The Importance of Child Spacing

Child spacing is a practice in which people decide and act on when they want to have children and how often they want to have children. Child spacing provides health, social, and economic benefits for individuals, families, and communities. It is a way to make sure the baby and the mother are healthy and strong before another baby comes. Child spacing helps the mother to regain her health and helps the child to get all the attention, care, and love they deserve.

A mother’s body needs time after giving birth to get her strength back before she becomes pregnant again. A woman who delivers children who are very close in age can easily become exhausted by the many pregnancies, childbirth, breastfeeding, and looking after small children. Moreover, if a baby can breastfeed longer, he or she will be healthier. The first child will have more time to grow up healthy before a new baby comes. Children benefit from more time with their mother and father. Also, child spacing enables the father to support and take time with his family. Planning when to have babies may not be widely discussed in some cultures. Some people feel that it is a decision for Allah to make. But it is good to know about safe ways to space your pregnancies.

Research has found that most of the child spacing methods are safe and highly effective when used correctly. Moreover, it is important to know that the majority of the methods available are reversible.  This means that once you are ready to have children again, and there is a healthy amount of space between your pregnancies, you can choose to stop using the method and you will be able to get pregnant again.

On the other hand, research has found that couples are most successful at spacing their children when they have talked about it and agreed on a plan ahead of time. Both the father and the mother has responsibility to take care of their children. They should plan a good and healthy future not only for their children but for themselves too. Child spacing happens to be one of those important decisions that parents make together for the sake of their family.  Therefore, it is not a decision that only one parent should make. The couple should have conversation and make the decision together.

Child spacing usually works the best when both the mother and father have talked about it and have decided in advance how they will space their children.  If you solve things before they become a problem, it is easy. Many people start talking about child spacing after having one or more children. Having conversation about child spacing with your partner before you have any children is highly recommended. It gives you a time to get the resources you need to make careful and well-planned choices.  It can be a part of your conversations about planning for a healthy and happy future together.

The decision of choosing a child spacing method is personal. However, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to get guidance.  People often use different methods throughout their lifetime.  If one method is not working well for you for any reason, you can work with your provider to try another.  Wellshare international, a public health organization based in Minneapolis has a variety of useful resources about child spacing in Somali and English, as well as Community Health Workers who speak Somali, who can help you to learn more.

How far apart parents should space their children, is an important point that many people may think about. Medical fields suggest to space children at least 18 months. On the other hand, the holy Quran recommends to space children two years. Talk to one of the local Imams or other Islamic scholars to know more about how Islamic religion encourages child spacing. Always remember, whatever you choose and whoever you talk to, your partner should be part of the conversation.