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Family Planning and Facing my Future

Family Planning. I cannot believe I am using this term.
Just a few years ago the thought of planning out my family felt like something that would never happen. I have never been one of those girls who loved babies or felt their maternal clock ticking. I was scared of pregnancy, confused by parenthood, and thought children were annoying. I am just being honest!
Yet, here I am. A few years down the road after the most beautiful accidental pregnancy, totally enamored by my child, and loving being a momma. Did I ever expect to enjoy all of this? I don’t know. I guess it all seemed overwhelming. A part of me is happy we got pregnant so fast, on accident. I don’t know how long I would have put of parenting out of fear.
The question keeps coming at us, “when are you going to have your next?”. I know everyone is well-intentioned. I think about it, too. It is funny, this time around I do want to plan it. Unlike last time, where we just went with the flow of things and embraced uncertainty, a part of me wants to experience the joy of seeing the positive sign on the stick and feeling complete excitement! With that comes trepidation, too. I have seen so many friends I love struggle with getting pregnant. A part of me is scared that if I am excited and ready to have a baby that it won’t happen in my timeline, and that it will break my heart. Especially if it doesn’t happen.
All these things are totally out of my control. Baby making is a miracle. I know how it happens, of course, but am mystified by how completely beautiful and outside of us the whole thing is.
So, we’ve put the question on the table and have come up with some ideas. Honestly, I am excited but also nervous to be pregnant again someday. If it happens. Which I hope it will.
Where do you stand on the whole family planning idea? Do you think it is good to plan your family out, or better to go with the flow? What have you seen happen to friends and family? Do you ever get nervous about putting it off too long, or trying to be so structured things don’t go your way?
I guess, over time, I have come to embrace the idea of planning for my family. While I know it is not going to happen on my timeline or exactly how I want it to go, I love the idea of deciding with my husband when we are ready for our next and beginning to prepare and pray for our next child. It will be fun to have our own little secret (for a while), and goal. I will love to include Lillian in the process.
Which is the interesting part.
Apparently staggering children is of pretty hot debate. I have friends who swear their kids have to be two years apart so they can grow and experience the same stages of life together, and then I have friends who say it is better to have the kids further apart (for the parents’ sanity). I don’t know where I stand, because I think both have pros and cons. At this point, Lillian will most likely be at least three years older than her younger sibling. That is almost an entire high school education away from her younger sibling. I know they will be experiencing many different stages at the same time, and for a while, might not see eye to eye. I do, however, think love and upbringing can still foster a strong and united sibling relationship- no matter what the age gap.
Friends, give me your input! I am interested in all this family planning talk.
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  • Reply Megan

    I love this post. My husband and I just got married in September, but we’ve been talking about family planning for a couple of years already. I think I want to plan out the children after number 1, but I have mixed feelings on the first pregnancy. I want to plan it so I don’t accidentally bring any harm to the baby by eating/drinking what I’m not supposed to, and also so I can plan it around the rest of my grad program. But I also want it to be a surprise so we can just jump into it together with excitement, and then I don’t have to feel pressure to pick the “perfect” time to have a baby. Not to mention being terrified that maybe it can’t happen, just like you mentioned.
    It doesn’t help that my grad program is in human development, and everyone has opinions on sibling spacing and child care and everything else that they try and back up with research! What happened to being able to make private decisions?
    Wishing you all the best as you navigate these questions 🙂

    October 24, 2013 at 9:42 pm
  • Reply Ariane

    I’ve done a good amount of research on this and the optimum child spacing for 1st child’s development is at least three years apart, for mom’s and 2nd baby’s health is ~3-5 years apart. More than six years apart will result in feeling like they weren’t raised together.
    I am a romantic and like the idea of it happening on its own, like not scheduling or TTC. But I definitely plan very specifically for the time frame that it could happen. If you don’t have the “fever” it’s probably not the right time 🙂

    October 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm
  • Reply Susannah

    Nate and I are thinking we will do family planning but also leave it in God’s hands. We’re going to start trying in a few months but know that God does what he does when it comes to babymaking. We also really want our kids to be about two years apart but, like I said, God does what he does… I do think it’s up to each parent how they want to do it.

    October 24, 2013 at 11:30 pm
  • Reply Gina @ Holding the Distaff

    I love having my kids close in age – it’s a lot of fun. BUT to be honest, it also has run me ragged, physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s one of those issues where there really isn’t a right or wrong – it’s very personal for you and your family. And, as you noted, it sometimes doesn’t matter what we plan because God turns it all upside down anyway. I think Proverbs 16:9 helps. Good luck!

    October 25, 2013 at 12:02 am
  • Reply Tiffany H.

    what a great post! With our first we tried and tried with no success and I think it came down to stress preventing it for us. In so many areas. Finally we got pregnant and we knew that we would in no way hinder the next pregnancy from happening. We were nervous it would take just as long. Well surprise..our daughters will be 18 months apart. We are nervous but I know this is the best way for us. I have a feeling all of our children will be close in age.

    October 25, 2013 at 12:09 am
  • Reply Hayley!

    We are in the exact same boat right now! Probably because the kids are so close in age, but we have gone the route of “planning” this time because we didn’t get to plan last time. I can SO relate to wanting the excitement of seeing that plus sign and having my heart leap for joy and praise God for his provisions. There are so many things that we weren’t able to experience the first time around, that I can’t wait to experience with our next child. I have always wanted my kids about 2 years apart (me and my little sis are 18 months apart), but I have learned that things don’t always go as planned, and it looks like Eli will be closer to 3 as well! Do what’s right for your family! I have learned that the whole “planning” thing is a balance between YOUR wants/needs and faith in the plans that the Lord has for your family! 🙂

    October 25, 2013 at 12:24 am
  • Reply Life with Amberly

    It’s funny because my husband wants to have them as close together as possible and I like the idea of almost three years between each. I guess we’ll see how it goes right?!

    October 25, 2013 at 12:55 am
  • Reply Lauren @ My Passion Journey

    My husband is one of three and they are all three years apart. He likes it because for the most part each kid had a sibling in the same school for most of their growing up years.

    October 25, 2013 at 1:04 am
  • Reply Lydia @ This Marine Wife

    This is a really good and interesting post! I came from a family of five siblings, and we are all 2-3 years apart. My parents sort of planned that, and I think it worked out pretty well. We are all very close! As for my husband and I, we tried the planning thing, but God proved to us that He had something else in mind. Our original plan was to wait three years before even trying, but we became pregnant with our first surprise baby shortly after marriage. The next one was planned, but we went through a couple losses before finally having a live delivery. The little one I’m currently pregnant with was another surprise baby, even though we had planned to wait at least 1-2 years. So, all that to say that you can plan, but sometimes God throws those plans out the window. 🙂

    October 25, 2013 at 1:52 am
  • Reply changeismyonlyconstant

    This definitely seems to be a common topic in our house these days. The whole issue of when to start our family. Of course, we would love to plan it all out, but by our timeline it would have already happened. We have waited a bit to try. Honestly, I’m kind of nervous. I was told when I was 18 that I may never have children on my own and may have infertility issues due to some health stuff I have. At 29 now, it scares me that when we are ready and trying, we won’t be successful. I long to be a mother tho! And that clock is definitely ticking!

    October 25, 2013 at 3:11 am
  • Reply Wifessionals

    I am so excited to see how things work out for you! Me and my sister are three and a half years apart – and she is my best friend…she used to annoy me in high school but now she is one of the most important people in my life. I actually always thought I wanted babies 18 mos – 2 yr apart, but now I wouldn’t mind focusing on just Rilynn and it being closer to 3 (:

    October 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm
  • Reply Holly Higgins

    My oldest was planned and my youngest was a surprise. We weren’t planning on trying for another baby until E was around 18 months and surprise! I found out I was pregnant when he was 13 months. While having two kids less than two years apart can be incredibly stressful and wasn’t something I initially wanted, I now wouldn’t have it any other way. C came into our lives right when she was supposed to and has been a complete blessing in disguise.

    October 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm
  • Reply Stephanie Owen

    I’m kind of in the same boat as you were! Me and my husband got married this past May, and the thought of having a baby seriously scares me a bit. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but at the moment I can’t really picture myself there. My husband is four years older then me, has a career, and is finished with college, so his idea of starting a family begins in the next few years. I on the other hand, have a year of college left, and really want to teach for a few years before thinking of getting pregnant. I really like the idea of family planning, but I’ve also heard it is difficult to accomplish. Who knows, God works in mysterious ways :). If I were to become a mom within the next few years, I know everything would work out in the long run. Good luck with everything!

    October 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm
  • Reply Nicole [Haus of Harnois]

    I’m a lot like you. Our little is only 3.5 months old right now, but my husband and I have been going back and forth about how far apart. Sometimes I think two years sounds perfect and other times I think that seems way too quick between kids just by how quickly time has flown by already. AHHHH. It’s hard stuff.

    October 29, 2013 at 11:21 pm
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