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family size and the Earth - Page 2

Poll Results: How many children do you have or plan to have?

  • 13% (22)
  • 27% (45)
  • 37% (60)
  • 3% (6)
  • 17% (28)
    as many as you end up having!
161 Total Votes  
post #21 of 99
Thank you Piglet68-I guess I was being oversensitive. So many times I'm reading posts too fast while trying to nurse dd1-I guess I just took it the wrong way. You are always so gracious when someone has differences with you (((hugs))).
post #22 of 99
I am against ANY kind of regulation of women's fertility up to and including the "Earth" argument. You can have 20 bio kids and live an ethical life and do little damage to Earth. Eat veggie, use products that are Earth-friendly produced, reuse, recycle, etc.

DP and I have yet to decide how many bio children we will have but we know we will adopt and raise up to 7-10 children hopefully.

I do not wish to come as environmentally unaware, but as an Indigenous woman these kind of topics push my buttons.... my grandmother was sterilized against her will in 1973 along with thousands of other Native and Puerto Rican women.
post #23 of 99
Thread Starter 
Wow, such thought-provoking answers! I too had to ttc for a long time with dd and it's incredibly painful. Being pregnant was probably one of the most fulfilling and incredible things I have experienced, and so is being a mommy. I can understand why some would want to have big families.

I also agree that being earth-friendly with 5 kids is probably about the same as being non-earth-friendly with 1 or 2. My neighbors are always coming home with super jumbo packs of Pampers and I'm proud of my small fluffy stack of cloth dipes. :-) They also have a swimming pool and lots of grass (we have desert landscaping with a small patch of grass for dd), they have 2 cars including an SUV (we have one compact car, one bike and a bus ticket), and the list goes on.

About the immigration issue-- dh is an immigrant and I think that's silly to be against immigration because of population growth reasons. It's not like the immigrants are the same as being new people on this earth. They just transfer from one area of the earth to another.

I think this issue has been on my mind a lot as I think about next summer when we will probably ttc our second and last child. The thought of being my last pregnancy and newborn baby is sad, but realistically we just can't afford to have more than 2.

We live in a big LDS community so I see big families everywhere, and so maybe it just seems that more people are having kids than actually are nation-wide. I saw one very tired-looking mommy pushing a double stroller with a 1 and a 2 year old in it, a baby in a snuggli on her chest, and a preschooler walking beside her. That's what triggered this post.

I'll say it again that I don't want to judge people for the decisions they make. I just wanted to hear some different views on the topic. I hope that for the most part we are able to discuss without making offensive comments. But sometimes you can't help offending because people feel so strongly about both sides of this issue.

post #24 of 99
OK, I'm going to really try to say what I have to say in a way that allows the loving place that I am saying this from to come through. E-talk is such a tricky thing.

I have a really hard time with the positions being presented that being earth friendly or whatever you want to call it compensates for population growth. Individuals use resources and create waste, no matter how you slice it more people means more damage to the earth. The rest is just a matter of scale. The repeated references to how a family lives only accounts for that short period of time that you are living together. What about when those multiple kids become multiple households.

That being said. Population size is a global issue but an intensly personal issue. There are MANY social justice issues that cloud it and I would never want anyone other than the women having children to have any say on that decision (except maybe their partners, but there are social complications to that also.)

The decision to have numerous children is not the most environmentally appropriate decision, but that does not mean that it isn't the RIGHT decision.

Driving a car is bad for the environment. It doesn't matter if I get the most fuel efficient car, the best emission controls and whatever. I drive on streets that fragment habitat and do immeasurable environmental damage. It is not the most environmentally approprate decision, but for me it is the right decision.

When evaluating our environmental efforts we need to be very loving of ourselves and everyone else. I may do many things a week to reduce my ecological footprint, there are many thing that I'm not yet ready to do yet (like ditch that car). I need to forgive myself for those. And when I see someone not taking the steps that I've already taken I have to remind myself that they may be taking different steps. And even if they aren't I can't know what path they are on and where it will lead.

Since peggy edited herself, I will use her as an example. We all know that she is an amazing mom from the wonderful jewels she drops for all of us on these boards. Her decision to have six kids was not on the outside an environmentally appropriate decision. But as amazing as she is, I'm sure those are some pretty impressive people she's raising and who knows what one or a few of them will ultimately do for the good of the earth.
post #25 of 99
We have 4 but would love more. However, we can't so we are in the process of getting licensed for foster care. I think the earth is big enough for all of us to have 10 kids. It's just not big enough for the way we live these days.
post #26 of 99
I would like to add, without sounding too hostile, that we have acquaintances that are DINKS (duel income no kids). They have several homes in different parts of the country, each drives a large SUV, the waste is unbelievable! They don't want any children. Are they better than us, environmentally?

Perhaps my children will not go off and live as they have been raised. I hope they do but what can a mother do but teach? But what about me? I wasn't raised environmentally at all. Now I live in an environmental way. Hmm, so we CAN do the opposite of how we're raised. What if everyone does? Or 50 % of the population? Then it evens out, right? Are we grasping at straws here? I really think so. It's impossible to figure out who makes the best decision in this case. We can never truly know. There are figures both ways, right? Should I be embaressed now when I walk down the street (trust me, you get stared at enough and asked "are those ALL your children?). So now do I have to assume that they think I'm unenvironmental too? That's a lot to think about. I think I'll just keep thinking that people that stare are rude.
post #27 of 99
Originally posted by ekblad6
(trust me, you get stared at enough and asked "are those ALL your children?).
I get that all the time too. The worst time was when we went in for a family picture the photographer asked if we were all family. LOL No, I thought I'd bring in my neighbor's kids for my family picture. : lol
post #28 of 99
This is so off topic but that happened to us too! How rude! Do I ask people with one or two kids "is that ALL you have, do you have fertility problems?". Of course not because it's NONE OF MY BUSINESS!

OK, you may return to your regularly scheduled topic!
post #29 of 99

In defense of the large family

We have four children, I just had my tubes tied after dd was born (we also have 3ds). I thought long and hard about how many we would have, dh didn't seem to have a preference and decided I would just "know" when the time was right to stop having children. We were done with three, but dd was determined to come through after all.
I think the point was already made about how to live a conciencious lifestyle, but I also believe we choose who we are meant to spend our lives with in this realm. Forgive me if I get too spiritual. Each one of us has lessons to learn and challenges to overcome. Part of my decision to have more than one or two children stemmed from my own life growing up with a sister who was 10 years older than me, and we didn't get along. I always ached for a sibling who was closer to me, or at least another I could turn to in good times or bad. I wanted my children to remember happy together family times, not times playing alone. That said, I am not against only having one child, this was just my experience.
If we concentrate more on making life rich for every child, I think this issue about how many we should have would take a back seat. We have far fewer resources than many of our friends who only have one or two, but I like it that way. Many, I'm sure, would be of the opinion that we are too poor for our family size (you name the gov't program, we qualify for it) but we also don't think we were meant to provide things like college funds or expensive clothes for our children. I appreciate the BA I have more so b/c of the hard work it took for me to earn it. Dh and I will enjoy the fruits of our own labor into our old age (hopefully), but the children will have to labor for themselves, including working by the age of 16 and paying for the things they want themselves. I paid rent any month I was home after I turned 18. It made me very responsible. I no longer rec'd an allowance or spending $$ after the DAY I turned 16, and had to cover the cost of lunches bought at school, my bus ticket, etc... as well as any clothing outside of my school uniform. Our children will either go to a private highschool or be homeschooled, and either way will hopefully leave a positive impression wherever their lives take them.

As far as the low infant mortality rate in the US, this isn't entirely true. We actually have one of the highest in the industrialized world. Mostly due to our severe problem with interventions at birth.
post #30 of 99
We've always said we'd have just 2 kids (replace ourselves). But, if you're trying to live in an environmentally-responsible way, I agree with whoever said that you have to think about the issue globally... people are always shocked at the growth rates in places like India and China, and I (before marriage, kids, etc.) used to applaud the 1-child policy in China, thinking that it was appropriate given their populations. But now when I put myself in their shoes, I just can't imagine the GOVERNMENT telling me how many children I should have ... the thought of it makes me feel really rebellious. I don't think I could handle it!
p.s. I'm not at all anti-government (being a transplanted Canadian, I wish the U.S. government would do a bit more to help the general public... but that's another issue!)
post #31 of 99
I have heard horror stories about China's one child policy: forced abortions, waiting lists to conceive, selective abortions in order to conceive boys... I read in a magazine of a woman who was about 7 months pregnant in December. The authorities decided that due to birth quotas, the baby needed to be born THAT year, not the next, and they forced doctors to induce. The baby died.

I sincerely hope that no other government resorts to measures like those in China. Women should be encouraged to breastfeed to help naturally space children, globally, women and children should have access to the best healthcare and nutritious food so that the babies who are born don't die and women won't feel compelled to have so many. Birth control should be cheap, safe and easy to obtain.
post #32 of 99
please stop looking at your neighbors when comparing your global impact. Global impact is directly related to resource use which is directly related to wealth. Remember, this is a global issue. Evaluate your wealth on a global scale. Check out http://www.luccaco.com/terra/terra.htm, for a reality check on your wealth. We are among the highest consumers in the world even if your neighbor is consuming what seems like alot more.
Oops sorry I just found out that its no longer up. Anyway I think if you own a computer you are in something like the top 3% of the worlds wealthiest people.
An interesting side note however, increase in standard of living and education level in a geograhic area usually has a corresponding decrease in family size.
post #33 of 99
This thread may be very helpful for those who have not yet decided how many children they will have. But for those that have decided they will have one or two, you are preaching to choir. For those who already have a large family..what would you have us do? Admit our chilldren are mistakes??
While I apreciate that this thread has stayed on topic and has not resorted to insulting Mom's of large families, like the three or four other threads we've had on this topic since the boards came back up..I do get very tired of having to defend my large family here time and again.

post #34 of 99
I agree, Peggy. I really feel picked on and looked down upon. It hasn't been in so many words but I really feel as though I'm being judged for my choices. I just can't help but think that I'm doing such great things for the environment and so are my kids. I'm exausted, sometimes, by trying to be earth friendly. I double and triple think each decision that I make involving consuming things and everything related to the environment. I don't want to be put on the outside just because I have chosen to have a large family.

Just my opinion. Not typed in a hostile manner at all.
post #35 of 99
I think is is FAR MORE IMPORTANT how you raise your children to treat mother earth than how many children you have.

This is a descision that must be made individually. I have a problem with how many people who decide to have a child/children just because they feel they are "supposed" to in order to "have it all". That is no reason to have children.

I also am troubled by the people I know irl who have spent 10's of 1000's of dollars on fertility and when it didn't work won't now consider adoption.................... WTF is up with that attitude? One even said to me "I don't want somebody else's problem".

Children have a right to be loved, I wish there wasn't a single child unwanted right now.

We were stopping at 2 because of our age (I was 35 & 38, DH was 38 & 41), but, in a night of crazy passion, Duncan was conceived and now we are 5. And, yes, we feel it in our bones every night that our age is telling us no more. At 43 I would not deal very well with pregnancy................
post #36 of 99
glh - <<<<<<<<hugs!!>>>>>>>>>
thanks for being so understanding. text-only communication definitely has it's hazards!

for the record, while I think this topic is fascinating from a philosophical perspective I would NEVER, EVER support any sort of regulation of a woman's reproductivity nor would I ever condemn someone for having lots of kids. What I am opposed to is an overall philosophy that we should all "go forth and multiply" without considering the issues raised here (and even the "Big family mamas" here have obviously thought alot about them!).

I also find it really fascinating and encouraging that when women are allowed access to education, birth control, health care, and greater equality in their society that the birth rate and family size go way down. It is my hope that we can focus on making life better for women so that all women on this planet have the same choices that we have. In this way I think we will do much to help with the population crisis.

I don't agree with the policy in China but I sure do sympathise with the problem they have there. Exponential growth is very scary when you are talking about populations in the BILLIONS. Wow.
post #37 of 99
I don't feel that anybody is being judged here by anyone. And I don't understand the need to defend one's decisions. As it has been said so eloquently here, it is a personal choice and as long as that choice is made thoughtfully, who can blame?
post #38 of 99
I come from a family that was not earth conscious, to say the least. I only had one sibling who is 7 years older than myself. I now have four children and dh and I have recently decided that we are probably going to have at least one more. My family of 6 definately produces much less waste than the familyof 4 that I grew up in. I do not continue to have children to prove a point, as some have accused me of, but because this is what works for our family.
In the last 7 years since my first ds was born, I have transitioned from being a very mainstream person (not very earth friendly) to what I consider to be a very "natural" person and parent.
Although I don't feel the need to defend my choices, it is so nice to have others on these boards with such like minded attitudes to parenting and families.
Thank you Amy, Peggy, SunMountain, AnnMarie, USAmma, Selu, Daylily and any other I forgot to mention. ((((((Hugs)))))))
post #39 of 99
Thread Starter 
I too would never ever want a goverment telling a woman how many kids she had to have, and forcing it. At least India is a democratic country so they can educate and enourage but not force. I like it that way.

I have seen many large families that are so beautiful! I sometimes have the urge to have a large family myself and how nice it would be to have the older ones helping with the younger ones and being positive role models to them.

But I still think we are only going to have 2 at the most. Dh and I agreed before marriage that if we coudn't have children we would adopt from India rather than trying IVF because the cost would be about the same, and you would get a child through the adoption route but not necessarily through IVF. One of my friends has adopted three beautiful children from India and I so admire her. She has been a great AP guru to me.

post #40 of 99
This is a topic I feel very strongly about. How could I not when I see so much waste around me and I contribute to it myself.

I do not look down on large families. I love being around them, they are jovial and wonderful. There is a magic to a large group of children. But that is not the choice for me. I am almost at the point where I need to cancel my subscription to National Geographic because I get depressed everytime I read the new issue and all I see is habitat destruction, global pollution and other heinous crimes against the earth.

I have one child, some days I intend to have another for dd's sake. Yet there are days when the unneccessary guilt of living (which to me living goes in hand with killing). Those are the days when I lose sight of Tao and must remember the inherent perfection in the chaos around me.

I will do my part for my own self and leave others to do as they choose. Thiers is not my battle.

Someone once said "Growth for the sake of growth is the theory behind the cancer cell."

I try to remember that in all that I do.
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