Seven months after giving birth to my first child, I found myself in a déjà vu situation: staring at two pink lines on a pregnancy test. A quick trip to the doctor (“What are you doing back here so soon?”) confirmed that my children will be 15 months apart.
You might as well pin the scarlet “T” to my chest now. “T” for “Two Under Two.”
While the reactions of the rest of the world have run the gamut of shocked to appalled to unabashedly (sort of creepily) fascinated, I’m surprisingly OK with it. Sure, if we’re being honest, my first words to my husband when I found out were “[email protected]%&! We’re in trouble now.” But I’ve come to the realization that this is not, in fact, the end of the world. I’m actually getting kind of excited. If nothing else, I’m confident-ish that it won’t be as terrible as everyone thinks (stay tuned for an update in six months).
One thing I’ve definitely noticed, though, is that people are extremely opinionated on the subject of child spacing.
From what I can tell, you are either in the “Just knock them out and be done with it” camp, or the complete opposite “I will never have another child until the first can change the diapers of the second.” Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, there are six things you should absolutely NEVER say to a soon-to-be Mom of two under two.
“Was this planned?”
First of all, this is never appropriate to ask any pregnant woman, regardless of circumstances. Not only is it rude, it’s none of your bees wax! Obviously I’m choosing to keep this child, so why would it matter if the pregnancy were planned or not? Does that change your feelings about my pregnancy? Will you be less happy for me—or alternatively, think I’m less nuts— if I tell you “No.”?
“Two under two… you’re going to be really tired now!”
I’m already bleepin’ tired. Soooo tired. I don’t really see this changing anytime soon. The way I see it, if my son were, say, four years old right now, he’d probably be whining about how all Mommy does is lie on the couch while he wants to go outside and play. At least at this age he won’t remember the mornings I plunked him down in the Pack n’ Play to entertain himself while I crawled back into bed for “just five more minutes.”
“Your poor body. It’s probably hard doing this all over again so soon.”
Why thank you for your unsolicited concern about the welfare of my uterus. I’m sure that if it could speak, it would be scolding me for forcing it to host a new resident so soon after evicting the prior one. Good thing reproductive organs can’t talk.
But in all seriousness, way to make a girl feel bad! You think I don’t already know that the potential risks of spacing pregnancies too close together include premature birth, placental abruption, low birth weight, congenital disorders, and schizophrenia? Believe me, I’ve done the research, and I’m freaked out about it, too. But what’s done is done, and why in the world would you want to make an exhausted, hormonal, already paranoid Mom even more paranoid? What good can possibly come of that?
“Oh my God, I would never have another child until the first was potty trained.”
Look, I’m already full steam ahead on the baby train. There’s no getting off now. Fortunately for me, this means that everything is still pretty fresh (everything that didn’t get swallowed up in the mental fog that permeated the first three months of Kiddo #1’s life). I (mostly) have the hang of (some) things. But everyone keeps talking about the diapers. SO MANY DIAPERS. Umm. Right. I already change a sh*t ton of diapers (no pun intended). I don’t know if it’s just me, but diapers really aren’t the hardest part of motherhood in my book.
Besides, let’s look on the bright side: maybe this way I can potty train them both together! Chugga chugga choo choo!
“Haven’t you ever heard of Irish Twins???”
Yes, I have heard of Irish Twins, and no, my children will miss that designation by a full three months, thank you.
“Won’t you feel guilty that you haven’t spent enough time with #1 before #2 comes along?”
I am a firm believer that in giving my son a sibling, he will have a friend for life. Or an enemy for life. A frenemy for life, if you will. My younger sister and I are 19 months apart. I don’t remember life without her, and I don’t feel emotionally scarred or deprived of my parents’ attention because of it. In fact, she was a LOT more fun to play with than they were. She worshipped me and did everything I told her to do. It was great. Until we hit our teens and started fighting over clothes. But… that’s what wine is for. For me, obviously. Not them.
When it comes down to it, there isn’t much you can tell me at this point that I haven’t already considered.
I’ve wrung my hands about how stressful it’s going to be at first, how I’m going to have to balance the needs of a toddler with those of a newborn, how hard it’s going to be to keep my marriage—and any semblance of intimacy with my husband—intact.
I am entitled to these fears and anxieties, and I’m also entitled to not have to listen to you repeat them to me. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is very simple: when I choose to have children and how far apart they are in age is NO ONE else’s business but mine.
And if the urgent need to express your opinion suddenly overwhelms you, please feel free to channel that into a trip to Target, which has an ample supply of wine and chocolate… of which I will be needing lots in the near future.
Related: A Tribute to the Second Child