My husband and I always knew we wanted more than one child. We're both close with our siblings, and wanted our future kids to experience that kind of relationship. While every family is different, and that's totally OK, this was an important choice for my husband and I. It probably also has something to do with the fact that both of us are the youngest (I have two older brothers and he has one older sister) and we really looked up to our older siblings. Neither of us could imagine life without them . . . and that's only partially because we never actually knew a life without them.
After our daughter was born, we wanted to take a minute to enjoy this first tiny little miracle we brought into the world, so we decided that we wouldn't start trying for our second child until she was 3 years old, when she'd be out of diapers and much more self-sufficient. We also wanted her to be old enough to understand what was going on, even though we knew we could never prepare her for what it would mean to bring a new baby home.
They'll always have someone standing by them who knows exactly what it's like to have us as their parents.
It took us three rounds of fertility treatment to become pregnant the first time, so I went back to the clinic early to tell them we were ready to try again. But I got some unexpected news: I'd have to stop breastfeeding my daughter in order to try getting pregnant again. I loved breastfeeding and wasn't ready to give it up. Cue the mum guilt. I struggled to decide which was more important to me: continuing to breastfeed my current baby or becoming pregnant with her sibling. Even though I knew I would be stopping for a really good reason, I couldn't bring myself to quit nursing. And after talking things through with my husband (who I'm thankful supported my breastfeeding journey), we decided that I would continue to nurse for a few more months before starting the journey to become pregnant again. To this day, though, I still feel guilty that I pushed my daughter into ending nursing not because we were both ready to give it up, but because we wanted a second baby.
But seeing her face when she came to the hospital to meet her baby brother reassured me that it was all worth it for her, too. She loves her brother fiercely, even when he's screaming in her face, throwing her toys, or wrecking her perfectly designed block building. If someone messes with him on the playground, they better be ready to meet the wrath of his big sister. And he looks up to her with such admiration, copying her every move. A bow in her hair for school in the morning? He needs one, too. A crazy kick that has been her signature dance move for years? He's working hard to perfect it himself. And the best part? She's right there giving him pointers.
For my husband and I, there's nothing better than seeing our kids' love for one another. We'll never get over the joy of knowing that they will continue to learn from each another and will love each other unconditionally. Our son and daughter will be able to work together to get through the things they believe us parents will "never understand." They'll be mad at us together, then convince each other not to be mad at us, love us, and roll their eyes at us forever. They'll always have someone standing by them who knows exactly what it's like to have us as their parents, someone raised the same way as them, held to the same expectations, loved the same, and taught to love the same. They'll learn there's nothing better than a sibling, the only people who know what it's really like to share an unbreakable, lifelong bond.