My son will be 21 months old when our second child arrives, inshallah (god willing). A few people have asked “wow, Faiz is so young, was this planned”?? Yes, it was. My husband and I always discussed having multiple children. There are a few reasons that we decided that now was the right time to bring in our second child.
- Small sibling age gap: I always wanted kids close in age. My sister and I were 3 1/2 years apart, and although we are best friends now, it required me to move to college to strengthen our friendship. It’s not a bad age difference, but I knew that if I could help it, I would like a smaller gap. The WHO does recommend a two-year-gap in between pregnancies, so that a woman’s body can fully recover from the previous pregnancy and childbirth. I would have been open to waiting around that time length as well, but after speaking with my doctor, I felt ready.
- Soak in & knock out the baby life: I figured if I am already in the weeds of it (etc. carrying a diaper bag, pushing around a stroller, basing my life off of nap/feeding/diaper schedules), I might as well just knock it out and do it together. I feel like it would be harder for me to start over in a few years, if I became accustomed to a normal human life again. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the baby life. My husband and I are soaking in the moments and acknowledge on a regular basis how sad we are at how fast it is all going, but it comes with its sleep deprivation and unique nuances.
- Maternal Age: Did you know that the age of 35 is considered ‘advanced maternal age’ or a ‘geriatric pregnancy’? That is insane to me, but biology is biology. Becoming pregnant and managing a healthy pregnancy gets harder with time, so if I choose to have a third (or even a fourth, who knows), I would love to have that option and not be limited because I waited a little too long. When I was thinking about getting pregnant with Faiz, I spoke with my OB about my nerves about being able to get pregnant. She told me “If you have concerns that it might be an issue, don’t worry too much because we live in a time with a lot of treatments and research, more than our mothers generations. However, if you are financially able to, have found the partner you want to have a child with, and are in a general position to be able to nurture a child, then why wait? That way, if there are issues, you can address them in the least expensive/non-invasive ways”. It was such direct and straightforward advice, especially coming from a doctor. And those words echoed in my ears when it came to thinking about our second child as well.
- COVID: A lot of other pregnant moms really hate the term ‘COVID-baby’. I’m okay with it, because it is what it is. If COVID hadn’t happened, there is a good chance we would have ignored all the other reasons we wanted to have another child. We had just moved to London, we had trips planned every month of the year, and I was preparing to begin my job hunt. And then COVID hit, and I decided I would be staying at home with Faiz, rather than risk exposure to non-essential people like a daycare or a nanny. And we decided that if I was already at home with one kid, taking time off from my public health career, I might as well do the same with the second child. Yes, a COVID pregnancy has definitely been unique and substantially less excited than my non-COVID pregnancy. I feel fortunate that this is my second, so I am not as nervous/anxious as I was the first time around, when everything is so new. All in all, COVID quarantining is not too bad when my pregnancy fatigue makes me want to hibernate anyways.
- Gut Feeling: Most importantly, I just knew. I adore my son, and my gut feeling was that we are ready to add in another baby. Do I think it is going to be insanely hard and exhausting and impact our travel plans? 100%. But am I so excited to watch my babies grow up together, have similar friends, similar stages, etc. My heart has already been full, but when I thought about having our second child sooner than later, I felt a strong sense of yearning. That feeling of yearning has turned into intense excitement – and I know we made the right decision.