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How did you know you were done adding to your family?


mommyoffive
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Maths.

 

How many kids could we put through university?

 

How many kids could we travel with?

 

How many kids could we give the lifestyle we wanted for them (and us)?

 

How many kids could we save in the event of a catastrophe?

 

There was a brief patch where I wanted to make an emotional decision to have another, but maths won, and I'm very grateful. I like my kids and I like our life.

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Maths.

 

How many kids could we put through university?

 

How many kids could we travel with?

 

How many kids could we give the lifestyle we wanted for them (and us)?

 

To each his own, but for our family, these things are luxuries and not reasons to avoid the blessing of another child. If somebody could guarantee that baby #4 would be healthy, I would go for it in a heartbeat even if that means less money available to help pay for college or travel.

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22yo-We had a boy (unplanned) who had sever health issues until age 4

24yo-We lost a planned pg at 22 weeks

26yo-We had a girl with an extra stressful pregnancy and testing due to above.

27yo-We were done, and dh had a vasectomy.

30yo-I had ablation so I couldn't have carried a baby if I wanted to.

 

We had a boy. We had a girl. We were done. Dh couldn't have more. I couldn't have more. We were happy and content. 

 

36yo-I get a phone call from CPS.  Can you take your nieces newborn baby girl for a few months......That was 9 years ago.  

40yo-I get a phone call from CPS.  Can you take your nieces newborn baby boy too.....I said NOPE! No Way. Don't ask again. I was so far from done, that I considered blocking their number.  Lesson learned.  When your brain says you are done. Be done and don't answer the phone! 

 

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How many children we could manage emotionally and financially.  

 

I have nothing against people with large families and large resources.  I also don't have a problem with poor people having a couple of kids, even if they will need support - I wouldn't deny them that opportunity.  However, if I deliberately had more children, knowing that government or private charitable funds would be necessary to support that, it would seem, to me, an abdication of responsibility.  

 

I do not express this in word or deed individually to anyone who has made other choices.  I pay my taxes happily to support the children who are already here.

Edited by Laura Corin
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Maths.

 

How many kids could we put through university?

 

How many kids could we travel with?

 

How many kids could we give the lifestyle we wanted for them (and us)?

 

How many kids could we save in the event of a catastrophe?

 

There was a brief patch where I wanted to make an emotional decision to have another, but maths won, and I'm very grateful. I like my kids and I like our life.

 

That pretty much describes our thinking, too.

 

We didn't want kids to outnumber parents. We don't enjoy chaos, and looking into the future (upper elementary and middle school years) it was easy to visualize that two parents trying to get more than two kids to activities at the same time wouldn't be something we would enjoy.

 

We wanted to be able to afford to put them through college debt free. I guess "wanted" is too mild a word there. It was (and is) a huge priority for us.(Please note I very intentionally used "we" and "us" there. I'm not saying that should be a priority for everyone.)

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Maths.

 

How many kids could we put through university?

 

How many kids could we travel with?

 

How many kids could we give the lifestyle we wanted for them (and us)?

 

These were extremely important for us too.  We wanted kids who could join us in our (traveling) lifestyle and we wanted to be able to support them through college and into starting their adult life (post college).

 

It's also extremely common in our circles for families to have 1-3 kids.  My mom was #2 of 6 and there were/are a couple of friend exceptions who had 4 (plus another one who adopted most of their 7), but I think all of these things contributed both to our thoughts and our not having regrets to stop at 2 (with God giving us our third - and we're still content, but made sure there were no more).

 

Even with working in the public school for 16 years, this board is the only place where it seems normal (in my life) to have quite a few kids.  Nothing is wrong with it, of course, it's just wildly different from my other typical places to hang out.

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Ok, for those of us who like stats...  :tongue_smilie:  I quickly googled a Pew Research survey.  It actually IS common to have 1-3 kids.  It's not my imagination or particular circles.

 

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/05/07/family-size-among-mothers/

 

(I also still see no problem with those who opt for more if that's their preference.  We all get to make our choices.)

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I have four children. I know a lot of families that have 1-3, but having four or more is more unusual.

 

We are an international adoption family. I knew I wanted more than two. With two little ones, I still felt that our family was not complete. But I didn't want three. I grew up as the middle child in a family of three children, and I felt that someone was always left out. I wanted an even number of children.

 

The adoption process was rigorous, though, and it was harder to to manage getting to appointments and doing tons of paperwork with small children in tow. So we decided that we needed to adopt the final two at the same time. We felt that if we only had one, we would not manage to repeat the process for a fourth. When my final children joined our family, we had an almost 4 year old, a 17 month old, a 9 month old, and a 5 month old.

 

I was really tired for a very long time.

 

We didn't realize at the time that my second child was going to be both so intense to raise as a toddler (and older), and that he would also be younger developmentally for his age. Those first two years were a bear and cured me of any desire to add more children to my family. I was obviously not just done, but over done.

 

I'm still tired, eleven years later.

 

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I was one of 5 kids. My husband comes from a family of 9. I was one of the older ones, he was one of the younger ones. There are issues there that I won't bring up in this thread.

 

When we got married, I was planning on 3 kids 4 yrs apart. By the 2nd one, we had fertility issues so they were 7 years apart. I decided that I did not want to go through treatment again, so we would only have another if it happened without medical intervention.

 

My youngest is in high school now. I am moving on to the next stage of life with adult children.

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We have 5, from 20 yrs old to almost 2. Thank God no losses or miscarriages. Dh was done at 4. For some. I just knew there was one more, and several times even knew he was a boy. It was painful to see every year pass and realize baby number 5 was not coming. He eventually came, I was almost 38 when we had him (less than 2 weeks shy from 38).

 

If we go by pregnancies, deliveries etc we could have a dozen. My pregnancies and deliveries are really easy for most part. But, both dh and I are almost 40, we are drained. 5 is good.

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I don't know. We haven't. We have learned though that we have minimal say in the matter. If we had our druthers, we'd have 4. I've had a slew of miscarriages, the first one in my early 20s and the last one about 1 year ago. The boys are the only ones that stuck. There's not a lot that can be done to make me stay pregnant. Getting pregnant isn't especially hard but my miscarriage odds are super high. Crazy super high.

 

If I hadn't have had my last two early second trimester pregnancy losses, we would have a 4 year old and an infant. That would be done for me.

 

As it is, we are in a don't try, don't prevent mode and will see if anything happens. I'm 36 though and we are both thinking we might permanently prevent in a few years. As our youngest (who is turning 8 soon) gets older, we do see some positives in only being 46 when he's done with high school.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Very subjectively. I felt there was "one more." And that 5th pregnancy was very hard, and he was a very hard baby. But I'm super glad he's here. :)

 

I am much more logical now, and much more sobered by the financial realities of supporting these kids. If we had started in our late thirties rather than early twenties, we may have only had two. But I'm glad we made the decision when we were young and naive, or some of my darlings might not be here, and they are all amazing people. 

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I just want to say, for the OP or anyone else reading along, that even if you want another kid like your next breath for 12 years; even if you think about, pray for, hope and beg for another child, through any avenue, for over a decade; if that additional baby/babies do not materialize, you will not die. You might not even "regret it for the rest of your life." A point will come in your reproductive life where things may turn and you may stop wanting that entirely and you may even start thinking, "whew! I'm glad youngest is 12 and I'm tapering off on all the active parenting."

 

I did not want to end up with "just" 3 living kids. I posted about it multiple times on these boards. DH is 8 years older than me; we have had bad outcomes. He said NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo. For over ten years, he said no. I felt he was wrong; dreamed about the children I was going to bear and adopt; picked out their names; read books and websites that would never pertain to me. Took it as a "sign" when my over-40 homeschool friends had a surprise baby. More than one had two bonus kids. Surely I would not end up with the utterly pedestrian 3 kids!

 

But as I passed 42-43ish, the desire turned off like a lightswitch. My most recent friend to have a surprise baby left me thinking, "Whew! Better you than me!" And I NEVER imagined I would think that. I am now content to pour myself into getting these three kids successfully up and launched, afterwhich I can spend most of my time purely on what *I* want to do. Now that I have great nieces and nephews, and presumably will be a grandmother at some point in the next decade or so, I am content to knit pretty things for them, hold and love on them, watch their cuteness and laugh at the way they say "hippnopotomus" and then GO HOME BY MYSELF. :D

 

I love big families and dreamed of having my six or seven ducklings trooping along behind me while everyone remarked about how crazy I must be. I wanted to adopt at least two kids; I still have great admiration for my friends who have welcomed children into their families in a redemptive way. But now, at 45, I am content.

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We had thought we'd want two. DH is the older of two and I'm the oldest of five, and we knew it wouldn't be more than two for us.

 

Once we had DS, though, the need for another was gone, for both DH and me. We were done.

 

If you'd told me when DS was 4 that I could be guaranteed another boy, but this one a healthy, full-term, easygoing great sleeper, I probably would've gone for it, but otherwise, just nope.

 

No regrets, even when I see other people's sweet little babies. And I'm seeing the convenience of never having to deal with competing schedules, not needing a larger vehicle, etc.

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I was in my late 30's when I had my 3rd and I didn't want to go beyond that point. 

 

I worry about finances.  Right now Subaru outback is fine, but with the 4th we would need a different car, travel would be harder, everything else as well. 

 

I am old and tired...I thought I was done, but seeing my 5yr old no longer being a "baby" makes my heart hurt a little.

 

My husband would probably have more, but I am the realistic one in the family, so we are done.

 

FTR, I think 4 would be a perfect number, but that's just my theory :)

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When pregnancy number 2 finished with pre term labor again, and the discovery of a pre aged placenta. The placenta looked and felt old. They sent a sample to the pathologist and the report was that he would have died if we had attempted to maintain the pregnancy longer. After that, plus DH severe post partum depression (leaving me with a very sick baby and a two year old we later found to have special needs), I said no more. But I felt it wasn't quite over. DD was born five years later. We felt complete and it's done now.

 

Mostly. Lol. DH works in pediatric units as a nurse, so it hits him frequently. Adoption isn't off the table, but we're not pursuing it right now.

Edited by Elizabeth 2
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We wanted to retire early and travel. So taking into consideration what you may want to be doing say at 50 may help, do you to go back to school, continue where you left off in your career, travel, be attending pta meetings, attending scout meetings, running kids around to sports practice,

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We were surprised by #4 who arrived six years after #3. She is a blessing and a delight, but the entire pregnancy was absolutely miserable and I do not ever want to have to go through that again! I also feel very maxed out with the children we have, even though my heart would like to adopt half the world.

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My most recent friend to have a surprise baby left me thinking, "Whew! Better you than me!" And I NEVER imagined I would think that. I am now content to pour myself into getting these three kids successfully up and launched, afterwhich I can spend most of my time purely on what *I* want to do. Now that I have great nieces and nephews, and presumably will be a grandmother at some point in the next decade or so, I am content to knit pretty things for them, hold and love on them, watch their cuteness and laugh at the way they say "hippnopotomus" and then GO HOME BY MYSELF. :D

 

We got to our place from different perspectives, but I'm right there with you now.  Empty nesting is pretty darn good and we're young enough to still contemplate what we want to be when we grow up.   :lol:

 

I really enjoyed our parenting years and I love when my boys visit, but I'm solidly content and also enjoy not having to do tons of parenting things now.  I can't fathom starting over or even being partially where we're at at this point.  I enjoy teaching kids, but I also enjoy letting others raise them (now)!

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  However, if I deliberately had more children, knowing that government or private charitable funds would be necessary to support that, it would seem, to me, an abdication of responsibility. 

 

This I agree with. If your family's resources cannot cover the basics of housing, medical care, food, clothing from a thrift shop, etc. then it's irresponsible to try for another baby. Obviously people can still wind up pregnant despite trying to avoid that happening and in that situation, carrying the baby to term is the only moral choice. But there's a difference between having an oopsie baby and deliberately conceiving a child whom you cannot support.

 

What I disagree with is limiting family size because of a desire to maintain a lavish lifestyle. Finances should only come into play IMHO when we're talking true necessities rather than luxuries like travel, extracurricular activities, private school and college tuition, etc. People are free to make their own life decisions, but ultimately those decisions will be judged by a higher power. And it's pretty clear to me when reading my Bible how Jesus views materialism.

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This I agree with. If your family's resources cannot cover the basics of housing, medical care, food, clothing from a thrift shop, etc. then it's irresponsible to try for another baby. Obviously people can still wind up pregnant despite trying to avoid that happening and in that situation, carrying the baby to term is the only moral choice. But there's a difference between having an oopsie baby and deliberately conceiving a child whom you cannot support.

 

What I disagree with is limiting family size because of a desire to maintain a lavish lifestyle. Finances should only come into play IMHO when we're talking true necessities rather than luxuries like travel, extracurricular activities, private school and college tuition, etc. People are free to make their own life decisions, but ultimately those decisions will be judged by a higher power. And it's pretty clear to me when reading my Bible how Jesus views materialism.

 

For us, college tuition was part of the calculation, not a luxury - it is part of parenting in our view.

 

For the rest: a higher power was not part of the equation for us, and I don't feel qualified to draw a line between necessities (I rarely eat out but some find that to be a normal family expense; British houses are tiny compared to the standard American house, etc.) and 'materialism'.

Edited by Laura Corin
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This I agree with. If your family's resources cannot cover the basics of housing, medical care, food, clothing from a thrift shop, etc. then it's irresponsible to try for another baby. Obviously people can still wind up pregnant despite trying to avoid that happening and in that situation, carrying the baby to term is the only moral choice. But there's a difference between having an oopsie baby and deliberately conceiving a child whom you cannot support.

 

What I disagree with is limiting family size because of a desire to maintain a lavish lifestyle. Finances should only come into play IMHO when we're talking true necessities rather than luxuries like travel, extracurricular activities, private school and college tuition, etc. People are free to make their own life decisions, but ultimately those decisions will be judged by a higher power. And it's pretty clear to me when reading my Bible how Jesus views materialism.

And I'm going to disagree with you, there. One man's lavish is another man's normal. Some people are more interested in living in comfort than in having a large family yet barely scraping by. Children are also costly in terms far beyond monetary considerations and YES a parent can exceed the number of children for whom they have the patience and the sustained interest in raising well.

 

While I agree that people who don't know from whence their next meal will come should not plan to have more children/children at all. AND should take all reasonable measures to prevent it, I also don't think the standard is if I can just afford a roof over our heads and to make sure they get necessary medical care.

 

College and extracurriculars and private school are not exactly luxuries (to me) as you describe. I grew up in a family who had no aspirations for daughters attending college and no apparent thought was given to how five kids were going to have marketable skills that could actually put bread on the table. I would not do this, personally. I would rather have three kids for whom I am reasonably confident we can guide them successfully into adulthood, including college/trade school and a car to use, than have ten kids whom I'm hoping can marry well or join the military or be a good entrepreneur or get some windfall scholarship but-I-really-don't-know-how-they'll-get-going-in-life.

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What I disagree with is limiting family size because of a desire to maintain a lavish lifestyle. Finances should only come into play IMHO when we're talking true necessities rather than luxuries like travel, extracurricular activities, private school and college tuition, etc. People are free to make their own life decisions, but ultimately those decisions will be judged by a higher power. And it's pretty clear to me when reading my Bible how Jesus views materialism.

 

Hmm, I believe I read the same Bible describing the same Jesus and yet I have no fear about meeting my Savior someday.  ;)

 

I'm quite confident that He won't mind what our kids have been able to do or who they've become either.  I think He'll be pleased that we have gone places and truly admired His creation leading them to having a great interest in taking care of it for future generations.  I think He'll be pleased that our kids went to college and went (or will be going) on from there to decent jobs.  I'm pretty sure He's not upset with soccer or raising ponies or scuba or whatever either.

 

I don't see any of those types of things listed in the (7) Things God Hates:

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+6:16-19

 

or things that get folks lined up into sheep or goats:

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25:31-46

 

It's the person and their inner self that matters, not how many kids they decide to have.

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This I agree with. If your family's resources cannot cover the basics of housing, medical care, food, clothing from a thrift shop, etc. then it's irresponsible to try for another baby. Obviously people can still wind up pregnant despite trying to avoid that happening and in that situation, carrying the baby to term is the only moral choice. But there's a difference between having an oopsie baby and deliberately conceiving a child whom you cannot support.

 

What I disagree with is limiting family size because of a desire to maintain a lavish lifestyle. Finances should only come into play IMHO when we're talking true necessities rather than luxuries like travel, extracurricular activities, private school and college tuition, etc. People are free to make their own life decisions, but ultimately those decisions will be judged by a higher power. And it's pretty clear to me when reading my Bible how Jesus views materialism.

 

I agree with your first paragraph and disagree with your second.

 

We had a college student found a job as an intern and he stayed with us over the summer. He came from a large family with very limited resources. He grew up in a rural setting, and there weren't funds for him to take classes or lessons. Travel sounded like day trips here and there. His day-to-day life sounded isolating despite the number of siblings.

 

This kid was so underexposed to...life. He was also saddled with debt for his college education. I felt really bad for him. It sounded like a loving family but had very limited options growing up. 

 

He's going to be alright because he was gifted with remarkable intelligence. He graduated with an in-demand degree and is already traveling. I'm very happy for him. If he hadn't had the intellect for a marketable and well-paying degree, I'm not sure the story would've ended so well. 

 

I look at the way he grew up and his parents could "afford" their multure of children as they provided food and shelter and love. That's great. However, the rest of it sounded depressing. It was not a well-rounded or flourishing childhood. I don't think it's materialistic to want more than that for my children. 

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My travel was day trips, we didn't have lessons in anything, or extra classes. We attended public school. I still feel I had a well rounded childhood. If one wants to provide foreign travel, classes, etc, great. But it's not needed to be happy. 

 

If someone is in traditional school but doesn't have outside classes or travel, they are still being exposed to other people and situations outside the walls of their house.

 

But if someone is homeschooled, the parent is in charge of the daily surroundings. If they don't have lessons or extra classes or fairly regular outings and live in a rural environment, it is an isolating childhood. 

 

This isn't abusive by any means, but it's not an environment I would want for my child. I know this is a choice that many make. i.e. "your siblings are your friends" My point is that it's not materialistic to want to provide your children more than that. It is my opinion that the isolation is not a great environment for a child. If that was all I could provide, I would enroll them in school so they would have more exposure than I was able to give. 

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I think I will always long to have more. I always pictured myself with a large family except for a very short period when I nannied and got into environmental issues. My dh was mixed on having the third child and did not want anymore after having 3. I do not want to have a kid that is not wanted by one parent and our relationship has a lot of bumps and is not the strongest. I really wish I had more kids. I love babies and watching them grow up and seeing little personalities come out. I know time goes fast but I wish I could experience those little stages again. I love the idea of lots of adult children and grandchildren in the future but it will not happen and I at least got to have 3.

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In regards to some previous comments, I honestly wonder how many people in America would be qualified to reproduce if it was considered basic financial responsibility to be able to send each individual offspring through college debt free.

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I was 39 when #6 was born and a massive pulmonary embolism (attributed to the pregnancy) nearly killed both of us during my first trimester, I don't want to deal with that kind of pregnancy again. That's my logical reason.

 

How do I know? The thought of seeing a 2nd line on a pregnancy test now fills me with dread, where in the past it was always just... expected, hoped for, or accepted.

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My travel was day trips, we didn't have lessons in anything, or extra classes. We attended public school. I still feel I had a well rounded childhood. If one wants to provide foreign travel, classes, etc, great. But it's not needed to be happy. 

 

:iagree:  We all have different things that are important to us and that we want to share with our kids.  That diversity is a good thing, not bad.  Everyone I know has a somewhat different background in life.

 

What I find puzzling is that someone can take what they feel is important (as many kids as possible with finances as the only limiting factor) and tell others that God will judge those who choose differently - esp when that is written nowhere.

 

I think it's great when kids can travel.  We're introducing one of my son's close girlfriends to travel now because she didn't grow up with it and has found she loves it.  But I'm not about to tell anyone they are dooming themselves or their kids if they don't travel.  I even respect that many don't like traveling, even though I can't relate mentally to that.

 

Someone else might be into fashion or living close to nature or car racing or antiques or _______.  It's our diversity that makes our planet so interesting.

 

And when it comes to Christianity, God is very clear in multiple passages that it's what's inside a person and how they relate to others that matters (once past commandment #1 which is loving God).  Take advantage of your fellow humans?  Not cool.  Live at peace with everyone as much as it is dependent upon you?   :hurray:  Nowhere does it talk about having to have ____ number of kids (or even as many as one would have without family planning).

 

In regards to some previous comments, I honestly wonder how many people in America would be qualified to reproduce if it was considered basic financial responsibility to be able to send each individual offspring through college debt free.

 

 

Our kids have student debt.   They don't have miles high amounts of it though.  We contribute a decent amount, but not all.  I don't think anyone has suggested requiring a parent to be able to provide a college education debt free.  Some have said that's part of their parenting choice.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Our choice was to provide more travel and other experiences.  So far my kids have told us they love how they grew up and what we did.

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I wanted another after our last one. For about two years, I was so angry that I had my tubes tied during the c-section. Now, we know our third has a disability and our fourth has type 1 diabetes, both autoimmune diseases. We are holding our breath, hoping that none of the other kids gets type 1 diabetes. The thought of having any more scares me. We are only given as much as we can handle... I think we are there!

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DH had said from day one that three was his preferred limit, though I kept pushing for four. As we kept having boys, I kept wanting a girl....DH would reply "three strikes, you're out" in a half serious, half joking manner.

 

When all three of our boys were born prematurely, and all had NICU stays, and one has developmental delays/learning disabilities as a result, we knew it would be foolish to risk another pregnancy. We had avoided any of the "serious" issues of prematurity, but we felt it was a pretty big risk to take, especially when the last pregnancy had all the preventive measures possible to avoid preterm labor, yet that baby was the earliest of the three. There is no medically identified reason why I deliver preterm, and so no steps to take to ensure a better outcome. We didn't feel it to be good stewardship -- of our time, our money, or any future child's health -- to be pregnant again.

 

And honestly, we reached that decision after the youngest was born, but before we knew of all his developmental delays, when we still thought we'd gotten lucky with no preemie issues. Once/as those became more and more apparent, it has affirmed for us we made the right choice. I could not meet his educational needs if there was a younger sibling (potentially more medically fragile, developmentally delayed, etc) behind him.

 

I did hold out hope for DH to agree to adopt, but again, as our youngest got older and his issues became more evident, that desire passed. What's left is a joy at watching my nieces and nephews, my neighbors with little kids, and looking forward to future grandkids. So, still the idea of adding to our family....but the joy of knowing it will be through the generations, not my own womb. And I love that idea.

 

There were other factors that went into our decision -- finances, as others have said. Lifestyle. Traveling. Helping out with college. Not having to go into an "oversized" vehicle. The desire to move forward into the next phase of life, with big kids, not babies. Etc... But mostly we just couldn't risk another preterm delivery (that was the bigger risk to us, even though I had also had a miscarriage).

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If either of you are on the fence at all, don't do anything permanent.  There are so many options to bide your time with while you sort it out, from chemical to natural.

 

We did permanent things and I wasn't done.  I'll always regret that.

 

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In regards to some previous comments, I honestly wonder how many people in America would be qualified to reproduce if it was considered basic financial responsibility to be able to send each individual offspring through college debt free.

Look, it's not as though, at age 26, I had it completely mapped out how many children I could send to college debt-free - I don't even have it completely figured out now and I have one in college and another in 11th grade. Also, it is likely that someone's going to carry some debt for schooling before all three kids have a degree in hand. I don't think anyone's saying you have to have a fully-stocked college fund before you have your first child.

 

I think the point was that many of us do not feel that college, varied experiences through travel and extracurriculars and other nice-to-have benefits are merely materialistic luxuries. I don't think it is desirable to have a housefull of kids but rarely be able to enjoy even simple variations in experience because kids cost in money, time and parental energy.

 

As I said, I am pro-big family and wanted a bunch of kids. BUT! I'm not in favor of having more kids on the blithe idea that kids don't actually need much and can grow up perfectly well in the farmhouse with their many siblings to be their "friends." Even if you are a thrifty person and can outfit your kids head-to-toe in yardsale finds and can stock a tiny bedroom with four sets of bunkbeds you found out by the curb in a FREE pile, raising kids optimally can be unexpectedly expensive because each child has his or her own individual needs that are not hand-me-downable. If one of your kids has mouth trauma and wrecks his four front teeth, it's nice to know you can deal with this expense. This, I know.

 

I grew up in a family with scarcity and it stinks. Sure, I am glad all my siblings were born - and, hey, I was third, so I could have not been born - but it was often painful to be constantly the have-not.

 

No, I would not tell someone they should have zero children until/unless they have arrived somewhere near upper-middle, but I would advise a young person without solid footing (reliable income source, marketable skill, cash flow) to prevent conception until a more stable outlook can be secured.

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I understand and I'm not looking to start an argument. How many children a person/couple can afford is just an interesting subject and people's perspectives can be quite varied on it.

 

Maybe it's a sore subject for me since I'm already there... I'm already at a place where some of you would label dh and I irresponsible and there's no turning back. We try to improve our situation but it's not as easy as some think. Our kids are growing up with real legitimate limitations because of how things are for us (money etc).

 

I just think there's a sort of disdain for the poor and always has been. And while I daily wish things could be better, that things like travel, museum memberships, and heck just living in a not ghetto neighborhood were in our reach, I still believe my kids can have a good life and that I'm not immoral for bringing them into the world.

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I understand and I'm not looking to start an argument. How many children a person/couple can afford is just an interesting subject and people's perspectives can be quite varied on it.

 

Maybe it's a sore subject for me since I'm already there... I'm already at a place where some of you would label dh and I irresponsible and there's no turning back. We try to improve our situation but it's not as easy as some think. Our kids are growing up with real legitimate limitations because of how things are for us (money etc).

 

I just think there's a sort of disdain for the poor and always has been. And while I daily wish things could be better, that things like travel, museum memberships, and heck just living in a not ghetto neighborhood were in our reach, I still believe my kids can have a good life and that I'm not immoral for bringing them into the world.

I get that, and from your previous posts here, I had an idea that this could feel disparaging to you. I do believe a determined mama can make a world of difference where there's not a lot of room financially.

 

I personally don't like it when some people preach having children with no thought to how their needs will be met. I spent a lot of time (on-line) amongst Quiverful-minded people several years ago and I know how there is a line of thinking that God will simply provide all one's needs. (The implication being that if someone cannot go to college or be on a baseball team, it must have been Divinely determined to be unnecessary.) Well, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings around their faith, but I have seen plenty of evidence that children are born into situations in which their needs are indeed unmet. It's just too serious of an issue to believe this and then find out it may not be true once there are 8 kids in existence.

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In regards to some previous comments, I honestly wonder how many people in America would be qualified to reproduce if it was considered basic financial responsibility to be able to send each individual offspring through college debt free.

Don't even get me started on that, ITA!

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In regards to some previous comments, I honestly wonder how many people in America would be qualified to reproduce if it was considered basic financial responsibility to be able to send each individual offspring through college debt free.

Right, and I know people who waited until they were financially ready and then weren't able to have children because biology isn't on the same timetable as finances.

 

Still, one major reason we stopped having children at 2 was finances. We weren't destitute growing up but money was very tight for many years. It can affect your day-to-day life and your psychology for years to come. e.g.,  It's not like we were ever starving growing  up but I was always aware of the cost of food and how much I ate. I still am reluctant to eat anything but the bare minimum before the kids are full--  even though there's plenty on the table. There was just a constant consciousness of scarcity because so many things were luxuries to us.It may be materialistic, but it was hard being made fun of for not having the "right" clothes (I wore hand-me-downs) for 6 solid years. So, yes, my daughters wear some hand me downs, but they also get some new things that are "in fashion" and not totally inappropriate to my eyes. I never told my parents and I don't really think they know, even now. They were pretty much working miracles as it was, telling them I felt guilty eating much or that people made fun of my clothes was not going to help. I sound so neurotic sometimes -- just saying that economic scarcity, even if its just perceived, can be a real reason to limit family size.

 

Maybe my kids will feel cheated that we didn't have a houseful of kids. They are free to choose differently, I'm sure there's ups and downs to every choice.

Edited by tm919
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For me there is a big difference between little kids having their lives centered around being at home, and teens without an opportunity to do anything outside the home.

 

My little BIL was like this as a teen. He was out of school and my MIL really didn't do anything with him, and he was very isolated by where they lived, and if he asked to go anywhere she would put it off for two weeks. He wanted to do some activities and she just didn't get it together to provide transportation for him.

 

It was not a financial issue in their case.

 

But I am capable of feeling for that teen, while thinking for little kids it could be very different and not an issue at all. Also many enriching opportunities don't take money but take some adult support especially when teens can't get around on their own due to location.

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My travel was day trips, we didn't have lessons in anything, or extra classes. We attended public school. I still feel I had a well rounded childhood. If one wants to provide foreign travel, classes, etc, great. But it's not needed to be happy. 

 

 

Same.  I was just feeling totally overwhelmed and unappreciated this week (which is my sign that maybe we are done, at least for quite a while) and I realized that a lot of what I was feeling worried and insufficient about were things my parents never would have done nor did do for me - pursuing music groups, or classes for this or that, or the absolute best school situation possible, or great amazing vacations, etc.

 

They basically just rented a house in a nice suburb and left me to my own devices.

 

And I had such a charmed childhood that I try constantly to recreate it for my kids. (except of course I didn't realize until now what was charmed about it - obviously not classes or vacations, hah!)

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I understand and I'm not looking to start an argument. How many children a person/couple can afford is just an interesting subject and people's perspectives can be quite varied on it.

 

Maybe it's a sore subject for me since I'm already there... I'm already at a place where some of you would label dh and I irresponsible and there's no turning back. We try to improve our situation but it's not as easy as some think. Our kids are growing up with real legitimate limitations because of how things are for us (money etc).

 

I just think there's a sort of disdain for the poor and always has been. And while I daily wish things could be better, that things like travel, museum memberships, and heck just living in a not ghetto neighborhood were in our reach, I still believe my kids can have a good life and that I'm not immoral for bringing them into the world.

 

 

I find absolutely nothing wrong with having kids when you aren't wealthy enough to provide them with extracurriculars, or new clothes, or their own bedrooms, or even electricity.  75% (guessing) of the worlds' population has kids knowing they can't provide these things.  All of our ancestors had kids knowing they couldn't provide these things.

 

I don't think waiting to have kids until you can afford these things for them is materialism, either, though - or at least, not a kind of materialism that seems immoral to me, anymore than wanting to pass your wealth down to your kids instead of giving it to the state is materialistic.

 

The only thing that gives me (some) pause is planning to have kids that you know you cannot personally support (and must take government or private charity to support) - but to be honest, for the most part I think children are such a blessing, especially in the West where we are close to being below replacement rate in a lot of places, that having them and raising them to be good, loving, responsible, productive people, even if you have to ask for help to feed them sometimes, is probably on the whole a net benefit to society.

 

someone has to be around when I am old to do the work of society and feed and clothe me.  (I get that I can save for retirement, but if there is no one to pay to do the work, the money is worthless)

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I understand and I'm not looking to start an argument. How many children a person/couple can afford is just an interesting subject and people's perspectives can be quite varied on it.

 

Maybe it's a sore subject for me since I'm already there... I'm already at a place where some of you would label dh and I irresponsible and there's no turning back. We try to improve our situation but it's not as easy as some think. Our kids are growing up with real legitimate limitations because of how things are for us (money etc).

 

I just think there's a sort of disdain for the poor and always has been. And while I daily wish things could be better, that things like travel, museum memberships, and heck just living in a not ghetto neighborhood were in our reach, I still believe my kids can have a good life and that I'm not immoral for bringing them into the world.

 

Speaking for myself, the only parents I find irresponsible are those who neglect and/or abuse their kids.  This can be due to not knowing better, drug/alcohol abuse, mental disorders, or even pure selfishness.  For them, even one child was one too many - or in a few cases, the first one or two were ok, but the rest were too many.  There are many kids I've met over the years where I wish their parents had given them up for adoption at birth (not anywhere near a majority, but just adding up to many over 16 years).

 

I seriously doubt anyone reading on here would fit into that category.  None of the parents of the kids I'm talking about would be found on an internet site dealing with educating their kids.

 

The vast majority of kids I've seen have parents who are doing their best for their kids and that "best" comes in many different forms.  All of us parents have our strengths and weaknesses.  None of us are perfect or can even do everything exactly as we'd like to in our ideal world.  We make mistakes.  We have financial or location (or whatever) hindrances.  The kids still do well (or not - parenting style, except for neglect/abuse as mentioned above has little to do with how well kids turn out if they are determined to take certain paths).  Most do well.  

 

Most will even be like me and their parents will gain in wisdom considerably shortly after that first child (of mine/theirs) was born!   :lol:  Mistakes will be recognized as mistakes.  Forgiveness will be offered rather than teen resentment.  And we'll grit our teeth setting out to do our best with our kids.  The cycle starts over.

 

What doesn't matter is how many kids any particular (loving) family chooses to have.  That only comes into play with expenses and what parents want to be able to offer their kids.  If those things are expensive, fewer kids is often the choice.  If a larger family is what parents want to share, then some of those expensive things (usually) have to be the trade off.  Neither choice is wrong or irresponsible - or going to get judgment from God (with pre-conception planning - NOT getting into the abortion debate here).

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For us I guess I'll say age.  After #3 I hadn't really planned to have any more though since I wasn't having anything permanent done to avoid of course it was always a possibility.  At the time I felt too busy and tired.

 

We are expecting surprise #4 soon, and I'm not unhappy, we had been revisiting the possibility of adding a new child anyway.  But I've been thinking about our plans for kids after since the doctor has asked if I want to have my tubes tied after the c-section.  Logically it seems like a bad idea to have more - it would be my 5th section, and I'm getting on and found this pregnancy really tiring, and I also would worry about money.  And so I am pretty much planning not to have any more.

 

If the new baby was going to be a second boy I would probably feel more reconciled to that, but a big part of me really did want another little guy.  But, realistically I can't see that more than one more after that would even be possible and there would still be no guarantees about the sex.

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My travel was day trips, we didn't have lessons in anything, or extra classes. We attended public school. I still feel I had a well rounded childhood. If one wants to provide foreign travel, classes, etc, great. But it's not needed to be happy. 

 

Yeah, I don't like the idea of drawing a hard line around necessities and luxeries, but I become really uncomfortable when it starts to seem like what are really luxeries are being treated as necessities or "good parenting". 

 

To me, even though I know people don't intend it that way, it really is the materialism and consumerism that so much underlies everything in our culture at work.  Someone who lives in the same place a whole life and never travels, or ends up in a career that just happens to be one that is readily avialable where one lives is somehow isolated and sad?  Um, no, the assumptions behind that, if we examine them, are just so problematic.  Those are not the things that make a life good in the deepest sense - those things are connectivity with family, community, the place you live, leaving things better than you left them, living lightly on the planet both concretely and psychologically. 

 

We really have made parenting into a consumerist activity which is something that should be kept in mind pretty carefully, I think, because it is so integrated in our thinking as 21st century westerners, it takes care to avoid falling into that trap.  I find I often have to think "these lessons would be nice, but they are not something anyone needs for a good life, and I need to evaluate them in that light."  Or, "A university education can be great but many intelligent people live full and worthwhile and intellectually active lives without it and I need to keep that in mind and not get too focused on that as something that is necessary."

 

Mind you, I think this will be a flash in the pan, as a way of life.  It hasn't been a possible way to think for very long, and I suspect that within two generations it will be difficult for all but the ultra-wealthy to think that way.  We won't have the resources for people to be spending time in education that is really about getting qualifications and travel is likely to become impossibly expensive as we have to change our reliance on fossil fuels.

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I find absolutely nothing wrong with having kids when you aren't wealthy enough to provide them with extracurriculars, or new clothes, or their own bedrooms, or even electricity.  75% (guessing) of the worlds' population has kids knowing they can't provide these things.  All of our ancestors had kids knowing they couldn't provide these things.

 

I don't think waiting to have kids until you can afford these things for them is materialism, either, though - or at least, not a kind of materialism that seems immoral to me, anymore than wanting to pass your wealth down to your kids instead of giving it to the state is materialistic.

 

The only thing that gives me (some) pause is planning to have kids that you know you cannot personally support (and must take government or private charity to support) - but to be honest, for the most part I think children are such a blessing, especially in the West where we are close to being below replacement rate in a lot of places, that having them and raising them to be good, loving, responsible, productive people, even if you have to ask for help to feed them sometimes, is probably on the whole a net benefit to society.

 

someone has to be around when I am old to do the work of society and feed and clothe me.  (I get that I can save for retirement, but if there is no one to pay to do the work, the money is worthless)

 

Yes, I think that it's important to remember that the rearing of the next generation isn't something that is only a private, family affair.  And when it was to a greater degree - people needed their own kids to take care of them because there was nothing like social security, people actually had a lot more children because they pretty much had to.  One of the reasons we've been able, as a group, to have fewer kids is that people who have no kids can depend on other's children to keep things going over time, to contribute to social programs and such through more sophisticated kinds of programs than were possible in the past.  But that does seem to suggest that raising the kids shouldn't be only the responsibility of their family, since they won't recoup all of the benefits.

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Because of past direct personal experience and observations of the lives of those around me, I have a lifelong deeply ingrained fear of poverty and its consequences on financial, mental and emotional health.

 

I knew I was finished having children when I reached the number I felt I could support as a sole breadwinner in event my husband died.

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