Family planning/Children spacing

If you have plans to have more than one kid or two, child spacing or family planning is one thing you have probably thought about. Or maybe you are thinking about it right now. While children are a blessing (we say this all the time and it is true), every family should have adequate knowledge and plans in place regarding the number of children to have and the space between them. The consideration for the number of children to have should not be dependent on whether you are “fertile”, “have a wide hip”, “you’ve always wanted a large family” or that God said, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

Other factors that should come into play are your financial capacity as a family, your age, your ability to care for the children in all aspects and so many more. Africa still remains one of the largest continents in the world based on the rate at which mothers give birth to children every year. This is not terrible in itself – provided these families can care for the children. But that is not the case. As the population increases, so also is the poverty index increasing. That should not go on. We should be able to make informed decisions based on the way our family is set up and what we are able to afford.

Now that you are sure of the number of kids you want to have, there is also the decision of the space that should be between the children. While this is up to you as the partner carrying the baby based on an agreement with your spouse, there are some health, financial and other factors that should be considered.

Generally, medical practitioners advise that there should be a space of 12-24 months between one pregnancy and the next. To allow time for the woman’s body to heal up and to give the family time to bond with the first baby. There are also other complications with the second baby that can be prevented if there is enough space between pregnancies and childbirth.

However, prolonged spacing between pregnancies also has its own pros and cons.

Take a look at the pros and cons of each:

Having children close together

Pros

You can raise, wean and potty train and deal with the fuss of the early stages of the kids’ life together.

The kids can use the same gears, clothes and equipment because they are closer in age.

They can grow and play together. This can be fun and terrible at the same time.

Shopping and managing their needs might be easier because they are not so far apart in age.

Cons

There are increased risks with the pregnancy and delivery of the baby.

Double the expenses (diaper, formula, Baby clothes, other essentials).

There is an increased demand on the time of the parents to care for two babies at the same time.

It is double the stress from sleep training, potty training, and so on.

There is also the chance of not being able to pay adequate attention to the first child before the next one comes along.

Having children far apart

Pros

You get to have more with each child to give the attention for the early stage.

Your older child(ren) may enjoy helping with the new arrival.

The challenges of the early stages may no longer bother you.

There is the likely chance that you are more psychologically and financially prepared for the arrival of the new baby.

Your older children are likely more independent giving you the chance to focus more on the baby.

Cons

You are not likely to be able to reuse baby equipment, and essential.

There may be more sibling jealousy.

The kids may not have anything in common which may affect their bond a little.

The experience (pregnancy, sleeplessness, potty training, etc.) might appear new again to you as a parent.

There you have it.

At the end of the day, no decision is without its risks. Stay informed and make the best decision based on the peculiarity of your family. Whatever you use, you are going to be fine!