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“You should have another child soon,” the man said, pointedly glancing down at my flat belly. “It’s not good to space them out more than two years.”

I was at the grocery store with my son. We’d been standing beside a barrel of produce, happily picking out apples, when this middle-aged stranger stopped to comment on how well-behaved my son was. (A welcome remark for any parent, to be sure!) But when he started sharing his advice on family planning, I walked away without a word.

“It’s not good to space them out more than two years.” His words rang in my ears and bounced hollowly around my empty womb.

Because what he didn’t know was that I’d miscarried just weeks earlier.

And that pointed look at a baby-less belly? It hurt.

I’d dreamed of having my children close together, evenly spaced out in two-year intervals. But, there was a different plan in store for my family. After four miscarriages, our two-year gap stretched out into four, and I didn’t need strangers to tell me that I should get on the baby train because trust me, I was trying.

While a four-year gap is by no means a long time (even considered optimal for some!) it wasn’t what our family had hoped for.

I worried about transitioning back into the baby phase. My son had been sleeping through the night for years now, I was used to his independence and routine. How would he adjust to sharing attention? Would the bigger age gap mean that they wouldn’t be able to play together? That they wouldn’t have as much in common?

I’m happy to say that those fears of mine were needless.

And that man at the grocery store? He was wrong.

Because it’s not about the years between them. No matter what, there are going to be rough moments—every family has its bumps and tender patches. But there will also be an abundance of love and sweet childhood memories. No matter the years between them, they will always carry the sibling bond.

A few nights ago, my son and I sat down to read a bedtime story. In it, the main character welcomes the arrival of a new baby sister, saying, “I’ve waited so long to meet you.”

As we read that line, my son reached over to rub his hand along his little sister’s cheek. With a big grin, he looked up at me and said, “Just like me, Momma. I’ve waited so long for my sister, too.”

No age gap will change that love.

So to the mother worrying about an interval stretched longer than originally planned, this is going to be OK, too.

Your family is going to be perfectly-built, no matter the years between them.

Two years or four, 10 years or 12—it’s all just love.

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Liz Mannegren

Liz lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two littles. She is the mother of seven beautiful babies: carrying two in her arms but an extra five in her heart. You can read more of her writing at MommyMannegren.com or follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

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