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'It's irresponsible for you to have more than two children'

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

What do you say to people who have this view? And how do you get past it, inside yourself? Ever since I was pregnant with my DD, who is now 18 months old, I've felt like we're supposed to have a least one or two more children. We are hoping to start ttc next summer, after I've had my silver (mercury!) fillings removed for a few months and the mercury has had a chance to leave my body.

 

I know that some people I know, especially my MIL believe that people 'these days' shouldn't have more than one child, due to the 'fact' that there are too many humans to support already.

 

While it is not true that we cannot support the people currently living; it's that we choose not to (additionally, if people lived in a responsible manner, we could potentially support many more humans) however, I really don't feel like getting into a debate about society and it's ills with everyone who is likely to bring it up banghead.gif

 

To make matter worse (in other people's opinion, not ours!) we are poor. We are poor by choice, because DH and I are unwilling to spend more time apart than we do already. We also don't feel like being poor is a bad thing - we always have more than we need, and being rich in money doesn't compare (for us) to being rich in health and love, which we are bouncy.gif  However, to some people, it's just one more reason why we shouldn't have more kids, at least not right now confused.gif

 

So... what do you/have you said when people remark on your choice to have more than 1 or 2 kids for reason such as the ones I've listed? Any good, short comments I can say when people start bringing it up to me? 

post #2 of 40

To be honest, I actually have my own doubts about having such a large family. The global warming/over-population movement really got us all good! The worst comments are from family members. They are the only ones that probably have the guts to say something to us! We usually just get stares and "wow!, FOUR!, wow!" and I say "Yep, we're busy!" and move on! Now that we are open to a fifth child, I can't even imagine how this will all change. I will probably just rely on my faith to get me through the comments. I believe children are blessings. I believe in raising my children to be blessings to others and, in my mind, I'm doing my part!

post #3 of 40

as a geographer, who teaches about Population distribution, you can quote me:  the problem is not that we have too many people. the problem is that the resources are not distributed equally.  also, birth rates are close to zero here in the U.S, they would be zero if we didn't have an influx of immigrants who generally have more than 2 kids in the first generation.  countries like Italy, France, Germany and Japan, are having serious problems because they are below zero and they can't take care of the older retired generations.  less and less people are having children, even 1 child is too many for some.  do you know someone who will never have kids? then have a third for them! 

i really really really want a third.  my husband is totally waffling.  tonight we got on the topic of a third and he pulled that responsibilty line on me.  i told him we needed a third to lessen the burden of having only 2 to care for us in our old age.  i don't want more than three (just for my sanity).  i'm not sure what to say to people except to tell them that it Malthus (the economist who predicted overpopulation) was wrong.  Not that we should all go out and have 8 babies, but he was wrong and that zero population growth isn't a factor.  And that most people are either not having children or only having 1, so...your third isn't a big deal.  really - it may prove necessary in the future to encourage people to have children - tell them you are just a trendsetter.  One of the reasons they have great maternity leave in France is to encourage people to have more than 1 child. 

post #4 of 40

Eh, my MIL said this to me. I just brushed it off. DH and I are only planning on two- maybe three- but it has nothing to do with population or what anyone says. I don't think anyone else should dictate how many children you have.

post #5 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by raelize View Post

as a geographer, who teaches about Population distribution, you can quote me:  the problem is not that we have too many people. the problem is that the resources are not distributed equally.  also, birth rates are close to zero here in the U.S, they would be zero if we didn't have an influx of immigrants who generally have more than 2 kids in the first generation.  countries like Italy, France, Germany and Japan, are having serious problems because they are below zero and they can't take care of the older retired generations.  less and less people are having children, even 1 child is too many for some.  do you know someone who will never have kids? then have a third for them! 

i really really really want a third.  my husband is totally waffling.  tonight we got on the topic of a third and he pulled that responsibilty line on me.  i told him we needed a third to lessen the burden of having only 2 to care for us in our old age.  i don't want more than three (just for my sanity).  i'm not sure what to say to people except to tell them that it Malthus (the economist who predicted overpopulation) was wrong.  Not that we should all go out and have 8 babies, but he was wrong and that zero population growth isn't a factor.  And that most people are either not having children or only having 1, so...your third isn't a big deal.  really - it may prove necessary in the future to encourage people to have children - tell them you are just a trendsetter.  One of the reasons they have great maternity leave in France is to encourage people to have more than 1 child. 


In regards to population growth/overpopulation, etc...This.  I am not a geographer, but I have read several articles that say basicaly the same thing.  And really, the countries that do have a population problem, they are the ones causing any sort of strain on the earth and having one more child in the US isn't going to change that, neither is having no kids.

 

 

But, in regards to this:

 

 

 

 

Quote:
 To make matter worse (in other people's opinion, not ours!) we are poor. We are poor by choice, because DH and I are unwilling to spend more time apart than we do already. We also don't feel like being poor is a bad thing - we always have more than we need, and being rich in money doesn't compare (for us) to being rich in health and love, which we are bouncy.gif   
 

 I hope this is not implying that you aren't able to support your kids without taxpayer assistance.  If that IS what you are implying, then I don't have a suggestion because I think that would be wrong.  However, assuming that's not what you mean then I would just say that you pay your bills and support your kids so it's not their business how much money you may or may not have.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
 
post #6 of 40

These answers are so academic. On a bad day I would probably say something like, "Which child should I have aborted?" or "You won't be bitching about them when they are paying your social security."

post #7 of 40


Yeah, echo what raelize said.

 

Also, the solution to global problems is not verbally encouraging people to make individual decisions based on the good of the world rather than on their own individual needs.  That's ridiculous, it never works.

 

Macro-level problems require macro-level incentives.

 

When women have educational and employment opportunities, their reproductive rates drop.  Sure some educated women will still choose to have eight kids, but so many more will choose to have one or none that it more than balances out.  Most developed nations are below replacement rates right now - it's a significant problem in many European nations and in Japan.

 

So the way to get population control on a global scale is to introduce educational and employment opportunities for women on a global scale.  Not to berate individuals about their personal, drop-in-the-ocean reproductive choices.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by indie View Post

"You won't be bitching about them when they are paying your social security."


 I like that one a lot actually. :) 

post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by raelize View Post

as a geographer, who teaches about Population distribution, you can quote me:  the problem is not that we have too many people. the problem is that the resources are not distributed equally.  also, birth rates are close to zero here in the U.S, they would be zero if we didn't have an influx of immigrants who generally have more than 2 kids in the first generation.  countries like Italy, France, Germany and Japan, are having serious problems because they are below zero and they can't take care of the older retired generations.  less and less people are having children, even 1 child is too many for some.  do you know someone who will never have kids? then have a third for them! 

i really really really want a third.  my husband is totally waffling.  tonight we got on the topic of a third and he pulled that responsibilty line on me.  i told him we needed a third to lessen the burden of having only 2 to care for us in our old age.  i don't want more than three (just for my sanity).  i'm not sure what to say to people except to tell them that it Malthus (the economist who predicted overpopulation) was wrong.  Not that we should all go out and have 8 babies, but he was wrong and that zero population growth isn't a factor.  And that most people are either not having children or only having 1, so...your third isn't a big deal.  really - it may prove necessary in the future to encourage people to have children - tell them you are just a trendsetter.  One of the reasons they have great maternity leave in France is to encourage people to have more than 1 child. 


In regards to population growth/overpopulation, etc...This.  I am not a geographer, but I have read several articles that say basicaly the same thing.  And really, the countries that do have a population problem, they are the ones causing any sort of strain on the earth and having one more child in the US isn't going to change that, neither is having no kids.

 

 

But, in regards to this:

 

 

 

 

Quote:
 To make matter worse (in other people's opinion, not ours!) we are poor. We are poor by choice, because DH and I are unwilling to spend more time apart than we do already. We also don't feel like being poor is a bad thing - we always have more than we need, and being rich in money doesn't compare (for us) to being rich in health and love, which we are bouncy.gif   
 

 I hope this is not implying that you aren't able to support your kids without taxpayer assistance.  If that IS what you are implying, then I don't have a suggestion because I think that would be wrong.  However, assuming that's not what you mean then I would just say that you pay your bills and support your kids so it's not their business how much money you may or may not have.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
 


When XP and i split i had a 2month old baby and nowhere to go.  During pregnancy we had decided we really wanted our kid to have a parent care for them until they were at least 3, we have flaky/dead relatives so it was going to fall on one of us.  And since she was breastfed (and also since it took a number of years for XP to get the hang og parenting) it was going to be ME.  The taxpayer supported me, and her, until i was able to come off assistance over 2 years later.  It irks me that the attitude is that if you need benefits ever then you made terrible wrong choices.  Does every baby deserve breastmilk?  Or only those whose parents are successful and lucky (i earned plenty before i had DD) enough to be able to get by without government assistance?  I am incredibly grateful that the social security system exists in this country (UK) and i am very happy to pay taxes to continue to support it.  Sure there are some people who take advantage and are lazy, but scratch the surface and they usually have their own issues (of 3 women i know who had multiple kids and were on benefits long-term 2 had never learned to read due to being at home as a child caring for a sick parent!), and many many people use the system because they fell on hard times.  I had all kinds of very concrete preconceptions about what single mothers on benefits were like, until i became one.

post #9 of 40

I've been having lots of similar conversations inside my head recently, and imagining conversations with others if I become pg with #3 soon. It certainly is weird how people see two children as the magic number. No kids, one kid, and they all have to comment (we had an "only" for 6 years and people had a lot to say about that). Since we've had 2 kids, it's like we have the perfect situation for the commenters.... unless they want to say something about how we have 2 girls, no boy...

 

I am imagining the surprised reactions we will probably get from others we know. Because we're in a really crunchy area, there could be some feelings about resources and wastefulness - this is always a bit of a question, being in the resource-hogging U.S. Also we are... somewhat stretched financially. Dh's salary does pay the bills, but if I stop working again for a baby, things like reducing our debt will be farther away.

 

My worries are more close to home - one of my sisters has decided not to TTC #3 and to stop at 2, even though she would have loved a third, and I think she might feel envious. Then another sis is currently planning for #1 but it hasn't happened yet. So I'm worried about triggering their feelings if we find ourselves expecting #3.

 

And yet... DH keeps mentioning that one other awesome little person we feel like should be in the family, and I don't feel like I can close the door to that. We think of the scenario of many years from now, those three siblings having each other, etc etc. So yeah, I feel like I can just smile my way through some of those comments. Also I'm in a great circle of birth junkies where just the pregnancy & birth talk get most of the airtime! :)

post #10 of 40

IMO, what a great gift if you can give your child(ren) a sibling.  There are so many lonely people in the world.  I am so thannkful to be one of 4 and to be able to raise my kids with my siblings kids - family is the most important thing!

 

I often hear of older women wishing they had had more children and didn't worry so much about the logistics.  I understand that we need to be smart and take care of ours, the best we can. However, many in our society feel they need way more than they actually do to raise their children.  What we are raising are ego-centric people who think the world revolves around them.  The easiest way to raise a person aware of sacrifice is in a larger family.  (I hope nobody finds this offensive, only my own opinion here.)

 

Oh, and I can't believe these MILs basically saying they don't want any more grandkids!

post #11 of 40
I agree with raelize. As for "taxpayer assistance", almost everyone does in some way. Who cares? Maybe if our society had a decent living wage system or social support it would be better, but as a taxpayer I have no problem with it.

As for people who say it to me-I couldn't give a rat's patoot what they think. I don't need to get over it because I see it as just another extreme POV by someone who should mind their own beeswax and if they were really worried, would be helping women get access to birth control and increase world breastfeeding rates and the rights of women. I can guarantee you 99.999% of people who say this to you don't do a darn thing in that regard, so who cares what they think?

I wish I could help you with what to say IRL to them. I've never had someone make that comment to my face but I would probably laugh hysterically at them in a not so friendly manner and tell them to mind their own business. But that's just how I am. wink1.gif
post #12 of 40


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post

As for people who say it to me-I couldn't give a rat's patoot what they think.


ROTFLMAO.gif

post #13 of 40

I don't have any canned answers or retorts for your MIL. But just some words of support. Your loved, wanted, cared for children are not a problem for the world, only a benefit. People, I am telling you, I WANT you to have all the loved and cared for children you want. Not just "it doesn't bother me" but I want it, for our world.

 

I've chosen to have one child for my own reasons. Someone can feel free to borrow the extra space from my family.

post #14 of 40

I get alot of this and have developed a thick skin.  We have 9 children and are hoping to have more.  My SIL has zero.  My BIL has 2.  To each his own.  I don't give people a hard time for having none, 1, 2, etc so whatever.  I don't care what people think about me or say.  Our neighbors have 1 or 2 kids (or none) and live in houses bigger than ours and drive hummers.  We have maybe one garbage can out on garbage day and four recycling containers.  Our neighbors have at least 2 or 3 garbages and usually no recycling.  We use cloth and always have for diapers.  We are very earth friendly and our (grown) children are as well (our younger kids are too, of course, but they live here so it's different).  Listen to your heart.  That's all that really matters.  My MIL hasn't spoken to us in two years b/c we have chosen to have a large family.  Really?  How is *that* accepting of everyone or loving?  It's not.  It's just ridiculous.  We have tried to be kind and do kind things for her.  She hates us b/c of our family size.  That's a shame but we pray for her daily.  I hope her heart changes one day.

post #15 of 40

I think there is a real difference in gobal population issues and local population issues.

 

I agree that you should be able to care for any children you chose to bring into this world, and if you can't and need help getting there that is OK (really not a problem there is help), but that choosing to not provide when capable is an entirely different issue IMO.

 

There is nothing wrong with having less. Dh and I are choosing to live simpler so we can raise our children together, rather than 'bigger/ better' moneywise.

 

Dh and I want a large family, I think my kids are going to be able to make a positive difference in the world. That is our focus.

 

post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by raelize View Post

as a geographer, who teaches about Population distribution, you can quote me:  the problem is not that we have too many people. the problem is that the resources are not distributed equally.  also, birth rates are close to zero here in the U.S, they would be zero if we didn't have an influx of immigrants who generally have more than 2 kids in the first generation.  countries like Italy, France, Germany and Japan, are having serious problems because they are below zero and they can't take care of the older retired generations.  less and less people are having children, even 1 child is too many for some.  do you know someone who will never have kids? then have a third for them! 

i really really really want a third.  my husband is totally waffling.  tonight we got on the topic of a third and he pulled that responsibilty line on me.  i told him we needed a third to lessen the burden of having only 2 to care for us in our old age.  i don't want more than three (just for my sanity).  i'm not sure what to say to people except to tell them that it Malthus (the economist who predicted overpopulation) was wrong.  Not that we should all go out and have 8 babies, but he was wrong and that zero population growth isn't a factor.  And that most people are either not having children or only having 1, so...your third isn't a big deal.  really - it may prove necessary in the future to encourage people to have children - tell them you are just a trendsetter.  One of the reasons they have great maternity leave in France is to encourage people to have more than 1 child. 


In regards to population growth/overpopulation, etc...This.  I am not a geographer, but I have read several articles that say basicaly the same thing.  And really, the countries that do have a population problem, they are the ones causing any sort of strain on the earth and having one more child in the US isn't going to change that, neither is having no kids.

 

 

But, in regards to this:

 

 

 

 

Quote:
 To make matter worse (in other people's opinion, not ours!) we are poor. We are poor by choice, because DH and I are unwilling to spend more time apart than we do already. We also don't feel like being poor is a bad thing - we always have more than we need, and being rich in money doesn't compare (for us) to being rich in health and love, which we are bouncy.gif   
 

 I hope this is not implying that you aren't able to support your kids without taxpayer assistance.  If that IS what you are implying, then I don't have a suggestion because I think that would be wrong.  However, assuming that's not what you mean then I would just say that you pay your bills and support your kids so it's not their business how much money you may or may not have.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
 


When XP and i split i had a 2month old baby and nowhere to go.  During pregnancy we had decided we really wanted our kid to have a parent care for them until they were at least 3, we have flaky/dead relatives so it was going to fall on one of us.  And since she was breastfed (and also since it took a number of years for XP to get the hang og parenting) it was going to be ME.  The taxpayer supported me, and her, until i was able to come off assistance over 2 years later.  It irks me that the attitude is that if you need benefits ever then you made terrible wrong choices.  Does every baby deserve breastmilk?  Or only those whose parents are successful and lucky (i earned plenty before i had DD) enough to be able to get by without government assistance?  I am incredibly grateful that the social security system exists in this country (UK) and i am very happy to pay taxes to continue to support it.  Sure there are some people who take advantage and are lazy, but scratch the surface and they usually have their own issues (of 3 women i know who had multiple kids and were on benefits long-term 2 had never learned to read due to being at home as a child caring for a sick parent!), and many many people use the system because they fell on hard times.  I had all kinds of very concrete preconceptions about what single mothers on benefits were like, until i became one.



 

post #17 of 40

Crap, I typed a whole post under what I quoted and it's gone. Bascially what I was saying is that I was being totally and completely misunderstood. Having been a single teen mom myself, I certainly have no "very concrete preconceptions" about anyone. Sometimes, people need a helping hand, and that's fine, I don't really care how they got to that point. BUT, if you (anyone) are AT that point where you need the help of others to just take care of the basic responsibilities that you already have, I don't think you need to be trying to add MORE responsibilities to the situation, at least not at that point.

post #18 of 40


Yeah it keeps happening to people (the lost post thing!).  I dunno.  I didn't have any more when i was on benefits, but i see a lot of posts on here and elsewhere from agonised, sensible people who used good contraception but wound up pregnant at a bad time anyway, desperately trying to come to terms with their options and i guess, i just, i can't feel resentful about them deciding not to have an abortion.  DD1 was conceived with 2 of us in work, but she was born with me on what turned out to be permanent maternity leave and her daddy lost his job when she was a week old.  I really support a woman's right to choose, but i feel so sad that a woman might be expected to make a choice she is unhappy with for economic reasons, or for that matter be resented by others for having not-enough-money to go it alone but still not wanting to end a pregnancy of a wanted child.  As a demographic, sure, i see that is maybe an issue, but as individuals i find so much to understand and so little to dislike.  It's a hard one.  I didn't mean to offend you with my concrete preconceptions remark, i really just meant once i was judgemental of that situation, and it was a huge shock to find myself in it, and i can really imagine easily now how other people who are in it got there.  I wasn't being snarky, i'm sorry if you felt snarked at! (there's no hug icon i can make work, but hugs!).  One family i know have 3 under 4 and their Church keeps encouraging them, despite their situation, to go on having more.  They really feel caught, it's a hard one.  They try NFP, but it doesn't work well for them (and she's done the classes 3 times, so it's not for lack of trying).  Others like me ended up single unexpectedly, or have a disabled child which means mama cannot work as there isn't nursing provision.  There are a lot of sad stories out there.  I like the idea of a society that looks after its poor.  In a lot of ways the ones who are on long-term benefits have been failed by society.  I only know a few who choose to refuse to work and as i mentioned about, there are past abuse, literacy and addiction issues there.  I read this back and sound like a bleeding heart liberal i know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

Crap, I typed a whole post under what I quoted and it's gone. Bascially what I was saying is that I was being totally and completely misunderstood. Having been a single teen mom myself, I certainly have no "very concrete preconceptions" about anyone. Sometimes, people need a helping hand, and that's fine, I don't really care how they got to that point. BUT, if you (anyone) are AT that point where you need the help of others to just take care of the basic responsibilities that you already have, I don't think you need to be trying to add MORE responsibilities to the situation, at least not at that point.

post #19 of 40

Happy to find this post today.

 

After the birth of my most recent child (14 months ago) I had sworn off having another child.  I even gave away the infant clothes because I was d.o.n.e.  Money woes and managing my bipolar is what really made me want to stop even though my husband wants a large family.  We aren't on assistance, but we struggle.  We're behind on bills, have debt, rely on my parents who usually kick in for the kid's clothes.  (Though I think we could do better and spend less money.)  But I really didn't think I wanted another child.

 

I weaned my daughter at 12 months and got my first pp period in late October.  I had already scheduled an appointment with an OB to talk about birth control but, you know...it's hard to get in to see them  unless you are actually pregnant.  So my plan was to use NFP until I had my appointment a little over a month later.  Well.  I guess I failed.  Today, 1 week past the due date for my next period here I am sitting with a BFP.  Scared to tell my husband even though I know he would probably be excited. 

 

But mostly, scared of other people who will think I am irresponsible for letting myself become pregnant with a 3rd child when our finances are so tight.  Part of my is excited though.  Even though I never imagined myself with more than 2 children.  But mostly, I'm really scared.  Scared that I will hear all those comments from our family. 

 

Not exactly sure if this was appropriate to post here, but just needed to get that out redface.gif

post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 

Congratulations!

 

I'm so excited for you :)

 

In regards to other PP's... what we really need is a return to the tribal way of living; but that's unlikely to happen anytime soon, at least, not in a very broad sense.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by madsommer View Post

Happy to find this post today.

 

After the birth of my most recent child (14 months ago) I had sworn off having another child.  I even gave away the infant clothes because I was d.o.n.e.  Money woes and managing my bipolar is what really made me want to stop even though my husband wants a large family.  We aren't on assistance, but we struggle.  We're behind on bills, have debt, rely on my parents who usually kick in for the kid's clothes.  (Though I think we could do better and spend less money.)  But I really didn't think I wanted another child.

 

I weaned my daughter at 12 months and got my first pp period in late October.  I had already scheduled an appointment with an OB to talk about birth control but, you know...it's hard to get in to see them  unless you are actually pregnant.  So my plan was to use NFP until I had my appointment a little over a month later.  Well.  I guess I failed.  Today, 1 week past the due date for my next period here I am sitting with a BFP.  Scared to tell my husband even though I know he would probably be excited. 

 

But mostly, scared of other people who will think I am irresponsible for letting myself become pregnant with a 3rd child when our finances are so tight.  Part of my is excited though.  Even though I never imagined myself with more than 2 children.  But mostly, I'm really scared.  Scared that I will hear all those comments from our family. 

 

Not exactly sure if this was appropriate to post here, but just needed to get that out redface.gif

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