I am a mom blessed with two adorable children who have a 2-year age gap (or actually less than that, 1 year and 8 months to be exact). And I have a confession to make, please brace yourselves! Nah! just kidding but please read on.
When I found out I was pregnant with baby no. 2, a month after our firstborn’s first birthday, I cried in the bathroom for a good half an hour. I was that surprise, hehe. I confess that my joy was overshadowed by worries and fears for Jonath, my firstborn. When I got out of the bathroom and went to our room, I saw our Jonath in a deep slumber. I felt guilty. I felt like I deprived him of my 100% love and affection. I felt like I cut too early the best times of his childhood. It was really our plan though not to wait for more than 3 years before having another baby. But I realized we conceived our Claret when our son was only 11 months old, barely able to walk and talk! Way too early, right?
People often teased him for being a “Kuya” at the age of 1 and my heart just bled deep inside. He clearly was still a baby!
Thankfully, both my pregnancies were not delicate so I was still able to attend to Jonath despite my condition. Still, there were times when my heart breaks every time I was too nauseous or tired of playing with him. When he got sick (tigdas hangin), I was ordered by my OB to isolate myself. How could I? I thought to myself. But my mom reminded me that I should also think about the baby in my tummy. Those 6 nights and 7 days of isolation (no hugs, no kisses, no play) were truly a painful ordeal for a mom like me. Later in my pregnancy, I could no longer cradle nor carry him in my arms. He’s heavy for his age. And then I had mini complications (heart rates, amniotic fluid, anemia, pelvic pain, placenta previa and early edema – woah! never thought those were a lot na pala!) dividing my husband’s attention to us. Our weekly visit to the OB meant missing a Saturday fun with him. Horrible, right? But we had to take care of Claret as well.
When I gave birth to Claret, we only stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and 2 days. When we arrived home with her, I remember Jonath being too shy or maybe shocked to look at the baby and since he had a cough that time, he stayed in his Lola’s room for another week. Exactly after a week, he no longer wanted to sleep in another room so he stayed with us though he still had some cough. Thankfully, our baby girl was showing good immunity.
It hurt more on the days that followed especially during my maternity leave. Since I was breastfeeding, I always had in my arms our new baby. He doesn’t get jealous, though, nor did he put up any tantrums (I’m a lucky mom I guess!) but I could see in his eyes the confusion and the longing (now I’m crying remembering those days). He was stripped of the ownership of the duyan. He could no longer lay his head on my arms at night (smell my kilikili) as he tried to sleep because the new baby always demanded my milk. I could no longer attend to him the way I used to do because I was always holding Claret.
At the 6-month mark when our daughter started to sit on her own or in a chair with proper support, things got better and better. The three of us had adjusted. Now, we are playmates as soon as I get home from work. The three of us do things altogether and sometimes with the mister too. Eating, brushing our teeth, stressing ourselves out, even being sick, sometimes. My son no longer looked confused, disoriented, disassociated or longing. I guess within those times, we were able to assure him of our love for him and of his important and irreplaceable place in our family. He felt it. I had one rule with my husband when baby Claret came, and that is to never ever make her a reason why we cannot do something our son requests or wants us to do. Never! And I think it helped, plus all the love and support from our family and all the sleep we forego just to get to spend more time with him. 🙂
I guess I underestimated our little man’s capacity to understand, to feel and to love. I forgot my husband’s role in my pregnancy and parenting too. I doubted the Big Man’s plans for us. That’s where all the stress from worries and fears came from. Honestly, if money and nanny (rhyming!) are not a problem, I would have wanted 3-4 children with close age gaps. But yeah, we’re not so rich pa and yayas are always a problem.
Looking back, of course, there is no ounce of regret. No regret at all. When I think of it, it’s so much happier having 2 little human beings roaming around the house/room, 2 small children hugging me and kissing me very sweetly, 2 kids trying to grab me and so much more. Twice the hardship, oh yes, but it also doubles the bliss and inspiration for me and my husband.
I’m happy with what we have experienced and what we have become as a family because of it. I never thought I could actually love this much as a person until I became a mother. Motherhood makes it possible for me.
P.S. I don’t know what’s the ideal age gap. Medically, I think it’s 2 years. But whatever you choose, I want you to know that it’s gonna be okay. Just trust and pray!