The Perfect Number/Age Gap/Time/Age etc etc: Is There Such a Thing When it Comes to Babies?

Don’t tell my younger daughters, but I sometimes question their very existence. I wonder whether we should perhaps have had just one child and, by nature of being born first, as much as by being who she is, that only child would be Lara. Not least because she is such a ‘mini me’ in looks, opinions, attitude, temperament, everything. Much longed-for, and long anticipated, Lara is everything I expected and hoped my daughter to be. You see she has been thought of for the last thirty or more years, my Lara, the little girl I dreamt of and longed for for years.

So I do find myself wondering if sticking at one would have been better or easier, especially on our not so good days. Whether having one to pour all our love, aspirations, knowledge, and hopes into wouldn’t have been better. And certainly only having one to deal with during times of ill health would be preferable. In this pondering, I (conveniently) forget that I inherently believe that only children have a bit of a rum deal, and unless surrounded by other children, be they relatives or no, they tend to suffer for being onlys.

Of course, I’m not the first parent to question whether I have had too few or too many children; had them too close together or too far apart; had them too early in life or too late. Indeed, I have yet to come across any parent who believes they got it ‘just right’ – in any aspect of their parenting!

My thoughts are, however, only fleeting and when Lara and I return from our much-cherished and carefully scheduled one-on-one time, we are both desperate to catch up with everyone else. And when I see how my three beautiful babies interact with one another and the love and laughter they share, I don’t forget how we’ve done things for a moment. I love that they have each other and I’m delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to see them grow together.

A story I once wrote featured a rather Victorian scene where a mother and father gazed at one another across the happy heads of their assembled gaggle of children, and smiled. That’s kind of how I see Steve and I. As hard as things sometimes are, especially the dull stuff like illness, money, cleaning schedules and life admin, here we are, smiling at each other over the heads of our brood.

My life plan in early teenage-hood involved having seven children, a number and idea heavily influenced by The Waltons, no doubt. That number has evolved downwards over the years to a (slightly) more manageable four or five. But all along it centred on a core group of four beautiful little girls, my March sisters, my Grand Duchesses, my OTMA, and thankfully I’m well on the way to that particular dream. People often ask us if we are hoping the next one will be a boy, erm nope, four girls please! Here’s hoping...

As for the perfect number of children, had I met Steve a decade or more earlier, we might well have had seven or more by now. I love it all, from being pregnant to giving birth, and everything after; to me being a mother is the most wonderful thing ever. So, what’s the perfect number? Whatever you want. Happy, healthy and loved is all they need; whether you have one or fifteen babies. And as for the perfect time, age or circumstance; well, I’m not sure there is one, is there?

Enjoy your babies!

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  1. It surely would have been easier with one than with three, but we Mums have big hearts, and there's enough love for all. I so wish now I had a third child. And as much I loved the idea of having a girl, a third boy would have been as perfect.

    1. On the worst SPD days I do truly wish I had just Lara to look after, but of course I wouldn't be without the others too! It's hard when things don't work out as we might want, but your boys are fabulous.

  2. I'm the youngest girl of 7girls2boys#Irish families.I think if you're doing it for one might as well be for9.The more the merrier๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ’ผ๐ŸŽ ๐Ÿšฃ

    1. Definitely! We already do hand-me-downs, re-using, sharing, and upscaling everything - especially food, and that's with three, nine would be crazy but fun!

  3. Love this post, and it is all oh so true.
    I had 3 of my own but wanted more, I wanted 4 each 18 months apart from the others, well 1 and 2 happened that way, No3 took 4 yrs and 9 months and we had given up trying and were just happy to settle for the 2. By that time my marriage was rocky I decided maybe another was not a good idea and went back on the pill....and promptly fell pregnant. I have no regrets over having him, love him as much as the first 2. But that age gap was quite nice as the older 2 were able to love and adore him and interact with him in a way they would not have done when younger.
    Would 1 have been easier? I will never know cos I did not have 1. funnily enough when growing up I always wanted to be an only child as our house was always noisy and chaotic and I had a best friend who was an only and I loved going to her house cos it was quiet and peaceful, but then she loved coming to ours cos it was noisy and chaotic.....the grass is always greener.
    I have to say I love the bond between siblings that only siblings can have, cousins are not the same as siblings.
    What is the right age? I started at 18 cos I wanted to be a mum, but my 2nd born was 35 this month and is considering starting a family about now.....again there is no right or wrong.

  4. I'm the youngest of 10 and all my elder siblings had their children when I was 11 years and under.I was the last to have mine,firstly only going to have 2 then after 7 years decided to have another. He was lovely and again I thought that was it but in my mind I had decided maybe we could afford another,so 6 years after and an extension on the house we completed our family of 6. My hubby was an only child and he really wanted a brother or sister but because I had loads if these I was used to having a big family so there was no way I was stopping at 1.i have never regretted adding to our family but how our life would be different if we had 1 as eldest is 20 and moved out so we would be alone and our home wouldn't be full of laughter


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