all. Our house is loud and sometimes chaotic, but it’s lots of fun and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Best of all, we always have a child who is about the same age as any of our friends’ kids! :smiley:

My two (one girl, one boy) are 16 months apart. I was unable to have any more children and I would have loved to have had at least two more. But - they were close and remain close as adults (they are now 33 and nearly 32). My DH was 5 years older than his only sibling, a brother. They had nothing in common until they were both well into adulthood. I would have hated that. I am the oldest of 4 children ( sister 18 months younger, step-brother 6 months younger and another sister 5 years younger). Again - the close in age ones were very close to me growing up and my relationship with my youngest sister was only after we both were married. With siblings close in age, it seemed the circle of friends was very over-lapping and made us friends we would not have met otherwise. As a matter of fact - my DH was a friend of my step-brother!

Big families are wonderful. Close in age kids are great. I wouldn’t do it any other way.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and thoughts. Your stories are very reassuring. After discussing this more with my husband, we decided to go for it and see our fertility specialist again and begin trying. We’d appreciate your prayers.

LidiaPurple…to answer your question…I would love to be an “older” mom and we’d also love to have a very large family. Unfortunately, my medical history isn’t all that promising (I stopped having periods at age 20). Although, God has and can do anything. We’re very open to life, but have to be more aggressive when planning our family by seeking out fertility assistance. Thank God there are a number of Church-approved methods available to us.

Pros of having them close together:

Getting all the “hard stuff” over with sooner, like sleepless nights, potty training, etc.

Having them entertain one another as playmates

Having them in school not too far apart, so that you don’t have 4 kids in 4 different schools (One in preschool, one in elementary school, one in middle, one in high school, phew!)

Having the energy of a younger parent when you have younger children

sharing bedrooms, clothes and toys, etc, if necessary, is easier with children closer in age

Having the youngest one start college while you and your hubby are still young enough to enjoy travel, and time together as a couple on your own again!!! :smiley:

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