The 2 Year Gap. To the Day.
Sam Wilson has a perfect two-year gap. But like any gap, it took a while to get it perfect.
The day we went to the gynaecologist to announce our second pregnancy, she did a few calculations and then almost wet herself.
“How did you do it?” she laughed. “I know you were planning a two-year gap… but, to the day? What, do you have a special bi-yearly sex date?”
Andreas looked at me, slightly unsettled.
“We did say 2 year gap, didn’t we?” he asked me.
I patted his knee comfortingly.
“I know we did, honey,” I reassured him. “It’s just not everyone has German engineering precision when it comes to baby manufacture. Remember the mantra – you aren’t odd, you’re special.”On-coming train
But while all might have been on schedule, planning wise, emotionally… it was another story.
I had made all the usual Superwoman mistakes with my first kid:
• I gave birth to Josef (or Mr Fantastic as we called him then), on a Friday after completing a column that morning and handed in my next article that Monday. I took more of a maternity moment, than maternity leave.
• I continued to work full time, without help, from home… thinking that even if I was a bit distracted I couldn’t miss out on these ‘precious first years with my son.” I perfected the one-handed, breastfeeding type and worked regularly ‘til 2 or 3 in the morning.
• I began to really resent my husband, and his single job out of the home.
• Not being able to handle all this was, obviously, a failure of planning and energy on my part.
I know. Stupid, ne? But frighteningly common.
Unsurprisingly, by the time I fell pregnant with Benj, my second son, I was a wreck – exhausted, depressed and so stressed you could have bounced me off a wall. While my heart really, really wanted another child, my whole body was flailing in horror at the idea of the oncoming train. This time I knew what to expect. I also knew I wasn’t ready.
I was so scared. Thinking back to that time, I really want to go back and give me a hug. And tell me to take a nap. I wish I could have asked someone, at the time, to do just that.Picking myself up
And I was right. After Benj was born, I became clinically depressed… and it took years of therapy (both pills and talking) to get properly happy and, well, rested and kind enough to myself to really enjoy parenting.My boys
Looking back though, the whole experience was the making of me. And my sons… well, they are best friends. They have never had any sibling rivalry, sleep snuggled together more often than not and, on Christmas and birthdays can be heard exclaiming “Look what I got for us!” We tried to keep their rooms and toys separate, but they insisted on sharing everything.
I love and am in awe of my best friend sons. I am glad I could give them that gift. Would I do it again, knowing that it cost me so much? Of course, in half a heartbeat.