How to cope with problems conceiving a second child?
January 5, 2015 1:31 PM   Subscribe

My lovely toddler's third birthday is rapidly approaching and I am having a hard time with the fact that I haven't managed to get pregnant again. What might help me feel less blue about the fact that he won't have a sibling 2-3 years younger than him (like I had originally hoped)?

Our original plan was to hope for two kids, fairly close together. We delayed trying to conceive when Little Brambory turned one as we'd just moved countries and I was finding it hard. But then we settled in, we both have jobs and friends and all is good...but we've been really trying for nearly a year with absolutely no success.

My gynaecologist suggested we meet in a month or two. There are both positives (I'm still in my very late 20s, I seem to be ovulating, we already managed one pregnancy) and negatives (I have endometriosis), so I'm relatively confident that our chances for conceiving again eventually are relatively good.

However, I feel very blue about the fact that many friends, colleagues, family members (here's looking at you, mother-in-law) and even strangers say things like, 'Isn't it about time for another?' and 'Two years really is the best age gap so that they'll be friends.' I do find myself wondering that maybe we should stop trying if the age gap gets to be too big (too much disruption and angst for our son), and worry a lot that these 'helpful' people are right.

It doesn't help that I'm from a family where we were all quite close together and got on well and my husband and his brother are 5 years apart and hated each other as children.

If you experienced secondary infertility, what helped you not get too freaked out? What might help me stay sane?

(And yes, I feel very lucky to have my son and I do realise that logically having a small gap between children isn't the only, 'right' way. I started charting, but am trying not to get too obsessive.)
posted by brambory to Human Relations (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
IANAParent. You need to ignore the hurtful comments and focus on what you can do at this point. Maybe you'll have another kid with a larger age gap. Maybe your child will be an only. Maybe you'll adopt, or try IVF, or foster a child. In your mind, you must realize that age gaps have very little to do with your children being close, and more to do with them being peers. You don't need a peer sibling to be good friends, as a child or an adult.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:34 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

many friends, colleagues, family members (here's looking at you, mother-in-law) and even strangers say things like, 'Isn't it about time for another?'

These people are well meaning, I'm sure, but they really do need to butt out. Your reproductive status is none of their business.

and 'Two years really is the best age gap so that they'll be friends.'

My nieces are 2-3 years apart and they squabble ferociously and continuously. They are starting to grow out of it. The age gap issue really does depend on the kids' personalities and how you and your partner balance them.
posted by mochapickle at 1:36 PM on January 5, 2015 [15 favorites]

I'm neither a parent nor a person who has siblings, but I here's another point of view. I've mostly noticed anecdotal evidence for the contrary: It seems to me that friends of mine who have siblings tend to get along better, both as adults and as children, if there's a slightly larger, maybe 4-6 year age difference. For what it's worth.
posted by millipede at 1:39 PM on January 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

In your mind, you must realize that age gaps have very little to do with your children being close, and more to do with them being peers. You don't need a peer sibling to be good friends, as a child or an adult.

Precisely correct. I'm 11 years older than my younger brother and we always have been very good friends and remain so. I'm also four years younger than my older brother and we're good friends despite the fact that we actually didn't even live together growing up. I'm sorry that you and your brother disliked each other, but if it makes you feel any better, it probably had little if anything to do with the age gap.

Comments like the ones you're receiving just make me insane, and I truly, honest to god have no goddamned idea where people get the idea that it's acceptable to make them. They're not only intrusive and out of line -- they're just plain wrong. (And FWIW, I disagree that they're "well-meaning.")
posted by holborne at 1:40 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

There are -- or used to be, at least -- several blogs focused on secondary infertility, which might make you feel less alone in your struggles to conceive and/or be OK with not conceiving.

Here's one to start with.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:41 PM on January 5, 2015

My brother is 3 years old than me and my sister is 4 years younger. We're all very close. I'm especially close to my sister (she's very much my best friend). My brother and sister - at 7 years apart - are very close, and though they weren't as close when we were kids just because that's a long time when you're a kid so they didn't relate to each other well, they always liked each other. As children we mostly always got along - I'm not saying there were never tense fighty moments, but by and large we are a very close family that likes each other a lot and hangs out all the time, still as adults.

A good friend of mine is very close with his only sibling, a brother 5 years older. My mom is 9 years younger than her sister and again although they weren't super close growing up (especially since my Aunt moved out at 16, so they only shared a house until my mom was 7) they now speak on the phone all the time even though they live in different countries.

Which is just to say that age is less important for closeness than many other things, like the environment and personalities and a loving family.
posted by brainmouse at 1:41 PM on January 5, 2015

My younger sister and I are 18 months apart.

Close age in siblings is absolutely zero guarantee of friendship, I promise you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:43 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

My youngest sister and I are 10 years apart and I adored having a sibling so much younger. My older sister and I are more typically spaced apart and spent our childhoods in enraged jealousies.

FWIW, "what you had originally hoped" is your idealisation, it isn't reflective of whatever reality doesn't exist yet. There are pros and cons with every spacing; do you know what they are?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:45 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm about 4.5 years older than my brother, and I found it perfect. Out of elementary school (and even in elementary school for him, because we moved a few times) we weren't at the same schools at the same times which meant sibling rivalry was much lessened with peers and teachers. We had a rough few years when I was in high school, but we played together a lot when we were younger and now I consider him one of my best friends and one of the people I'm closest to in the whole world.
posted by jaguar at 1:47 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

My mother-in-law, who had her sons 18 months apart, started nagging me for a second grandchild when the first was three weeks old, so I feel you on that count.

That said, while her boys were fairly close growing up, there were entries in my husband--her older child's--baby book about how much it killed her not to be able to hold her toddler, her baby as much when his little brother came along. Even she admits that the first two years were "horrible." It seems to be a very large burden on both mother and babies to have children so closely spaced together.

And not only in terms of workload management, either, but also in terms of both the mother's and the new child's health. I was, in fact, expressly forbidden by my midwives to get pregnant before my first was eighteen months old because of increased risk of complications, including low birth weight and premature birth. I was surprised by this, so I did some research. Here's what the Mayo clinic has to say.

It seems that the ideal window to conceive a second child is between 18 months and five years, at which point risk rises again. Which means that, health wise, it might be a good thing that you haven't gotten pregnant yet. In cultures that practice extended breastfeeding, pregnancies 3 or 4 years apart appear to be the norm. I've also heard that this target window helps the older child cope with jealousies and newly divided attentions. They're slightly more rational, and less likely to feel resentful that mom's love and the spotlight has been taken from them. This way, each baby gets time to be the baby.

For what it's worth, my sister is five years older to the day, and while I'd like my own kids spaced a tad closer personally (sometimes she was like a second mom to me, sometimes a sister, and it was confusing), we're no more or less close than my brother and his sibling. We love our siblings both, and they drive us crazy sometimes, too.

It will all work out, promise.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:47 PM on January 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

I am a mom of a 1 and a 3 yo and one advantage I see to having the second 5+ years later is that you get one on one time with the second like you had with the first while the older one is in school. No arranging child care to attend a baby and me class, no taking a toddler to the "too big" park to please the older one, no shoving the first child in front of an iPad/video while putting the baby down for a nap and no waking the baby up from a nap to do pickup/drop off for school and play dates.

Also the older one may actually *be* helpful when the baby arrives? "Can you get mommy a diaper?" "Help me find the missing teddy bear." Etc...
posted by saradarlin at 1:48 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Close age is a red herring and anyway, how they get along as young, young children has no bearing on how they'll get along overall. (And even at young young ages, age is so much less relevant than personality!)

Anecdotally, I have also observed a lot of what people are describing above. My friends tend to be closest to their more-age-distant siblings (except for a couple of cases where the gap is like, 12-15 years and they have more of an uncle-nephew relationship).

I'm much closer to my youngest sibling than to the one in the middle, but it's really just a function of personalities, jobs, and time zones--the youngest one and I just plain have more contact. Probably fought less with the middle sibling from ages 4-10? But we still fought, especially once I was made the de facto "babysitter," blergh.

TL;DR, ignore the people who would stick their dumb noses into your uterus and keep trying for the family you want. It will be fine.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:49 PM on January 5, 2015

I feel you! We've been trying for 8 months for number two and it's such a crappy feeling. I don't have any advice, but wanted to let you know you're not alone. I did recently download the Glow App for charting and really like it, if that helps.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 1:52 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

(er, in my previous answer, the first paragraph is a quotation I was agreeing with from roomthreeseventeen's response -- I forgot to put it in italics. Sorry.)
posted by holborne at 2:02 PM on January 5, 2015

A coworker had secondary infertility and then later conceived identical twins!

My neighbor had secondary infertility. She decided to travel with her husband instead. Then suddenly she had three in a row, the last one at 39.

Maybe you can think of it as your body taking a breather between babies?

Remember that two young kids at the same time can be a lot more stressful than one older and one younger one. You may also have relief on daycare costs (ie one daycare expense at a time). The only thing I would add and others have alluded to this: don't make the older one responsible for the younger one, it is confusing and can breed contempt.

And try if you can to let go of the plan... Your family will be perfectly yours :)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:04 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

FWIW, my brother and I are the "perfect" 18 months apart and we are not close - we never really have been. My husband and his sister are 7 years apart and while they're not best friends, they're certainly closer than me and my brother. I've talked a lot about age gaps, and one thing my husband talks about is that it was really nice to have focused, only-child attention during his earliest years before he started developing outside social groups. By the time his sister came along he was more independent already so it didn't really feel like she was stealing his thunder.

I'm facing reproductive questions from family members right now, and it's ridiculously frustrating, for different but somewhat similar reasons (I really want to have a child but it is just not the right time). I deal with it by trying to be empathetic ("My mother-in-law isn't trying to hurt me - she's trying to bond and grow closer with me" or "my coworkers aren't trying to hurt me or to pry - they're just curious"), sharing a bit of my struggles if it is appropriate or politely changing the subject if it isn't.
posted by muddgirl at 2:11 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just another voice letting you know that there's no magic number between siblings that will ensure that they get along or appreciate each other. I have three girls: 8, 5, and 3. The eight year old and the three year old get along best, because the three year old looks up to the 8 year old, versus seeing her as a play-date. The eight year old just loves the 3 year old to pieces and loves to encourage her as she is growing up. The 5 and 3 year old fight the most, because they are still learning how to communicate about needs, and and the 8 and 5 year old tend to not always get along great, either, because the 5 year old wants what the 8 year old gets, although it's not always age appropriate.. From my experiences so far, I actually think 5 years is a pretty good age gap. You also have the benefit that one is starting to function relatively independently on some levels while another helpless human being is entering the world, which is a great boon in terms of parental energy. Additionally, kids can find friends outside of the home at age-appropriate levels, and some thrive better in a non-competitive environment at home anyway.

All that to say, my scenario is no guarantee either. I just want to let you know that there no "right way" to space the kids out, as you'll have a lot of unexpected things come up due to different personality types, needs, etc. It's absolutely reasonable to want more children, but I'm wondering if some of the stress of the timing could work against you a bit, or at least potentially suck some of the joy out of a possible good outcome, if it comes a little further down the line.

Best wishes to you.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:14 PM on January 5, 2015 [7 favorites]

My family had five daughters, all spaced out by about 1-2 years. I was the oldest, and I was closest with my very youngest sibling-- who was 7-8 years younger than me. I think you'll be fine!
posted by stoneandstar at 2:37 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

FWIW: I am six years older than my sister and we are great friends with a lot of similar interests. My Mom dealt with secondary infertility, which is part of the reason for the bigger age gap. There was some squabbling at times while growing up, but ultimately my sister looked up to me as a much older big sis who she could talk to about things she couldn't talk about with her peers or our parents; at the same time, because I was watching her go through things I'd just gone through myself only six years earlier, I maintained a lot of positive and sincere interest in her well-being and development as a person.

My partner is ten years older than his sister and they are also very close.

Sometimes I think that being around the same age can foster more competition because the expectations and desires for what 'privileges' they're each allowed are usually similar. Whereas with a big age gap, it will typically make a little more sense to a 10 year old (as opposed to, say, a 14 year old) why their 16 year old sibling gets to start driving a car and staying out a little later now. The 10 year old is likelier to have different priorities and won't feel so competitive.

This is all folk theory/psychology, of course, so YMMV. I think my point here is that an age gap of 3-6 years is no more likely or unlikely to create closeness or lack of closeness. I would argue that parenting techniques and the childrens' individual personalities have a bigger say in how that turns out. I was really encouraged by my parents (my Mom was an only child born to parents of an advanced age, so I think this was very personal for her) to spend a lot of time with my sister and to appreciate how lucky I was to have her in my life. Also, to never take her for granted because someday she may be the only family I have. I still take that very seriously.

And I'm with mochapickle that although the people asking you, "When are you going to have another kid?" probably do mean well, they really do need to butt out. Ugh. That is such a private and personal matter. I learned a long time ago to not poke at other people with questions that are that sensitive in nature because you never know what the other person's situation is - whether it's trouble conceiving, or a past miscarriage, or financial troubles that prevent them from caring for an additional child. I'd just answer these inquiries with a polite, "We look forward to giving Little Brambory a baby sister or baby brother as soon as we can" and change the subject.

Don't let other people's nosiness get you down. You already said you're relatively confident that your chances of being able to conceive again soon are good - that is wonderful to hear! Focus on that positive probability, and forget the questioning of others. Best wishes!
posted by nightrecordings at 2:48 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

It doesn't help that I'm from a family where we were all quite close together and got on well and my husband and his brother are 5 years apart and hated each other as children.

Other people have chipped in, but more anecdata for the pile: my sister and I are six years apart, and we are now in our early thirties/mid-twenties. We're thick as thieves. In contrast, my college boyfriend was two years older than his younger sibling, and they haaaaaaaaaaaaaaated each other, to the point where they never hung out together even when on campus at the same not-giant school at the same time.

Also, both of my parents are from relatively big families. In both cases, personal family enemy #1 is a sibling two to three years younger than them. They differ, though, in that, my mom has hated her younger brother since childhood, due to him being a shitbird and/or being the favored younger son who could get away with anything. In contrast, my dad was closest with his older sister, who was only two years older than him. He was on good terms with his younger brother, and I have great memories of hanging out with my cousins as kids. In fact, I used to think of one particular cousin as my second sister.

Annnnnd then, at the age of 50-ish, my father and uncle an epic falling out with each other over massive family drama that involved sex, lies, and a much younger married woman with whom their father wished to marry/have as a semi-concubine.

They haven't spoken to each other since, not even after said father died.

It's been a decade.
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:53 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

My kids are 5 years apart and they get along very well. Every age range has strengths and weaknesses. Having a kid who was old enough to really help with a new baby was wonderful, and she adored having a big brother. I wouldn't worry about them being best friends at all.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:02 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Look I don't have kids of my own, or siblings, but I just wanted to chime in to say that people are a-holes and I'm sorry that your family and friends are saying things that make your own internal feelings worse. The stuff that people think it's okay to say to parents (even more to expectant parents!) just boggles my mind. It makes me want to apologize for humanity.
posted by radioamy at 3:24 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'll answer with more practical but harsher advice for which I apologize in advance -- feel free not to read (me: 1 child, 2 miscarriages, 4 failed IVFs, no more infertility insurance coverage) - there are lots of hopeful, happy stories out there, and I hope yours is one of them. But not everyone gets more than one child, so try not to invest too much meaning into other people's successes if you find that it makes the heartbreak worse with every new period. Try to find ways to enjoy the one you have and all the benefits you can give an only child (and there are many) - and to find the unexpected joys you are lucky to have because of your unlucky circumstances. When well-meaning friends or family ask about what's next, it's none of their business, but I have found that honesty has been far better than privacy - saying "we would love more but so far it hasn't worked out" with the right eye contact not only stops further questions but can also lead to people surrounding you with love and understanding when you need it.

I would also urge you - whatever age you are now - that if you are already okay with the possibility of IVF in your future if you can't conceive any other way, look into freezing some of your eggs now. Best case scenario, you'll never need them. But if you do, their age really can make a difference.

Feel free to memail me if you'd like, for any reason.
posted by Mchelly at 3:35 PM on January 5, 2015 [16 favorites]

On the spacing of children: A few months ago I was thinking about planning for a second child and asked this question about the ideal age spacing for kids to maximise the possibility that they'd be friends. The overwhelming message I took from it was that there was no right answer -- that whether they would be friends had a lot more to do with their personalities (mainly) and the kinds of parenting strategies we had (secondarily).

On another note: it strikes me that probably more of your "blue" mood than you may recognise is not due to the sibling-spacing fear, but simply due to the stress and worry involved in infertility. Even if you probably think it will end up working out, it's still stressful and aggravating and uncertain now, and all those well-meaning comments from people aren't making it any better. Believe me, I get it: it took us a long time to successfully conceive my first and I was really surprised at how depressed and stressed it made me feel -- even though (or especially?) because I normally regard myself as a pretty rational, even-keeled person.

So my advice on that front is: let yourself feel stressed and worried. It's okay and perfectly understandable. I think concentrating on your blessings and loving the kid you have are all great things, and will ultimately help quite a bit, but if you feel down in the dumps and wondering if it will ever happen and feeling selfish for feeling down (which I did) -- well, let yourself feel that. This is kind of a big thing because it has to do with your life plan for yourself and your family -- who you are and what you want your future to look like. It helps to realise you don't actually have much control and what will happen will happen, but in the many moments when you can't reach that zen point -- well, that's okay too. It'll work out one way or the other but it is okay for it to feel hard and you to feel sad and stressed about it right now.
posted by forza at 3:54 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hey I'm just popping on second what a lot of people are saying, close age doesn't really guarantee much. My brother is 3 years younger than me and while we get alone fine and have pretty much always gotten along fine, we aren't particularly close-we're just really different people with different interests, whereas the beau is 9 years apart from his brother and they are definitely closer. I think a lot of it is going to do with personality.

Just to clarify, I don't think this is a gender thing, I actually get alone with and relate to the beau's little brother a lot more because we have a lot of common ground. My brother and I really don't save for the whole being siblings thing.
posted by KernalM at 4:09 PM on January 5, 2015

Secondary infertility is painful and far more widespread than people think. I'd suggest moving the appointment closer instead of giving yourself another month to worry. Discuss all your options with your doctor now and set a timetable. The specific age gap doesn't make such a difference to your child, but infertility is making you stressed so you want to minimize the time you spend on the infertility roller coaster so you and your family have a shorter struggle.

You may have just one child. That's part of what you and your partner need to talk about, deciding when to stop trying and what avenues to grow your family you would take.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:55 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our original plan...

I think it's important to give yourself a space to grieve that your original plan won't be happening the way you planned it. It really is a big deal to plan how you want your life to be in some significant way like the existence and number and spacing of children, and then suddenly find that it just isn't going to happen that way, period. Adjusting to that takes time. I see you trying to be happy about the way things are eventually going to turn out, and I agree with you that things will eventually turn out well, but that's really hard to get excited about until you have something concrete to hang your hopes on (for example, a pregnancy, or a decision that first=only, or whatever it turns out to be). If you've had to cope with grief in other areas, you might try some of the same things that worked for you. At the very least, it could help keep you sane to acknowledge that you have a right to feel blue (or angry or anything else grief-related) because you've really lost something. You've lost the possibility of what you originally planned, and that is sad in itself. (Even though I'm sure what ends up happening will be lovely.)
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 7:48 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Hi there, I agree with Mchelly's response to nosy people. I used to say "yes, we are hoping to have another one soon" etc etc. My kids are 4.5 years apart and it is perfect. Felt like we got enough time to nurture and enjoy kid1, get some adult time, get reestablished at work, etc. Then, as mentioned by others kid1 helped out with kid2. And, went off to school, ensuring I got quality time with kid2. Sure, it will be a long time before kid1 and kid2 can really play together, but already they interact and are buddies. Best of luck to you!
posted by leslievictoria at 8:22 PM on January 5, 2015

I have a lot of friends who have kids that are perfectly 2 years apart and many of them have expressed to me how difficult parenting that age gap has been (mind you, they are all generally under 5-6 years old still). The moms particularly have expressed that they constantly feel like no one is ever getting their needs met because everyone is so needy. So maybe you can take some comfort in the idea of your first getting a lot of one-on-one attention, and just as they become more independent and don't need you every minute of the day might be right when your second comes along.

Just to touch on another detail in your post, I'm concerned that your doc has asked you to wait to come in for another evaluation. If you have been trying diligently for several months and nothing is happening (no miscarriages, you've been using ovulation tests, monitoring discharge, taking your temp, yes?), it sounds like it's time to consider some work with an infertility specialist. Secondary infertility is a real thing and it doesn't always resolve itself on its own, especially when you have endometriosis or another diagnosed condition. I only mention it because I wasted a lot of time with an OB who was not a specialist, who kept ordering various tests while telling me to just keep trying. In my first meeting with my RE he said "we aren't going to waste any more time trying things out, we're going to go straight to the procedure that will get you pregnant the fastest." Something to think about and discuss with your hubby. But do keep trying in the meantime!
posted by vignettist at 8:23 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have a 3.5 and a 1 year old and they are wonderful but it's no magic picnic of harmony at this age. The hard part about them so close is that excellent daycare is expensive for both at the same time. College will be too. A wider spread may turn out to have time and financial benefits for a family. I can sympathize with the difficulty involved in conception.

I am 4+ years apart with my sister and we are close.
posted by nickggully at 8:30 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

It might help some if you come up with some response to the people who pester you about getting pregnant. With people you feel closer to, you could decide if you want to talk some about your struggle, or ask for them to pray. (If they pray for you, then the next time you talk they'll mention that they've been praying for you, rather than asking why you aren't pregnant yet. Your call as to whether this is better.)

If you're not feeling like sharing too much, one route is to let yourself channel the emotions you've been feeling and just burst into tears when someone brings it up. With these first two methods you've answered their oblique question of whether you want more kids with a "yes, I deeply want more". Sometimes having that question answered is enough for the people who know you well enough to care and then they can stop asking.

Another route is to go with the dirty answer, "well, I'm trying as much as a can, but really, how many times a day can you try?" Depends how much shock value you enjoy. Feel free to add as much detail about your sex life as you like; they asked for it.

I'm not in the same situation as you, but I've found no matter how many children and how close or far they are, everyone has opinions on what you should change about it.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:24 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have two kids who are two years apart, then a third who is 5 years younger. The spacing was due to some health issues of mine, but ended up being perfect.

I read an article years ago that said siblings should either be less than two years apart or more than five. It's been so long that I don't have a source for you.

My middle kid was five when his little brother was born and he was thrilled. He actually cried when he found out that the baby would be sleeping in my room for the first few months. My youngest is almost seven now and they're good buddies. There's such a huge gap that there's no rivalry, Big Brother takes care of Little Brother. Little Brother adores Big Brother and wants to be just like him. Of course they get on each other's nerves, but they never get physically aggressive like my sister and I did (we're 23 months apart and best friends now that we're adults.)

Another bonus for having such a big gap between the kids is that I had two helpers when the new baby came. Big sister was 7 and thought I'd gotten her the best doll in the world, and Big Brother was just completely stoked by the whole idea. They were great at bringing me diapers and wipes, or just holding his bottle for him so I could run to the bathroom. I even have a picture of my daughter zoned out in front of the TV, holding the baby's bottle so he could eat and I could get stuff done.

Even now, I have two babysitters when I have to leave the house for 10 minutes. Big Brother was helping Little Brother with his homework tonight while I was fighting a headache. Big Sister can play Lego with Little Brother for hours. It's worked out great!
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:24 AM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

7 years younger than my brother, 5 years older than my sister, and there's 12 years between THEM in total. We grew up being GREAT friends, and as adults are best of friends. I don't see the problem!
posted by shazzam! at 4:00 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am 15 years (almost to the day) older than my sister, and we get along really well. When she was little I wasn't as much there -- but once she got older, we got along great.

I know families where siblings are 2-3 years apart and get along well. I know families with the same age gap where they don't. And the same is true for siblings with larger gaps.
posted by jeather at 6:10 AM on January 6, 2015

I just want to nth that people suck and that you do not have to be polite to these people who ask rude questions and make inappropriate comments. I also dealt with infertility and I did exactly as Mchelly says, I would respond honestly and say something like "I would love to have a child but it hasn't worked out for me yet" or even more bluntly "I have been trying to have a child for a long time and so far it has been very difficult". Because who cares if that makes them feel uncomfortable, and maybe they'll finally realize that asking those kinds of questions isn't just small talk but can be hurtful. Not everyone wants to be "out" about having infertility issues, but I found that getting to the point that most people in my life knew what I was going through and I could post about it on Facebook really cut down on the number of incidents where people made thoughtless remarks, and also, people actually came out of the woodwork to tell me about their own infertility issues I had not known about and to be supportive, and that helped me at the time (yeah, I also got a few messages about how I just needed to relax, or had I tried acupuncture, and stuff like that, but I knew they meant well). Your mileage could vary on this but that is my experience.

When I was dealing with infertility, I had a little mantra I would use when I was feeling sad or broken, which was "things will work out in the end, even better than I ever expected them to." At the time it was hard to believe, but with time, I've found that it absolutely became the truth.

And as a little support for how things are working out, remember that spacing kids very closely together increases your risks for a number of health problems in pregnancy and is not medically recommended, and also that spacing kids farther than 2 years apart makes the kids smarter!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:54 PM on January 6, 2015

I've experienced secondary infertility, and it super sucks. Very few people understand and/or can empathize with the secret pain of feeling that your family is not yet fully complete. Well-meaning people were basically telling me in so many words to get over it - like, "But you already have a healthy child." Ugh. "You can always adopt." Way wrong things to say, people. You are not alone. Big hugs to you, OP.

what helped you not get too freaked out? What might help me stay sane?

What helped me was moving my doctor's appointment earlier like viggorlijah said here: "I'd suggest moving the appointment closer instead of giving yourself another month to worry... infertility is making you stressed so you want to minimize the time you spend on the infertility roller coaster so you and your family have a shorter struggle." Amen.

Because you have already been diagnosed with endometriosis, I also really agree with vignettist's comment about going straight to a Reproductive Endocrinology (RE) appointment instead of staying with a non-specialist OB/GYN: "I wasted a lot of time with an OB who was not a specialist, who kept ordering various tests while telling me to just keep trying. In my first meeting with my RE he said "we aren't going to waste any more time trying things out, we're going to go straight to the procedure that will get you pregnant the fastest."
posted by hush at 10:29 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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