Having a Large Age Gap Between Childrenby Sophie Gillum-Webb
When I was younger, I had a vision of how my life was going to be. I had a plan — a series of events that would unfold, revealing this idyllic family life. How wrong was I!! I was naive, and I assumed that life followed a path like in a fairy story and I would meet my prince we would get married buy a house, have wonderfully well-behaved babies, and all live happily ever after. Ok, I wasn't quite that naive, but I did think we'd get the house, get married and have babies in that exact order. It turns out that the Universe had a very different plan, and when I found out I was expecting back in 2010, I was utterly shocked. My husband was still finding his feet in his career, I was in a dead-end job trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and our finances were suffering as every penny had gone towards the deposit for the house we were buying.
We embraced our situation, and although money was tight sometimes and we were still struggling to find our way in the dark, we loved being parents to our son Henry. More children were always on the cards, and it was never the plan to stop at just one but time rolled on at quite a pace and life just seemed to happen. When Henry started school, I feared that we had missed the boat with having another child, and the age gap between the two would be too large. Our family dynamic worked so well with us as a family of three, did I want to turn that around by adding in an extra person? It's hard to describe, but our family felt incomplete, like I knew in my heart that we weren't entirely done yet.
When I fell pregnant with our second child in 2017, I was overjoyed, but I couldn't shift the apprehension I felt around the age gap. Henry was thrilled to learn about the new baby, and he spent the lead up to the birth counting down the days, but I worried that things would change when the reality set in.
Everybody I knew with children had small age gaps between them. They would wax lyrical about how close their bond was and how they were amazing friends. With a seven-year age gap, would my children get that opportunity? Was the gap too big?
When Hugo was born, Henry instantly doted on him, but I was nervous that the honeymoon period would end, but if I'm honest it never has. Even though the boys have seven years between them, they are the best of friends. This age gap works for our family and us, it means that when Hugo goes to bed, I can give Henry some one on one time without interruption. It also means when Henry is at school, Hugo gets my undivided attention too. They don't argue over toys, and in some ways, they are both spoilt with each other's affection. Hugo is most excited to see Henry, and likewise, on the school run, it's now Hugo that gets a fuss first. There are positives to each different age gap, and I think it’s more about what works for you as an individual family. Looking back now, I wouldn't change the age gap at all; it works perfectly for us. I couldn't imagine our family any other way.