How Many Kids

Dear yayas,

How do you know when you’re “done” having kids? We have two children–one boy and one girl–and I just don’t feel like I’m done having babies. My partner is on the fence. We know there’s a lot of factors to consider, but does this feeling of wanting more ever go away? 

– Pondering in Pomona

I had 7 kids. I never thought about it. Every time I found out I was having another baby, I was just so excited. Things are so different nowadays. People plan and all that. I always knew from the time I was a little kid that I wanted to have babies. I always wanted a lot of babies. My husband and I, we both wanted a big family and didn’t make plans. I was always so thrilled when I found out I was having another baby (although with my last one, the baby dropped so much, I did think “oh, I don’t know…!”). No one ever talked about it. We would never say someone was pregnant when I was a kid in the 30s & 40s. Then when I got married in the early 50s, things were more talked about except women wore smocks and never wore regular clothes during pregnancy. They’d never even say “pregnant” they would say, “she’s expecting a baby” or “she’s in the family way.” You know, my dad weighed 15lbs when he was born. It was wrote up in the newspaper and people would ride their horses over to their house and knock on the door and ask if they could see the big baby. It’s just so different nowadays… – Grama Claire Bear

Dear Pondering in Pomona… Girl, you are speaking to my heart with this question! My husband feels done, that our family is complete. I feel like I have more love in my heart for another baby. We both have been trying to be open to the other’s feelings, and while I would totally be thrilled to be pregnant again, I am coming to a point where I’m more than ok with the beautiful family I have. I don’t feel like I’m lacking anything, it’s more of a feeling that there’s just more love to go around here. So, in my case, so far, I don’t know if that yearning will ever completely go away. But it holds so much beauty in the reminder that there is more love in family for me. I think the key is finding peace in what you have and where you are in life; then, even if the feeling is still there, you will still have contentment and not resentment. – Cortney

Dear Pondering, I get it! I always knew I wanted at least 3 kids (we have 3). But I also knew I wanted to raise 3 kids with a partner who wanted the same. It’s hard to know what having kids is like until you have them. I think the same thing is true about number of kids…it’s hard to know what having 4 kids is like until you have 4 kids. It’s just an idea until reality sinks in. I love the baby stage. I’ve always wondered if loving the baby stage has something to do with the wanting more kids. I love the idea of a new baby, but I also feel very content with the number of children we have. I can see the next chapter unfolding if we only have the 3–the kids are growing so fast. Maybe that has something to do with it, too. Kids grow so, so fast. I wonder if wanting more is our way of wanting time to slow down…? I always wanted to be a mom & I love kids–those notions have tugged on my heart for my whole life. Perhaps it’s fair to assume that they always will. There are a lot of individual factors to consider when deciding on the perfect number for your family. I’m not sure there is an answer to this question…please know you’re not alone. Aloha, Lori Beth

Having a family is such a huge decision with so many factors to consider. It’s also such a unique situation for each partnership that I find it really hard to offer too much advice. We have two children in our family, and after getting adjusted to life as a family of four, my husband and I both had the feeling that our family is perfect just as it is. It still warms my heart to see a newborn baby, and I have the bittersweet feelings when my “babies” outgrow something else – I don’t expect those feelings to ever go away. Though when my thoughts and focus started turning more ahead and looking forward to the next ages and stages with my children, I knew that our family was complete. – Diana

Hello Pondering! I love your question, as I am married to an “engineer-minded” man who had his own logic regarding us being “done” having kids. Before we got married we’d decided we would be happy with somewhere between 2-4 kids. Once we had one, we knew that kid, Lord willing, needed a sibling! After we were blessed with two healthy children, both boys, my husband said, “So, do you think we should try for a third? Because, I’m pretty sure if we have a third child we’ll be done. But if we only have two we will always wonder if we should have had three. But if we have a third, we will know we are done.” For us, there was a bit of wanting to be ready to move on with our lives, give away baby toys and clothes as the children grew out of them, since we have three boys, knowing we could plan trips as they grow older together. So, that was our logic, as it is, and we were extremely blessed to have been given these three healthy boys and have our “plans” go…as planned. Having said that, I know a couple who didn’t get pregnant until they were in their late thirties & have stopped at one because they can’t imagine traveling without their child and were ready to take her on a million adventures with them, and one who the wife had such a terrible pregnancy she didn’t feel she could go through it again. Another couple I know stopped at two because they figured that was what they could afford reasonably and be able to do things for their children like help them pay for college. Point being, perhaps you can ask your partner why he is on the fence? It seems like people I know who truly have decided they are “done” generally have some sort of agreed upon logic for it. For me, I was totally happy with three—my husband works a lot and including a lot of weekends. I know where there is a will there is a way & people juggle more kids than I have, but three kids is about the max I was capable of juggling activities, school, bedtime, feeding, etc. on my own on those days when my husband just isn’t available to help. Lots of things to consider, but all things you should definitely discuss with your husband and make this decision together. I hope this helps in some way. – Lorelei

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