shutterstock_126931844After every relationship milestone, there always seems to be a well-meaning albeit nosy question.

If you’ve been dating more than a year: “When’s the Wedding?”

After the wedding (in my case, during my reception), the fervor increases: “So when are you having a baby?!”

Almost immediately after baby #1 pops out, folks start asking if and when you’ll have another. This question, more than any of the other questions before it, is the winner at igniting tempers. The decision to have children at all is an intensely personal and private matter; the decision to add more children to the family or not is often even more so. For some reason, this matter has become like so many other areas of parenthood: there is a whole lot of black-and-white opinion out there in the world about what and when is best, despite the personal nature of the decision.

I am an only child, and my husband is one of two children. Having grown up an only child and having begged for a sibling from the time I could talk until I knew it wasn’t an option anymore, I knew long ago that I wanted to have more than one kid. Our 10 month-old is an adventurous little firecracker who I can already picture as a rambunctious, outgoing, adorably mischievous older brother and I love the image (however crazy it may be) I have in my head of him with siblings. Hence, discussion of baby #2 has commenced.

On one end of the spectrum, I’ve had friends tell me to wait 6 or 7 years between kids so I have older ones to help with the littles. On the other end, I’ve had others who have told me to just pop ’em out one right after the other to get it all over and done with, or better yet: multiples! We’d just be done after one pregnancy! But since I have no control over how many babies I have at once, that’s a moot point. So, personally, we don’t want to space our kids out a ton because after struggling with infertility for so long, we got a later start than we hoped and I was a few months shy of 30 when we had our son. I don’t want to be pregnant again after 35 and we want at least two kids, but possibly three, so in our case the kiddos will have to be fairly close together (assuming we have an easier time conceiving this go-round). Our age and fertility struggles kind of took care of the decision-making for us, but I’ve been entertained by some folks who’ve quite literally schooled me on what’s best, and I do love hearing stories from other families on this front.

So, readers: what route did you decide (intentionally or not) to go and what has been your experience? Close together, far apart, or only-child-all-the-way? 

Stephanie Ansley