2 Children Per Family? Why Is This The Norm? - Page 6 - Mothering Forums

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#151 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
I think when you get to the end of your life you are not going to regret the children you DID have but you may very well regret the ones you didn't.
Beautiful! :

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#152 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Interesting note: this was not a random happening. It was a deliberate association, spread in posters, public talks, etc by the birth control and eugenics movements. I studied the history of birth control last year (personal interest, not for school) and it was fascinating the way this was done. Many of the posters (in several different countries) were split images. A poor family with 4 or 5 children crammed into a dirty room everybody looking miserable. Then a happy family with one toddler and one baby, everybody with a big grin on their face and obviously materially well off. Another lovely one done in India was an advertisement for sterilization camps--a miserable hut set up on a truck bed with a large, poor family (real people) on display. "Avoid this. Get sterilized".

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#153 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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I'm writing a paper about coerced sterilization of Black women in the US (states and particularly Puerto Rico), and whoa, if some people only knew! Entire Native tribes have been sterilized with our taxpayer dollars, 1/3 of the island women in puerto rico, pregnant women (such as "illegal" mexican immigrant women" are still being coerced into sterilization being told "get your tubes tied if you want us to deliver your babe" at county hospitals. It's a crazy world out there.

My sis is a doc, and she told me she would insist that young teenage girls get the depo shot after they delivered when she did her ob rotation. Intentions seem good, but oh what an abusive way to go about population control.
I would love a copy of your paper to read

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#154 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Masel View Post
Is two the norm or the average. Looking through my friends and family I see a lot of 1s and 3s. Hardly any twos.

For myself I don't get a lot of say in the numbers. This month it has been ten years since I used any sort of birth control. I have one adopted daughter and am leaving for an IUI in about 10 minutes. We'll see how that goes. Getting to actually choose how many children you have is so alien to me!

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#155 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by channelofpeace View Post

I think there is this idea, at least in part, that since birth control is available, there is a duty to use it, and people that have larger families aren't doing their "duty" and are irresponsible.
I totally agree that people have this view.

I am asked often if I have ever heard of birth control.

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#156 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
"Is there really an earnest attempt being made to achieve zero population growth?"

I think some segments of the environmental movement are certainly pushing zpg. Our government most certainly is not - neither through our immigration policy or the emphasis on abstinence versus contraception.

I think the government certainly has an interest in promoting a larger family size -- its a little hard to have an army without young men (especially with China looming as our next potential world counterweight), or support social security and so on.

Yes, and when you are busy trying to support a larger family financially and practically, you have less time for activism, which suits the goverment very well.
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#157 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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Someone want to pm me and explain how to multi link? :

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#158 of 179 Old 11-09-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchymomofmany View Post
Six (almost seven) works for us several reasons:

I am a good Mom to all of my kids! I give each one of them lots of attention and focus. Fortunately, they get a lot of attention from each other too!

-I choose to homeschool all of my children. This enables them to get a high quality classical education that costs us very little. It also enables them to make lots of friends of all ages in a variety of different places (basketball, music lessons, climbing class, homeschool group, etc.)

-I choose to work with my husband at our home office. Fortunately, we are very able to do this together, work hard and include our children occasionally in a variety of tasks (our 12 year old loves to design graphics - and our 10 year old loves to go on "calls" to clients' offices and fix computers).

-I was fortunate to have six completely natural, very normal pregnancies and births.

-All of my kids were late!

I can't imagine having fewer children. I can't imagine only having two again!
I love having a big family - a chaotic house and all that goes with it! I of course, also never say this out loud to parents of "just" one or two.

Not a critique - just the other side of the coin, as it were!:-)
Oh I hear you, and I appreciate seeing the other side.

Honestly, the complications of my pregnancies/deliveries weighed much more heavily than other things when we were considering the number of children. Deciding to have 2 was difficult. But we really really wanted to have more than one child in our family. So the desire to have a more child-centered household & future - where our children would have each other, instead of just us or their friends or extended family - outweighed the risks of a second pregnancy for us. How we wanted natural, easy births. But "you can't always get what you want..." I've come to terms with it; its a reality for me, and I have to be practical in my decisions when it comes to my body & the safety of pregnancy for myself & future children.

And the second most heavily weighted issue... both of our patience/tolerance levels. For noise, general mayhem, you know... kid stuff. You thrive in it... I like to have my "adult" work time; and I know DH does as well - our business is very important to us. I also value my rare moments of solitude & quiet. I appreciate my children more when I have this time, and with more children, you definitely get less alone time. And homeschooling, while I see some great merits to it, was not the path I'd ever choose - knowing myself, and my husband, and our needs; while also knowing our gifted childrens' needs for contientious, attentive, child-directed education. Montessori fits our life perfectly.

For us, the decision to have two wasn't spur of the moment, and it wasn't planned ahead of time either - it just evolved. But it was definitely the right choice for us.

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#159 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 12:53 AM
 
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I strongly recommend everyone read Mother Nature by Dr Sarah Hrdy.

It is a sociobiological study of mothering behaviors - across cultures and across species - with a deep examination of human maternal behaviors.

To sum up one of her points, females of all species, including human, have always made very calculated decisions to optimize the ability of their offspring to survive to mate/reproduce.

What is surprising for us in our current wealthy environment is that this desire to optimize for their offspring does NOT mean that ALL children were prioritized - in fact, infanticide and abortion have been used throughout history as methods for women (and most species as well) to either protect themselves to survive (when having/caring for a child would be highly risky) or protect existing children. For example, the majority of the abandoned foundlings in Europe during the 17-19th centuries were by married women who already had three or so children.

Now, this is heartless, but then so is nature, and I think it is a hallmark of a society that women are not forced to make Sophie's choice. I think our society has much farther to go, but we are further down the road than many places in this world at this moment. And I think we can all agree that we want to work for a world where women are not forced to chose between their children or themselves.

The context of our society - the cost per child by the family to raise him/her combined with the cultural, physical and economic support for families - mixed with female empowerment over her body and individual circumstances per mother and per family - determinines family size.

And when we have a world with universal access to birth control (natural and artificial), we would see for the first time ever what family size women freely choose.

The glory is that there is no "one size fits all" answer -as pp's have said, there will be a range of family sizes - but we will see a few answers that are very popular for very similar reasons.

Please note, I am not saying that all women SHOULD use birth control - but rather that all women should be given the choice and access to use birth control - including limiting intercourse - because this is the core of female empowerment.

Okay, off my soapbox.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#160 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 01:09 AM
 
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I guess because it is their CHOICE and that is okay! I do feel a little irked when my choice to want more children is not respected....
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#161 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 01:40 AM
 
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Very interesting thread...

Before I had my sons I always said I wanted 4 kids and my family and friends who already had kids would make snide remarks or just didn't take me seriously. Now I realize why.

I feel like in this fast paced world where both parents often have to work out of financial necessity, where there is so little time to give kids the full attention they want and need, where the mom often ends up pulling much more of the load of housework and childrearing than the man, and where everything is so expensive...people who have been there and had more than 2 kids or even just 2 project their own experiences (their own feeling of being overwhelmed, stetched too thin, the feeling of "what have I gotten myself into?") onto women who say they want a large family.

I used to resent it, but now I really get it. I don't know how I would handle any more kids at this point in time. I don't have the energy, money, time, or desire to have any more. Not to say I won't want to have just one more in 5 or 10 years, but at this point, I have moved over to the side of the fence where my mom and grandma are sitting saying "4 kids? are you nuts?" Not that I would ever say that to anyone.

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#162 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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Cuz being pregnant was no fun! I still can't listen to certain songs, because they remind me of morning sickness. (which I had all day)

My mother claims two kids are perfect, because cars come with four doors, tables come with four chairs, moms only have two hands.... (she had other reasons, those are all I can remember)

When I would ask her for a baby brother, she would say "We only have a volkswagon, there's no place for a baby to sit". (seemed to make sense at the time)
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#163 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 02:28 AM
 
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Before i actually had kids, i wanted a big family(like 5-6 kids). Then i actually had one. I was shocked at the amount of work he required. How much of myself i had to give , and i knew that i could not handle 5 kids. No way. (much kudos to those of you with big families!) I knew i didn't want to just have one though, so we had one more. We are done, i am done. I am maxed out.
My body can't handle more pregnancies, my mind can't handle more babies.
We can always afford the two we have. We can all fit in a one bedroom apt. if necessary, we fit into a small car, we can pay for the things they need, even when we have no money. It makes sense to us.
Other things which have been mentioned such as amusement park rides, and no one getting ganged up on, were also thought about. Plus, i knew i wanted to work, and there is no way we could afford daycare costs for a high number of kids.

I have 2 kids because that is how many i want, not because i think its the norm, or what is expected of me. I can't believe people (not at mdc) even feel they have the right to question others on their birth choices. I don't really care or think about others family sizes except in passing, more along the lines of "wow, i wish i was that patient, or i had the funds/desire/ablity to have a big family" rather than "geez, don't they know about birth control".
One thing i can't understand is people who have more only to try for the other sex. I think this is strange, i don't understand the urge, but then again i have one of each .

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#164 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 02:35 AM
 
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I know that there are a myriad of reasons for why people are having 2 children, (or choosing to have 2, or just saying 2 is best). However, IMO, the number one reason people are having less kids is financial. I know DH is scared to death to have more because of $$$ and many people we talk to feel the same way. The second most common reason I hear is because of the amount of work each child requires. In today's day and age, everything is FASTFASTFAST and immediate and everything is go go go. Kids slow us down, I guess? We're more selfish than ever before. So many of our childless friends say that kids would hamper their fun, their partying, and their career aspirations.
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#165 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 02:55 AM
 
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We're more selfish than ever before. So many of our childless friends say that kids would hamper their fun, their partying, and their career aspirations.
Which is true. And I think it takes a very self-aware person to aknowledge that & still choose not to have a child, amidst a culture which expects people to procreate. I'm not sure its selfish.

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#166 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 10:20 PM
 
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We've just had our first, but I am already thinking to the future. It seems like I am tired all of the time, so I can't imagine having a toddler and still doing all of the breastfeeding/late nights. With more than two, I don't know if I could handle it. Any tips?

PS-much respect to those who can handle several kids at once, now that I am a parent, I appreciate how challenging that must be.

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#167 of 179 Old 11-10-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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"I'm not sure its selfish."

Yup. In fact, I think not wanting a kid and having one anyway to satisfy your parents, your friends, your spouse or your culture is far more selfish.
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#168 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 12:16 AM
 
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My MIL was pushing DH to get a vasectomy and me to get a tubal ligation after our second son was born. She was annoyed when she found out we were expecting our third, continued to harass DH to get a vasectomy after our third was born, and came completely unglued when she found out I was pregnant with my fourth. She harasses my DH MONTHLY about getting a vasectomy.

I guess she hasn't quite figured out that harassing her son to do something doesn't work, and has finally figured out NOT to harass me about it.

I'm not going to try to coerce or harass DH into getting a vasectomy. It's his body, thus not my decision.
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#169 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 12:21 AM
 
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I see an interesting contrast here... While most people can't understand having more then two kids and people who do get strangers and family commenting, there are people in the world who comment about not wanting more then one or not wanting any at all... and of course DH and I have had people express the idea that we shouldn't have kids at all...

People need to stop trying to control other families and care about their own families.

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#170 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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I'm from a big family. My mom says that the change in the amount of work going from one kid to two is exponential. After that it's just additive. I think with greater than two, you get economies of scale.
This is how it has been for us Two was the most difficult adjustment for me. After that, it is just additive.

And someone said what if the two don't get along? Well, I only grew up with one of my siblings and it was cat & dog fights all the time. My children always have someone else to go to or a sibling to stick up for them

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#171 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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OP, I have experienced the weird comments when we announced that we were expecting our third child. Even family members that grew up in families with four children, stated things like "Haven't you ever heard of birth control?" (and we are Catholic, and don't believe in chemical birth control, so it was especially strange... like you are surprised that a Catholic family is having more then two kids, when we welcome and celebrate life) and the like. It was really bothersome... and confusing. Three children didn't seem that radical, until we were expecting our third!


I haven't read the entire thread, but I look forward to it... because I've wondered this as well. It seems like now in many places having more then one child is weird... What else would we do? Buy more stuff? Read another book? spend more time on the computer? I can't see how this stuff seems more desirable then having a lovely infinite human to love... And I do think that siblings are a gift for my children, and will benefit their lives more then a new toy or whatever else we would do instead of playing with our baby.


And as far as the environment, our family of five lives in a very environmentally friendly manner. We eat vegan 95 per cent of the time, don't consume the garbage, etc. We are just pro-human :

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#172 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 05:27 AM
 
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"What else would we do? Buy more stuff? Read another book? spend more time on the computer? I can't see how this stuff seems more desirable then having a lovely infinite human to love... "

But love is only part of the equation. Its also a lovely infinite human to be responsible for.

Everyone has different levels of responsibility that they feel comfortable with -- some people want to be firemen or police, and others would never want to be that responsible for other people's lives and safety. Some people have other areas of significant responsibility -- caring for elderly family, or a job with lots of responsibility that limit what they feel they can additionally take on.
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#173 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 07:05 AM
 
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I don't have any simple answer but I agree that there is a stereotype going on. I am on the other side of the spectrum.. I have on kid and everyone else is asking about number two without even considering that we might be fulfilled and complete.. so much preassure.
we live in funny times in that regards.

other posters had such a deep and good coments that I stop here.
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#174 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 11:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Cardinal View Post
I know that there are a myriad of reasons for why people are having 2 children, (or choosing to have 2, or just saying 2 is best). However, IMO, the number one reason people are having less kids is financial. I know DH is scared to death to have more because of $$$ and many people we talk to feel the same way. The second most common reason I hear is because of the amount of work each child requires. In today's day and age, everything is FASTFASTFAST and immediate and everything is go go go. Kids slow us down, I guess? We're more selfish than ever before. So many of our childless friends say that kids would hamper their fun, their partying, and their career aspirations.
More selfish or maybe more honest? We waited for a long while to have kids after we got married because we wanted time to just be a couple, have fun, party, travel, eat out and work. Got it out of our system in time to be parents and it was worth it. I would do it again if had to do over.

And yes, $$ is a big reason for stopping at 2. We are not trying for the boy and I realized while still carrying Maggie, this was it. But we count our blessings and just love the children we have each and everyday.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#175 of 179 Old 11-11-2008, 11:43 AM
 
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I think people have touched on a number of reasons why "2 is best", as stated*.

1.) Financial constraints
2.) Time constraints
3.) Population issues

*I phrased my post in a way to respond to the OP. I was not stating I think two is best, etc.
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#176 of 179 Old 12-03-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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I love having two girls and while dh said it would have been nice to have a son, he was thrilled to see our second dd on the ultrasound and finding out he was having another baby girl. We get asked a lot if we are going to try for a boy, as if that would somehow complete us. Frankly, I find same gender families more satisfying, probably because I came from one, and all my cousins are all girls, no boys so no one had any brothers. IME, their bonds are stronger. Why do people think that one boy and one girl are so ideal, and if you have two or three of the same, someone's missing? Maybe if I had had one boy, one girl I might have wanted a third more strongly, simply because I grew up with a sister and we had so much fun doing sisterly, girly things so I part of me would want to see that same-gender bond in my own kids. I don't think it would have mattered whether the third was a boy or girl. It's strange, but most of the couples I know that are on the fence about a third have one of each. It seems those with two of the same are more likely to be content with that. I also think a lot of people refrain from more kids because of budgetary constraints. I have dd in a bilingual preschool 2x a week. I would love to have her in there 3x a week. I cannot afford it. It is very important for us that our kids be bilingual, since dh's family members don't speak English. Dd has been begging for ballet lessons. Can't afford them. It breaks my heart that I cannot give her that, so why would I bring another child into the mix and further stress our finances? I would LOVE to have a third child, boy or girl, but finances, travel, and worry about my other kids getting enough attention top my list of reasons why not to, and also on the list are more dark reasons like I am not sure how like civilization as we know it is going to be around, America is no longer the land of opportunity, what will jobs be like in 20 years with the rest of the earth to compete with instead of just your fellow citizens? I am not sure college will bear many fruits if that is the case. It will be a requirement like high school is now, perhaps, but not necessarily a big advantage. I have a BA and it hasn't helped me at all except got me into a couple temporary gigs grading ISAT tests for $12 an hour. I know it sounds really sad, but I am really glad my daughters are beauties, because things are only going to get harder in life and maybe if they cannot compete career-wise, they can marry someone who can. Gosh that goes against everything I've always stood for, but life is getting so tough in this country and globalization is ensuring it is only going to get tougher. Dh's aunt has a daughter, their only child, and she has had great success because she is beautiful. She got right into TV journalism right out of college. Life is easier for her. She has a charmed life at 22! Btw, her parents spoiled her rotten and she turned out just fine, so I don't necessarily agree with ideas about bigger families turning out more grateful, appreciative, empathetic kids. My mom was one of four - three of them being extremely selfish and my mom being the only sweet, giving one. My grandma always said she regretted having so many kids, and 4 wasn't even so big in the 40s and 50s. She claimed up until she died that it ruined her marriage. I have to admit she scared me into thinking 3 or more kids would really hurt my marriage.:
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#177 of 179 Old 12-03-2008, 07:56 PM
 
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I wish I had read this thread yesterday!! Last night I got into a discussion with my MIL about population growth & control, and she has some very strong views on the subject.

I agreed with her in some respects. I agree that it would be better for the environment, and for general human sustainability, if people didn't have so many children. As an economist working in public policy issues I understand the problems with social security and an aging population, but I don't think that necessarily trumps the environmental havoc being wrecked on our planet.

However, I think that most people make their decisions about having kids way outside of those macro public good issues. And I don't know if we should try to change this.

When we got into a discussion of the developing countries population growth, that's when I really had to bite my tongue. My MIL thinks that if you go around and ask women in India and Africa how many children is enough they would say 3 or 4, maybe 5. And she's right, some would. In fact, in some communities most would, some would even want fewer. Some are having fewer. But she refused to believe that there are women out there who really just want to keep having babies. Who enjoy having babies, even though they don't really have any money for them. She has never lived in a developing country, she doesn't realize that for some women, babies are the happy part of a pretty bleak life. NOT ALL WOMEN. And not all women in poor communities. But yes, many women really do feel that way.

That's why population control programs often focus on economically empowering women- because when they have something else to focus on, some other part of life to feel excited about and in control of, besides babies, they might have fewer babies. Not all women. We know that because there are women on this forum who are educated and do not live in poverty and still choose to have lots of babies. So that's not all it is. But I do believe that on average, the more educated & empowered the women are, the more choices they have, the fewer children they will choose to have. Statistically speaking.

And that's why I'm in favor of programs that work toward economic empowerment. That way, the number of children women decide to have is really a choice. If you're educated and have lots of options, but still choose the option of spending a great portion of your productive years taking care of your young, then yeah, go for it. But if you're just doing it because that's all you've got.. it's not a choice, and it's not good. It's slavery.

Personally, I'm thinking I'll have two. I'm pregnant with #1 right now. But a lot about the future is uncertain. I'm 33, DH is 46, and we're moving across country without jobs. If things are really hard for us, we might just stick with the one. But I don't think so.. we both had a sibling, and we both think siblings are important. I'd consider 3, maybe.. if we were younger I'd say it's a good possibility.
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#178 of 179 Old 12-03-2008, 09:59 PM
 
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The sad thing however is that some people DO think you are uneducated and downright stupid if you choose to have a larger family. For us, we have choosen to trust God with our family planning and we are really comfortable with this.... however, I have noticed people going from having a great intelligent conversation with me to looking at me like my brain has turned into yoghurt that has gone off, when they find out that I have 6 kids and one on the way!
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#179 of 179 Old 12-04-2008, 01:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mokey4 View Post
And that's why I'm in favor of programs that work toward economic empowerment. That way, the number of children women decide to have is really a choice.
I agree! I'm so glad you brought this up

Education is the best birth control! I forget the stats but it's something like a 4th grade education drops birth rates by 80%... or something dramatic like that. AND, that's just general education, not reproductive education. I really feel like womens education is the answer to this whole debate
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