Deciding on Number of Children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 09-26-2010, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been thinking about this question for a while now. However, I may be jumping the gun a bit since DH and I don't plan on TTC for a few years.

How did you (and your partner) decide how many children to have? Did you have a set number in mind before even your first DC was born? I've been reading a lot of threads in which mamas aren't sure they're done having babies.

DH and I discuss this matter sometimes, but really haven't come to a conclusion yet. He wants two children and I would like three or four. He's an only child and isn't close to his extended family. I have two siblings and I'm close to my mom's side of the family.

Of course, I know that anything could happen with fertility, pregnancy, birth, and children themselves. We could plan for three and end up only having one child.

Are there certain personalities that are more equipped to handle more than two kids, such as more organized and more laid-back?

Another aspect would be finances. I would like to be a SAHM. DH has a good full-time job and so do I, but we'd have to live on one income if we had even one child.

I guess the other question I've been pondering is being a SAHM to four children and home-schooling them. Home-schooling our (future) children is one thing DH and I agreed on. That's probably a question for another forum.
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#2 of 23 Old 09-26-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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DH and I were not going to be parents at all when we were married. We didn't feel our personalities were up for it, and we really enjoyed the freedom and closeness we shared as a couple. However, 6 years into our marriage the tradegy of losing DH's aunt at a young age to cancer made us both really want to start a family of our own. It took 6 months to become pregnant, and we had our DD1. She was going to be an only child. However, with the birth being one that left me with physical and emotional scars, I started aching for another baby and another birth experience. DH and I reconsidered our choice for an only child, and also came to the conclusion that we would like for her to have a sibling.
At first finances didn't play a role in our decisions. It took us a year to conceive DD2, and while her birth experience did not end in a HBAC as we had hoped, we gave it our best shot and was well cared for. There are times that I feel like 2 children are enough for us, and then there are times when I'd like yet another experience with pregnancy and birth. I feel like my womb is not done yet. The thought of never holding and nursing another newborn sometimes makes me feel really sad. At this time though, we live in a small 5 room cabin. Financially we pay our bills, but are able to do nothing else. I don't know that it would be the best idea to have another child. I don't know whether 3 would overwhelm us. But, I can't shake the sad feeling at being done.
I suggested we get permanent birth control, either of us, but I really didn't want another surgery. I had a horrible experience with a Mirena after DD2, and I really didn't want the Esure procedure or another surgery with tubal ligation. DH definitely didn't want a vascetomy. The thought of either of us doing something permanent to our bodies in that regard isn't something he is very comfortable with, and me as well. Yet, I can't use bc pills and am very sensitive to other options of bc. So, we are loosely using the NFP method. DH is of the opinion that if it happens it happens. This is hard on me emotionally. I can't stand knowing that pregnancy is possible each and every month. I feel like I need it to be either I'm TTC or I cannot conceive. I have a hard time dealing with the maybe there'll be an oops.
I'm going to be 32 next month and I always said I'd be done having babies by 30. It is hard for me to leave the possiblity open until menopause, which in our family tends to come in the second half of our 50s.
Logically, I know that another baby's needs would be met, and the baby would be loved very much. Yes, we'd be cramped, but we'd manage to build on bit by bit more space. We'd figure it out.
So, from day to day my thoughts change. My heart goes back and forth with it all.

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#3 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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I don't know if you can ever know for sure. When I was a little kid I wanted dozens of babies When I hit teen years I wasn't sure I wanted any kids. When I was 18 I got pregnant with my ds (oops!). He has special needs and for the first 3 or 4 years it was pretty bad. When he was 2 you could probably have told me you were going to take my uterus out without any pain meds or knocking me out and I would have laid down on that table willingly. When dp and I met we were kinda "eh, ds could be an only child and we'd be fine with that". Then about 6 months ago that itch came. DS had some surgery last spring that had miraculous results. Seriously, he is a different child. It is sooooo easy to parent him now, compared to the previous few years. And now I want another. DS has been asking for a baby for about 6 months as well (funny how he started asking around the same time I started considering it). DP and I decided we did want 1 more, and will start TTC after our wedding in January. After that we'll probably be done. DP doesn't want anymore than 2. I could be convinced to have a third () but I don't think dp will ever go there. It has nothing to do with actual children, but what he wants to give them. He grew up in the annual vacations, give the kid a car for 16th birthday, lots of extra activities growing up, lots of weekend trips, etc kind of family. I did not. But it is a big wish of his to give those kinds of things to any/all kids that we have sooo.... I can understand it

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#4 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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I think it changes as you grow. Huz and I both talked about a large family when we met, but now with one toddler and us both thirty, we are thinking more about one more child and an earlier retirement rather than a large brood.

Also, if I don't have a successful VBAC next time around, that will be my last child. Two c-sections are too much for me.

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#5 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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I'm the youngest of 6, DH is the eldest of 3. I think we'll have 3 or 4. We have 2 just now and aren't done. I think it's a balance. I don't want kids close together. I know a lot of people like it and do it, but for me i cannot deal with pregnancy and nursing together, i cannot handle 2 in nappies for more than a few months. For me, 3 years is a good minimum gap, so since i had DD1 at 25 and DD2 at 29, and i don't fancy never working again (i'm a SAHM) i guess i'll be done at 4. We worry mildly about money, but are sure things will work out. I am only 3.5months out from birth and will need to see how things go with recovery too - i have normal but unuseful anatomy when it comes to birth (my perineum is very very very short - a 1cm tear on me is 3rd degree!) and i have a mild rectocele due to DD2's speedy descent/birth. If it all resolves fine with weightloss, pelvic floor exercises and time then there's no problem. I guess i just need to see how long it will take me to recover and go from there, but i'm sure i'll have another, whatever happens.
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#6 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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I wanted 2 kids, DH was ok with that. After DD1 was born, I decided 3-4 and DH was fine with that. We had 3 and now he would be more then ok to keep things as they are. I am not ready to say I am done and not ready to say I am not.

Factors for us: Dh works lot, he feels like he can barely parent the children we do have. I used to think I would have this pack of children and homeschool them, I didn't account for children with learning disabilities, and now we are the private school path which obviously costs money. 2 of our 3 have special needs, not life threatening now, but more of the death by slowly bleeding money out because of every freaking expense that insurance yet again refuses to cover. Bottom line for us is that our children are very expensive. I don't want to be in a position where I have to count my pennies to decide if I can get my kids an ice cream cone, right now we manage. There is certainly much more debt (medical) then I would like but we can do dance, gymnastics. If a 4th would throw us over the edge then I don't want to, and there is the tiredness factor. I am tired, I haven't slept well in 8 years, as much as I love babies, I don't want to do this forever.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#7 of 23 Old 09-30-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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So, yeah, you may be jumping the gun a little....but I know I spent lots of time thinking about this before I was pregnant, because I wanted to know when I should start, what spacing to do, etc.
I have a 7 month old and when we talk about how many more, DH just basically says to take it one kid at a time, and that it's more up to me than him. (just because I'm the one being pregnant, giving birth, getting up to nurse at night) I know I want more than one, so when I think I'm ready for #2, then we can work on that. ...and I know that I don't want them any closer than two years apart.
I go back and forth between 2 and 4 kids. Basically, I feel like the world is made for a family of four (2 kids)....cars, restaurant booths, hotel rooms, etc. I would be able to take the kids to more activities (dance, swim, sports, etc.) Life might be a little calmer, we could probably go on more vacations, we could fly somewhere, they'd get more attention. But then I have this fantasy of 4 kids jumping in our bed on Saturday mornings, and pancakes, and snuggles, art projects, and homeschoool. In some ways I think I want a big family to make up for the small family I had growing up. I feel like a bigger family equals more love. Am I fantasizing a bit and not looking at the reality of things? Probably.
So, I don't know what I will do. I know I want to be done having babies by 35. (I'm 27 now) (mostly because the downs syndrome risk goes up quite a bit and I don't want to be in baby land forever) For now, I will just take it one kid at a time.
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#8 of 23 Old 09-30-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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DH and I first discussed this before we were married, at which point he already had one child from his first marriage. DH was pretty set on us only having one more, because of the financial aspect. I am an only child (DH is the oldest of 5 boys, FWIW) and didn't want our LO to grow up by herself most of the time, as her older brother is only with us every other weekend. Our compromise at that time was going to be two more kids, giving DH a total of three.

Now that this LO is on the way, I don't know if we're done or not. DH has made comments both ways, and I'm really wavering as to if I will want a fourth. I guess we'll see how we feel after this baby is a year or so old before we make a definite decision.

Mom to DSS D (7) , DD Elizabeth (8/09) , and expecting DC3 3/30/11
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#9 of 23 Old 09-30-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Even before DH and I got married we talked about having six kids. I have one sister and he has 1 1/2 sisters. I don't think that played much in our decision. We just love kids! We constantly got comments that we would change our mind after the first. Well, we haven't! We still talk about having six kids all the time, but secretly, after the six, at this point I feel like I will probably be open to more. That is a ways down the road though...

OP-It is great that you and your DH are already discussing this. I know some couples who didn't discuss children at all (I talked about it so much I don't know how that happens) and then had problems when the discussion came up and they didn't agree. I guess like most things in life we all just have to see how it all plays out.

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#10 of 23 Old 09-30-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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texasfarmom, your dh has one and 1/2 sisters? What does the 1/2 of a sister look like? Teehee!

I do agree- this subject is huge & should be discussed well before marriage! Like, maybe on the 1st or 2nd date! lol! Actually, I did talk to my now-dh about that on our 2nd date . We knew we both really wanted babies. I already had 2 kids. We never agreed on a specific number, we just knew we needed to make babies together!! lol Nowadays, we say that we "take our babies one at a time. We'll keep having them until we feel done. " Well, at least that's what I say. I don't know what my husband says. LOL I don't think men go around asking each other questions like that so I don't think any of his friends have ever asked him that!

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#11 of 23 Old 09-30-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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DH and I spoke about children when we were still dating and I said two and he said three. We're both from families of three, but his parents had three because they wanted a girl and mine went on for a boy. After our first was born I said I thought we should have four and he still said three. I had some health issues during my pregnancy with DS and we still spoke about possibly having a third, but I am really nervous so we decided we're finished with two. If it weren't for the health aspect of it I would have another, but I don't want to risk leaving my two children motherless either. We're counting our blessings now and DH is going for his V on Tuesday.

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#12 of 23 Old 09-30-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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We don't really have a set number. #4 is due in a week and that will be it for now because of finances and the fact that we really need a bigger house and vehicle if we want more! But we're Catholic and open to life so I hope there are more babies in our future.
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#13 of 23 Old 09-30-2010, 06:59 PM
 
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Before we met I wanted 6-8 kids (or more) and DP hadn't really thought about it but assumed she'd never have kids. I had thought about it, A LOT. lol... DP agreed to 3 or 4 in any event and then we'd talk.

Then we had one, and I scaled back to 4-6 kids. Then DP decided she wanted to get pregnant and we're having twins. Plus I'm starting to think through some of the things I'd like to do with the kids that would be harder with more kids (travel, start a business, etc) Now we're thinking of stopping after these two, leaving us with 3 kids. MAYBE one more.

So yes, I thought about it before I had my first. But I reserve the right to change my mind as life happens.

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#14 of 23 Old 10-07-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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In my experience, things changed once I actually had kids! I had always wanted a large family (I used to say I wanted 7 kids). However, now we have three and suddenly I am VERY satisfied with "just" three... life is so full, so crazy, so hectic, so stressful at times, I can't imagine adding any more.

I should say, though, that I used to envy mothers with a lot of kids because I always wanted a lot myself. (I come from a family with 6 kids, DH comes from a family with 10 kids) .... HOWEVER .... not any more. I am suddenly happy to find myself very satisfied with my lot, and not certain that I could handle any more!

That's not to say we are done having children, but at the very least, we want to wait a while. And maybe we are done, too. who knows what we'll be thinking 3 years from now!

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#15 of 23 Old 10-07-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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I always knew I wanted at least two kids so there would be a sibling group, and possibly three (dp and I both grew up with two siblings). Dp already had a daughter from a previous relationship (lives with us ~40% of the time) and probably would have been happy stopping there (actually, she was surprise too, lol!) but agreed to have two with me as well. Now we have three together and I am happy with that I wasn't sure if I would feel "done" after ds, but I am feeling good about our family size right now-he is only 6 months old though, so ask me in a few months,lol!

ETA: Financially, there is no way we could afford any more, so that helps me feel settled as well. We also have a tiny house and three kids in here is a stretch. So, those are also factors in our decision!

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#16 of 23 Old 10-07-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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DH and I both come from two children families. I think we both sort of assumed we'd have two kids too. We now have four. From a logical standpoint, we should be done. I'm 42. We have four--three boys, one girl. Yet... I can't say for 100% sure that we are done. Even DH jokes about #5. Will it necessarily be a child that I give birth to? Who knows. We're open to adoption as well.

I think it is something that some people know for sure from the get-go... and for others, it is something that evolves.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#17 of 23 Old 10-07-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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Prior to having children I wanted 4 and DH was more in the 1-2 category. Now that we are expecting #2, I still would really like more kids, and DH seems to be moving to the mindset of "one at a time" and see where we end up.

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#18 of 23 Old 10-08-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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We don't really have a set number. #4 is due in a week and that will be it for now because of finances and the fact that we really need a bigger house and vehicle if we want more! But we're Catholic and open to life so I hope there are more babies in our future.
And it's a BOY! lol, I SO hope I'm right there behind you!

I always always wanted four kids of my own. Getting pregnant and staying pregnant isn't easy for me. When our third (now 1) was born at 35 weeks and had a 2 week NICU stay I KNEW I was done. We took on a foster daughter a few months ago, and life is CRAZY busy now! Four little girls under age five! But funny...despite my pregnancy problems, that itch is back, and big time. I just feel like "someone" is missing. We def. don't want to stop fostering, but really are feeling the need to add more. (but...not till we upgrade to the DREADED suburban! Five car seats will NOT fit in my van!)

Really, I believe it's good to have a general idea of what you'd like, but to not force yourself into a box. Life hands you things you won't be prepared for, and that can change things (for the good and the bad!) We wouldn't have even added our third (which DEVASTATED me!) if we hadn't had our life circumstances change drastically. You just never know!

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#19 of 23 Old 10-08-2010, 04:41 AM
 
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I had always wanted a large family. That, to me was about 6.
Hubby was fine with that as well. #8 is due in june ;-)
Our spiritual beliefs evolved, our love for kids in general expanded and we're currently at the point of wanting as many as we're given.

As for personality types..Im pretty laid back overall but can get into the occasional freak out mode. hubbys fairly easy going as well.
Hubbys very very organized and I search the house for the car keys Im holding ;-)

There ARE negatives to having a large brood but we feel the positives outweigh the negatives.
Financially it can be tough! You learn how to be frugal and shopping savvy, vacations tend to be camping and you go out less in general. (us anyways)
We're a one income home (hubby works for cable and the pay isnt pretty at all) and homeschool.

Its great you guys are talking about this and thinking it out carefully.
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#20 of 23 Old 10-10-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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Before I met my husband I didn't really want kids. Once I knew we were getting married and we went to premarital counseling we had to talk about it. We decided that 2 or 3 kids would be right for us. I came from a family with 2 kids and he with 5. We now have 4 kids and that seems just right for us. Number 4 was a "surprise" but very welcomed. I love having 4 kids and would probably have more but I am ok with stopping at 4 too. I do SAH and while it is tight financially we make it work.

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#21 of 23 Old 10-10-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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we both decided on two before we got married. haha, i actually had a 5 year plan when i was 20 and we'd only been dating a few months... i'm very lucky he didn't get scared off and run away! we ended up pushing the 5 year plan back a bit and then i thought i'd want to space our two at least 3 years apart. then we actually got pregnant and now i'm thinking i want another one sooner than 3 years and gulp... maybe even more than 2!

our original plan to have only two was based off of wanting to have the disposable income to travel, to keep up our fairly expensive creative pursuits (me printmaking, him photography) and just to have a more relaxed pace of life in general. we are both social introverts... i kind of hated having siblings at all, and he has one sibling... we both would have been happy with being only's. i liked visiting homes of people who had large numbers of kids, but never wanted to live there, if you know what i mean.

however, as i get older, family becomes more and more important. much as i have my differences with my two sisters, spending our first summer together with my parents, sisters,our husbands and the first two grandkids was really amazing. i had this vision in my head of 5-10 years down the road, each of us with a couple more kids and this great happy family gathering. it would be the extended family that we only got to experience once or twice when we were young (since my dad's side is frankly disfunctional and no one really managed to get together that often, and my mom's side has no other children our age)...

both reasons (wanting to have time/money/energy to do the things we love, AND wanting to have lots of siblings to have relationships with) have plenty of merit. i know my sister is planning on 5-6, and the positives of having a big happy troup of kids to play with are hard to ignore.

i honestly think we will have to play it by ear. my dh would be very hard to convince if i did decide to have a third. it would either have to be an oops or twins or something to get him over that initial hump. but, since our dd is only 7 months and i'm already having crazy newborn lust, i may have a hard time stopping at only 2.
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#22 of 23 Old 10-14-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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Glad I found this thread. I'm struggling with this concept now. I always thought i'd have one child, and changed my mind when dd1 was 4. Now I have a 3 month old, dd2, and am already thinking about having another! I feel like something is wrong with me, since this is SO different than how I felt in the past. I just don't feel "done". DP is on board for another child sometime in the future as well, but then I get freaked out thinking about it b/c he's 42 and already had a heart attack... what if something more happens? What if he's out of our lives before our hypothetical third child is even 18? And is that a good reason to stop when i don't feel "done"?
Is this just a phase?
Why am i suddenly obsessing over this?
Etc etc.

Anyway thanks all for your responses, I'm off to read more of them in this my time of crisis.
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#23 of 23 Old 10-20-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aquarius aspiring View Post
How did you (and your partner) decide how many children to have? Did you have a set number in mind before even your first DC was born? I've been reading a lot of threads in which mamas aren't sure they're done having babies.
We always talked about "maybe two" "way down the road". I felt so fuzzy about it because motherhood seemed so incompatible with my academic world. But then I had several friends who waited until they were well established professionally who had a lot of fertility troubles. And then I had a really weird cycle where my period was 5 weeks late (and I had had very reliable cycles previously) and I took a bunch of pregnancy tests and I felt sad when they were negative...that's when I knew I really did want to be a mom and that I didn't want to wait any longer. The experience of pregnancy, birth, and helping my daughter grow has been amazing. And I've suprised myself by wanting to get pregnant again right now! (even though it is not sensible timing and we plan to wait a bit).

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Originally Posted by aquarius aspiring View Post
Of course, I know that anything could happen with fertility, pregnancy, birth, and children themselves. We could plan for three and end up only having one child.
This is very true. You are wise to be aware of this.

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Originally Posted by aquarius aspiring View Post
Another aspect would be finances. I would like to be a SAHM. DH has a good full-time job and so do I, but we'd have to live on one income if we had even one child.
I recommend trying to live on one income and put the other in savings before getting pregnant...will give you the opportunity to learn how to live off 1 income ahead of time so you'll be ready to do it later.

Just keep talking to each other, talk about how you'd feel in certain circumstances (infertility, special needs child, living more frugally etc...) and take it one day at a time

Mom to DD born March 2010, and someone new March 2012

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