Best Advice from Richmond Doulas: When Babies are Over Five Years Apart!

Written by: Gloria Miles
Contributions by: Richmond Doulas Members

So you're expecting! Congratulations!  Except this kind of feels like starting over because the age gap is a little more extreme than most.   So what does Richmond Doulas advise regarding this type of age gap? 

Cristina Evans:  I have a twelve year age gap between my youngest and oldest children! I think that an age gap can be both fantastic and a challenge. I love watching my kids with my one year old. I loved that they got to see me pregnant and talk about things regarding pregnancy and childbirth in a positive way. I love that they get to watch her grow and will remember her being little and will be able to teach her things as well.

They were incredibly helpful during postpartum. The gap and this work allowed me to think of all the things I wanted to do differently or try that was new (or more available) since they were born.

It’s also challenging at times. The family dynamic totally shifts. Your sense of independence that you start to regain as your children get older is gone again for awhile (man, oh man, do I miss not needing a sitter!). You have to adjust to the new pace of things. Your baby gets dragged along to everything because you’re a busy family now.

Eventually she will be the only child in the house (in only 5 years!). She may not have a close relationship with her siblings because they’ll be gone already and basically a whole different generation from her. Most people aren’t going to have such a big gap but these are just some of the things from my view of life at the moment.

Erica Angert: My two older kids were 6 and 8 when we had our third, and it's been kind of magical for me. A lot of that is that I've raised two kids past baby, toddler, and preschool age so I really had a chance to think about what would work best the third time around.

The things that used to make my husband and me really anxious or angry or worried when our other kids were little seem so simple and normal now. It all just rolls off our backs and we're much calmer about dealing with the tough milestones and behavior things.

It has also been beautiful to watch my oldest have such a sweet relationship with his baby sister from day one. He was old enough to really understand how to treat babies and has been very responsible and helpful. Both older kids definitely notice the change in lifestyle, though, like having to be quiet during her nap time, not being able to play a family board game or watch a whole movie or ride roller coasters all together, but I have felt like those things are temporary and it's already starting to get better now that she's 2.

Gloria Miles: One of the best things regarding an age gap this big is that the older children are much more able to help.  My children are 11, 9, and 1.5 years old.  It's nice to having older children that can watch a toddler while I wash dishes.  Or having a child who--sometimes--will change a wet diaper.  Plus, it's beautiful to see them playing together and trying to teach her things.  

Some people have asked if it feels like starting over...and it doesn't.  It feels like starting with experience this time around, rather than with a million questions.  

Gloria Miles is a Navy veteran and mother of 3, soon-to-be 4. She wears many hats as a doula, Certified Aromatherapist, and student. She is currently working towards obtaining a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management, with an end goal of becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife. When she is not blogging or hanging out with her family, she enjoys reading, knitting, hiking, and mud runs.