.

The Magic Number

Figuring out the right number of children for your family.

The summer of 2011 brought some interesting changes for the Mom Squad. Nicole and Bethany had babies, so they are now both mothers of two children. Rachael is currently a mom of one child but is contemplating another. Some of our friends have one child, some have two or three. Some are happy with the number of children they currently have and are done having children. Others either know they want more or aren’t quite sure just yet.

All of this begs the question: How do you know what the “magic number” of children is for your family?

Nicole:

When I was pregnant with my son, I was fairly sure we were done having children. We had a girl, 20 months later we had a little boy, and I felt comfortable with that number. I had two great pregnancies and two healthy children. But as I watch my son grow out of the baby phase, I’m not sure that I’m ready to say this is it, no more. I have always wanted a large family. When I started thinking about having children, I thought four was a good number. But my husband was more of a one or two children kinda guy. We settled on two, and while my husband is still pretty much set on that, we’ve left our minds open a little bit to having more.

Growing up, I was the last of three girls and my older sisters were much older than me (11 and 14 years older) so in some respects I was a bit of an only child. And since my sisters were so close in age, they have always been close, shared memories I don’t know about and spend more time with each other. This is a big reason I didn’t want an odd number of children. But I also think four kids is too many (especially living in the Bay Area... If we lived somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I would entertain four children, but not here).

There are also the things that drive me nuts on a daily basis that I wonder if I can handle again. Can I handle the sleepless nights both during pregnancy and after? Can I handle the tantrums and the frustration from another child who doesn’t have the words to tell me what they need? What would happen if I had another Evie (my daughter is a tad on the... energetic side, to put it midly)? And another kid in diapers?? I also worry about the unknown. I was so lucky to have two normal, healthy, beautiful children and what would happen if we had a third child and all was not well? What kind of toll would that take on me and my family? I know you’re not supposed to think about those kinds of things, but I do, and it’s a lot to consider, especially when you’re talking about a precious child. But when I do really think about doing it all over again or I see mothers at the park with more than two kids, I think I did it before and I could do it again. I’d be totally ok with that.

So I guess right now, I don’t know what my magic number is. The number two feels just fine, but there just might be some room to grow. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Bethany:

I am one of three girls and I never liked the “odd man out” feeling that goes with that. Because of this, I always knew that I wanted exactly two children. When I was lucky enough to have one girl and one boy, it solidified the feeling for me. My husband, on the other hand, felt like he wanted three children. Because of this we have had many talks about how many children is the right number for us.

As a one income family (I stay home, he works), we would have a hard time maintaining our current lifestyle if we had more children. Also, as I said, I never wanted an odd number of kids. Finally, on a more selfish note, I cannot stand the thought of another pregnancy followed by all the sleepless nights and stress of a newborn. Then there’s the infancy, toddler years, etc. Don’t get me wrong,I love my kids and I would  do anything for them. I just can’t do it all over again from scratch. It’s not for me. I am content with my family as it is.

After much discussion, my husband and I have come to the decision that our family feels complete with the four of us. But, just to be sure, we have agreed to revisit the issue one last time on our son’s second birthday. If we still feel the same way, then so be it. But if not, well... we’ll just have to see about that.

Rachael:

Truth be told, I honestly never even wanted children, let alone more than one. Then I met my husband and all that went out the window. :) We were pregnant with Sabine within three months of “I do” and I was fine thinking that she would be it for me. Until about a month ago. Suddenly, my biological clock is stuck on “alarm” and my ovaries screaming at me! It probably didn’t help that two of my close friends just boarded Baby Train; one is preparing to begin trying for her second child and the other just found out that she’s pregnant for the first time (possibly with twins!), and *Wham!* I’m going baby crazy.

It’s not just because I want to have another baby. Obviously that’s part of it, but there’s a lot more to it; I think my daughter deserves to have a sibling, and I want my husband to (hopefully) have the son that he’s always dreamed of. My husband grew up an only child and has told me of how lonely he was the majority of the time. I also see how difficult it can be for an only child when the people they were closest to (generally parents and/or grandparents) pass away and they are left with nothing but memories and almost no one to share them with. I have a younger sister, but was a member of a HUGE family, so I always had someone around to play with, share secrets and make memories with. I can’t even imagine growing up without that. Having someone to share past experiences with helps to keep family memories alive. It also rekindles the memories and spirits of those who are no longer with us.

I don’t want my daughter to be alone, or to forget, or be without someone to help her remember important people, places or events in her life. I feel that it’s my responsibility, my duty as a parent to give her that, or to at least try.

I am also worried about my age and the effect that can potentially have on my ability to conceive, the quality of my pregnancy and the health of my baby. Despite my wanting to believe (and sometimes acting) otherwise, I’m no Spring chicken. I’m 35, and from all the information I’ve gathered over the years, the potential for problems with the pregnancy and the probability of birth defects, increase drastically the older you are when you have children. It terrifies me to think that those issues could potentially be avoided, and almost makes me feel irresponsible if I don’t start trying to conceive again soon.

On a lighter note, there’s  also a little ulterior motive involved here... If I have my second child now, chances are fairly good that both children will attend the same school for at least one year, so I’ll have someone on the “inside” to make sure my little darlings aren’t up to something they shouldn’t be... See? I’ve got this Mother-of-two thing down already! Now to get my husband on board...

The “Magic Number” is a tricky question for every family. Sometimes the deciding factors are family income, the size of your home, current family dynamics, health concerns, or any number of other issues. It is a deeply personal decision with no “right” answer; only you and your family can decide the number that’s right for you.

Don't forget to check out Campbell Patch - Mom Squad on Facebook! We answer your questions, take your suggestions, and offer up support to our fellow Moms.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something