How Did You Decide How Many Kids to Have?

How to Decide How Many Kids to Have: Working Moms Discuss!Here’s a fun topic for today: How did you decide how many kids to have? How did you decide whether to try for a second (or third, or fourth) child — or when to stop having kids? Were you influenced by an outside factor (such as money or your own health), experience (either your own childhood, your birth experience, or your general experience with your first child), hope (such as “trying for a girl” vs, say, abstaining from trying because you hoped for a promotion), or some amorphous factor (such as “feeling like everyone is here now”)? For me, the decision to both try for a second as well as to stop having kids was a combination of all of these reasons, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Before I get into my own reasons, I should say up front that I love both of my boys and am so grateful and happy for them! I definitely feel like everybody is here right now. The decision to STOP having kids has been driven by a few different things, including my own dislike of being pregnant, my own experience (I have one sibling), a desire to focus on our two kids, not wanting to be outnumbered by the kids, and, frankly, feeling like I’m too tired (and old?) to go through another round of diapers, sleepless nights, etc. Honestly, I so disliked pregnancy (both in general but also because of the excruciating SPD pain I felt), my birth experience with J (where everything turned out fine but was far from a “pleasant” or “in control” kind of experience), and the postpartum identity crisis I went through that the decision to have a second was something I struggled with, even though it had been a part of My Plan since I was young. My husband is an only child and was fine with whatever we decided, but ultimately, I kind of looked at my second son as a “gift” to my first son, in part because I’m so close to my own brother. (Of course when I was about to give birth to my second child, H, I really worried about what I was taking away from my first son, J, too.)

Over to you, readers — how did you decide how many kids to have? How big of a role did your career play in the decision along with other factors? 

Picture via Stencil.working moms discuss how they decided how many kids to have

How does one decide how many kids to have? What factors are important in deciding, particularly to a woman who loves her career? Working moms discuss how they decided how many kids to have.

Comments

  1. Karen says:

    I haven’t decided… well, I am sure I want at least one more (have 2 currently). My husband is pretty sure he doesn’t want any more. He thinks we’re stretched pretty thin and has no desire to “try for a boy” (we have 2 girls) or go through the tough newborn year again. I am hopeful I can convince him to go for one more or we’ll get a surprise baby… I’m never taking birth control again, so if he is sure he doesn’t want more he’ll have to get snipped or figure something else out. HA!

  2. On the fence but leaning toward number 2. Although we are not trying at the moment, we recently learned that any subsequent pregnancies will need to be IVF (and genetically tested) so that makes the decision all the more deliberate. And that introduces things I wish I didn’t have to consider, like implanting two embryos…

    • I did IVF with genetic testing to have a first child and was very clear I would only transfer one embryo because I did not want to risk multiples. Guess what? Identical twins!

      • Oh man! If that’s my fate, I would have to live with that result. :)

        • I’m now thrilled it worked out that way, but probably would be less thrilled if I already had one at home. But you’re right…. so many decisions and judgment calls with IVF.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most reputable practices will only recommend one embryo at a time nowadays, unless you have a known implantation issue (doesn’t sound like that’s your story?) So the twins thing may not be as much of an issue as you’re thinking. Lots of other potential IVF worries like cost, scheduling, etc. to keep you busy though

  3. I think I’m going to stick at one–I like not “playing defense,” and I like being able to give all my focus to one kid and to my husband. But if I hadn’t had a girl first time out, I might be trying again. If we had another I would also probably stop working because daycare costs would swamp my salary, and I would not be a good stay-at-home mom!

  4. Tired Mommy says:

    Same as you, we have two boys and the youngest is 15 months. I would totally have a third but DH is not totally on board. I’m waiting until after youngest reaches 2 years before we really hash it out so that hopefully by then we will have more breathing space to decide if we have the bandwidth for one more.

  5. Currently pregnant with our second, and I’m pretty sure we’re done no matter the gender. Husband was fine with just one since we lucked out with such a great sleeper, eater and generally happy temperament of our daughter. We’ve just now started talking about our permanent birth control options after this one is born. He thinks if I end up having a c-section (didn’t have one last time), I should just go ahead and get my tubes tied. I’m not wild about potential recovery from both that and general childbirth since I’ve heard some nightmare stories about pain and reactions to having tubes tied. I sort of feel like I’ve done the heavy lifting of carrying two kids so it shouldn’t be a big deal for him to get a vasectomy…particularly since it’s reversible in the unlikely situation that we change our minds.

  6. We knew we wanted one, and we were on the fence about two but then it happened sort of by accident and – assuming nothing goes wrong – that’s where we’re headed.

    I think part of the thinking on this for me was that life in NYC with one kid is just qualitatively different than with two (e.g., we have a two bdrm apartment that’s going to feel a lot smaller once there’re four of us and moving to a bigger place is far from a given at this point). We also like to travel and I think that we would be much more likely to travel internationally with one vs. two. I’m sure we can still go on trips together, but they will be different trips than we might take otherwise. Not to mention all the things you can do with the extra savings.

    I don’t have siblings so I think the connection to a sibling wasn’t that important to me and I know as many siblings who aren’t close as are. But I also don’t have a very big family and the idea of creating a bigger clan for my daughter did appeal to me. And I’ve seen how having a sibling – even if you aren’t close – can be helpful at the end of your parents’ life so that was something I thought about. In some ways, I also think that I might be a better parent to two than to one. I’m very close to my mom and wouldn’t trade that for the world but that pressure of being her only has also probably affected some life choices I made (where to go to college, whether to move, etc.). I’ve seen a lot of other parents with only children be very attached to their children in ways that are similar. I don’t think it’s a given, but I think that maybe having two will give both just a little bit more freedom/less pressure. Not sure if that makes sense, but it’s something that’s been on my mind.

    I guess in many ways I’m still ambivalent about this. I really envy people who just know that they want X. We sort of let fate decide in some ways. But hopefully it all works out.

    • Angelique says:

      I’ve always wanted multiple kids (2-4), but I hadn’t really thought of many of things you mentioned, especially about how parents might want to hold onto adult children or how hard it would be for an only child to care for two aging parents. I’m one of two myself, and I have renewed appreciation for how my brother and I have managed to evenly and gently split between us both the care and love of our parents and for them as well (he’s “responsible” for dad, I’m “responsible” for mom). Really, this only reinforces the idea that I want multiple children. I know my feelings may change after I go through pregnancy and the newborn year, but I hope not.

      To stay on topic, I’ve wanted multiple kids because I grew up in a large family. Not my immediate family (like I said, it’s just me and my brother), but my mom had 9 brothers and sisters and all those aunts and uncles, and now the dozens of first, second, and third cousins, were a huge part of my childhood. I want that sort of thing for my kids. Since I don’t expect my brother to have kids and my husband is also only one of two, my kids might not have lots of aunts and uncles, but they’ll have each other, and hopefully keep up with all the cousins, too.

      Fortunately, I’m in Canada and so I don’t have to worry too much about the health costs associated with having multiple children, but I do worry about just the cost of raising and schooling them. My husband and I are both engineers so we can expect to have fairly high salaries and stable jobs, so that’s good, but on the flip side, it probably means we’ll both be working parents and I’ll have to trust nannies or day cares to raise my little ones while I’m at work. It’s all a little daunting to be honest. While I love my city and plan to raise my family here for sure, it does make me long a little for my small town home where I’d have all those aunts, uncles, and cousins in my support system.

  7. PregLawyer says:

    Currently pregnant with number 2, and I’m pretty sure we’re done after this. It’s entirely driven by financial considerations. If I had unlimited money, I’d probably just stay off birth control and keep having kids. My body is a total tank through pregnancy–it’s amazing. Having my first kid did so much for making me love my body. I still have 30 pounds of extra weight, and stretch marks, and weird skin issues, and other stuff, but my body rocks at having kids.

    All of the issues that are hard for me and my husband when it comes to kids are related to time and money. I feel like money would fix a lot of the time issues, too. The reality is that we can’t really afford childcare for more than two; we can’t afford college for more than two; and we can’t afford the other perks that are (in my opinion) necessary to make financing a large family possible.

    • This is a much more succinct answer than mine. I guess if money was totally not an object I might consider more than 2 and even more than 3. I always thought it sort of made sense for the Romneys or royals or the like to just keep having babies.

    • Cornellian says:

      I think I would consider more than two (biological) children if I could get comfortable with it environmentally. I think money-wise I could make it work in a couple years.

      I guess that feeds in to my question about adopting below.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We have 1 and we both know we always wanted at least 2, but now my husband is very firm about no more than 2. Number one has been a doozy and she’s not even a difficult baby! Pregnancy and newborns are just tiring. I would like 3 but I think the person who wants less kids ultimately wins out.

  9. I also had a somewhat traumatic birth experience, or more post-partum. Kat, I have to say reading your story gave me a new perspective on my experience. My son was hospitalized in the NICU for a week post-birth due to complications from meconium aspiration. This obviously was hard for us, but your story made me see some silver lining in that I had a lot more people giving me input on keeping him alive those first few days! I really related to some of what you expressed about not knowing enough to complain about certain things, and being left alone in labor. I had a midwife that I picked in part because she would theoretically never have more than 1 laboring mom at a time, and would be with me the whole time. I also had a doula. But I ended up being alone and in pain at the hospital in the middle of the night because I was induced (at 42 weeks!). I was fine in the evening but started having painful contractions around 1 am after they started a second round of cervadil. I wasn’t in even in a labor room and therefore wasn’t supposed to have visitors overnight, so I didn’t have my husband or doula there, and my midwife had a perfect storm of births and personal emergencies, so she wasn’t around, and I didn’t want to bother the on call midwife in the middle of the night. I was less than 1 cm dilated, so no one really was very concerned about me, but I was terrified. I finally insisted my husband and doula come, visiting hours be dammed, around 6 am (of course the hospital staff let them in), but in hindsight I should have done that hours earlier. It is was just really hard for me to feel confident asking for help when everyone was acting like I shouldn’t need it at that stage. Once everyone showed up my labor was good – my midwife arrived mid-morning and never left my side as promised – but those early hours affected my confidence. And then when my son was born everything went awry again. I remember the NICU staff as mostly being very kind, although one doctor felt the need to lecture me about locking up potential poisons in my home less than 24 hours after I gave birth, at which point I had no idea when I was going to be able to take my baby home to accidentally poison him. (I think I finally told him, “I need to sit down.”)

    All that being said, my birth experience, coupled with nonstop nausea for 36 weeks of my pregnancy and my son’s somewhat unexplained, acute life-threatening event around 10 weeks old, left me somewhat traumatized. I have a long history of anxiety/depression, and unsurprisingly, eventually was treated for post-partum depression (not as soon as I should have been). So I was in no hurry to do it all again. My husband is happy with 1 – he and his sister hate each other so he doesn’t see siblings as a gift. He also felt too old, especially thinking about how old he would be when the child would be a teengaer (I was 35 when our first was born; my husband was 43). I have 2 brothers that I get along well with, but I was ambivalent enough about having a second not to want to try to overrule my husband. And the financial realities of having children in NYC make stopping at one very attractive. So we are one and done.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We currently have 3, and during my last pregnancy I thought we would absolutely be done after I delivered. But, I find myself feeling like our family isn’t complete. Our first two (girls) are only 18 months apart (#2 happened a little ahead of schedule) and they are best friends. Those first few years were an absolute whirlwind. Our youngest, a boy, is 3 years younger than our youngest girl and I worry about him being left out since our girls are so close. Plus, he has been such an “easy” baby that I’ve almost forgotten about our girls who both had reflux and were terrible sleepers. I would love to have one more, even though I had an absolutely miserable third pregnancy, had a scary emergency c-section at 38 weeks after passing out at work, and had a terrible round of postpartum anxiety that I am still recovering from 18 months after delivery. Call me crazy, but I’m just not ready for this season of life to be over and I don’t feel like our family is complete. Our oldest was born the same week I graduated from law school and I feel like I was so anxious to concentrate on my career with the first two that I didn’t enjoy their newborn/toddler stage very much, as terrible as that is to say. I feel like I’ve finally found my identity as a mom with #3 and I want a chance to experience it again.

    My husband is ready to be done though. He got his son, and now all he thinks about when I bring up another baby is the lack of sleep, diapers/formula costs, my postpartum ordeal, daycare costs, eventual college tuition, etc.

  11. Cornellian says:

    Question: Has anyone here adopted to expand their family? I have a good friend who has adopted two babies domestically, and now is actually having a third naturally (unexpected!), and another good friend who adopted pre-teen brothers out of foster care, so have some sense of what it entails, but am curious.

    • Anonymous says:

      I haven’t adopted but we do foster. Adopting domestically is HARD whether you do it through foster system or otherwise. They all have their own challenges. It might help to know a little more about what you’re interested in. Do you want a baby or an older kid? Are you interested in avoiding pregnancy/birth or are you motivated by altruism? Is $$ a concern?

      • Cornellian says:

        I’m not immediately interested in doing anything, just thinking down the line a couple years. I have a biological six month old and am not afraid of pregnancy/labor again. More interested in giving existing children a home, and uncomfortable especially with having more than two children biologically.

      • Cornellian says:

        $ isn’t particularly a concern. Adopting abroad makes me a little uncomfortable for various reasons, so I think I’d be adopting or fostering (possibly with adoption) domestically.

        We had respite foster care children when I was growing up, and I would need to really have a solid support network set up to feel comfortable having much older kids (or special needs kids, as my mom did), but I am not set on adopting a newborn.

        • Anonymous says:

          So, this is my personal feeling about it, but I think with fostering one of the biggest concerns is how will your existing child(ren) feel about it? It can be really hard to mesh being fully welcoming and inclusive with the possibility that the child may return to biological family members at some point in the future. It’s easier for adults to understand that than for kids, and honestly it sucks for adults too.
          It varies significantly by state, but in some areas you can say that you want to foster-to-adopt and then they’ll place you with children who they think are more likely to be separated from bio parents and don’t have an extended family member who seems interested. But that’s not a guarantee. Usually if you want a younger child that is the only way to adopt out of the foster system; you have to take the placement while they’re still a legal risk.
          You mentioned potentially older children, which is easier logistically but presumably harder to integrate into your existing home. Emotionally it can be very hard to “test drive” a child because you obviously want to provide stability for them and let them trust and test you as a parent who loves them unconditionally but again, if you have a child already, there are some conditions inherent to your kid’s safety. Hopefully that isn’t an issue for you, but has been for us at times.
          Very rambling :) There is a definite need for GOOD foster parents but the system is tough. You’re on the right track looking for a support network.

          • Cornellian says:

            My friend who adopted the two brothers after fostering has HORRIFYING stories about the way foster care works. Don’t want to out her, but it’s in a particularly bad state for foster children. I’m in NYC and have no idea of the state of the system here, honestly.

            The fear of existing kid’s safety is really what concerns me about older children, especially given some experiences I had as the younger and smaller bio kid. I’m not sure if it would have been less an issue if the kids had been with us for longer period or had been adopted, but it seems like such a delicate balance.

    • Anonforthis says:

      We’re currently fostering a domestic infant (hoping to adopt him). We really love it and we plan to foster another. The process to get licensed was particularly challenging for us. The actual fostering has been a total joy. We don’t have any kids so your experience will be a little different. Happy to email if you want to chat about it more.

      • Cornellian says:

        ahhh for the second time I wish I had a burner account. I can’t set one up in the office. Maybe I’ll repost in a few days and see if you’re around?

        I just started poking around about fostering in NYC and oh god there is a petfinder equivalent for adoptable children.

  12. Does anyone ever feel jealous of families that are larger than yours? I would love to have a big chaotic brood, and knowing it’s not in the cards (for many reasons) makes me feel sad and jealous sometimes, and then I feel petty and horrible for feeling that way.

    • Sabba says:

      AJ, don’t worry about it. I am balancing out your jealous by getting super judgmental (in my head only) of large families. My parents had 3 and were completely overwhelmed and, in all honesty, should have stopped at 1 or 2 kids. When I see families with 4+ kids, I feel that the parents are selfish. I am working on it–I know the feelings are wrong. My priorities are to help my child have lots of quality time with me, to help pay for college and first apartments, and culturally enriching vacations, etc. Obviously there are lots of ways to go about raising a family, but it is really hard for me to relate to moms that want big families and I find myself thinking those parents are selfish and crazy. So then I feel petty and horrible for judging the large families.

  13. I struggled with whether to have a second. I had a high risk first pregnancy, with a delivery at 33 weeks and 3 weeks in the NICU, and I wasn’t sure I could do that again. When my son was about 2 1/2, I decided that I was happy to stop with one child. Literally within the month I found out that I was accidentally pregnant with #2. I don’t think I would have made that decision on purpose, but we were happy to be having another. But it was another high risk pregnancy, ending with 2 weeks of hospital bed rest and a scheduled c-section at 36 weeks. While I was in the hospital, I arranged to have my tubes tied during my c-section. (To the poster that is worried about recovery: my recovery the second time was definitely harder, but second c-sections are often more difficult. I think it would be hard for me to say if the tubes made it worse.)

    I was absolutely sure that I was done at that point and have no regrets. But now that my baby girl is 2, I definitely see how people want to have another. I still get baby fever when I see a newborn.

  14. Three kids and demanding full time job? says:

    I’m struggling with how I can be so certain that I want a third, and yet I am beyond exhausted with a six month old and three year old, trying to prove myself at a new job, and bickering with my husband because we are both overwhelmed. It doesn’t seem rational to add a third child to this craziness, and yet I feel completely compelled to (not in the near future, but at some point in the next couple of years).

    I would love to know more moms with demanding jobs who have three kids. I don’t plan on scaling back at work if we have a third. Is there anyone out there who can speak to this?

    • My friend has three kids (oldest is preschool age and a busy in-house counsel position. Her partner just left their job to stay home, so that’s how they are doing it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would love to hear from these mythical big-job moms of 3!! I’m not at “certain” I want 3, but pretty close, and convinced I’m insane for it. My husband and I are both up for (non-equity) partner at firms in the next couple of years and had our first 2 18-months apart. Now that they’re both in kid-mode my husband can’t imagine going back to baby jail and makes the completely valid point that we’re barely getting by/getting any sleep as it is.

      We both came from families of 3 and I am super close with my siblings. I guess I’m just thinking about the lifetime ahead of the kids with their siblings, which far outweighs the couple more years of night wakings, diapers, etc. for us. But I guess I won’t know ahead of time if Baby #3 is the straw that could break the camel’s back of our current delicate work-life balance…

      • Three kids and demanding full time job? says:

        This sounds so similar to my situation/thought process. I keep telling myself that I need to suffer in the short term (sleepless nights, heavy duty childcare) to have the big family I want, but what if those first few years with 3 are a killer in terms of the health of my marriage or my job productivity?

        Big-job moms of three, would love to hear how you do it!

      • You say you both came from families with 3 kids, but did both of your moms and dads have demanding careers? Don’t break your back to have the same number of kids when you’re already working so much more than your parents did. If you want to do it, great, but remember that they probably had very different circumstances.

        • +1. This is where I’ve landed. I’m the oldest of 4 kids. Sometimes I long to recreate that big family, but I know that wouldn’t be right for us, and our work is a big reason why. My mom was a SAHM and my dad had a job that kept him close to home (farming). That’s not our reality. We have two, and I know that having another would tip the delicate balance we’ve found.

          • Anonymous says:

            This is how I feel too. I’m one of three and both my parents are from families with four kids. I love the chaos of big family gatherings and want to preside over them someday like my grandmothers do. But my grandmothers did not have careers, and my mom was a SAHM until my parents divorced. There are lots of kids, but literally no precedent in my extended family for the type of dual-career couple that my husband and I are. We’re hanging on with three, but unless we move somewhere close to family with a slower pace, we have to stop here. Moving would basically mean a career change for my husband (although he offers to be a SAHD once at least two kids are in school), so it’s not in the cards for the immediate future.

            FWIW, I don’t consider my job big in the way that a law firm partner or surgeon job is big, but I’m middle management at a large corporation and work 45-50 hrs/week with occasional travel. Husband is essentially equivalent. We make it work thanks to an extremely equal division of labor at home, great daycare, flexible-ish work schedules, and throwing money at cleaning, yard upkeep, and meal delivery. We both have understanding bosses, and I have a very short commute. We also have a same-team mentality and a good sense of humor about how babies have hijacked our lives. I’m pretty sure that last part is the key.

    • I think you have to either be comfortable with outsourcing a lot of your childcare or be willing to scale back somewhat, at least for a period. The only person with three that I know that’s managed to do it (granted most people I know are just having/had a second) is able to work from home 3-4 days a week and only has to come in one, sometimes 2 (she’s in accounting). But she’s complained that the lack of face time has led to her missing out on opportunities.
      A lawyer I know who has three also took a step back although on paper it doesn’t read like it (govt agency and she took a “supervisory” position which sounds prestigious but is widely thought of as a “mom” role because it’s strict 9-5 supervising new hires and doesn’t involve any actual litigation).

    • Pile of Kids says:

      I just had my 5th kid. I don’t want to out myself – but I am a lawyer, in demanding government work. My younger three are preteen and under. We love our life. Is it loud and crazy? YES. But we make it work. Luckily, hubs works from home, so he is the designated driver. We outsource what we can (housekeeping, lawn, etc). Honestly, it takes serious dedication, teamwork, and effort. We have sacrificed a lot (we have zero hobbies), but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  15. Lyssa says:

    Interesting. My husband comes from a family of 2 kids, mine has 4. We always said 2-3; didn’t want an only, but thought that my 4 was too much. I generally thought that we’d do 2 and see how we felt then. I had really easy pregnancies, deliveries, and infants, but we wound up waiting until a bit later than I might have otherwise thought to get started, so I would have been well over 35 for number 3, so that was a major driver. (I know that plenty of women have kids over 35 without problems, but I’d prefer to avoid it.) He also expressed concern with having kids over 40 for himself (on the grounds that he would be so old when they were grown). So, 2 was the clear winner, and I had my tubes tied during the second delivery.

    All that said, I do feel a little bad that we’re not having a third because we did seem to do so well at it. Our kids are awesome, and like I said, pregnancy was good. Though I can’t imagine adding a 3rd now. I do think that if we had had 2 of the same sex, I would have had a much harder time definitively stopping.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Three was my minimum and I’ve always kind of imagined four, but right now DH and I are exhausted and want a break from the cycle of sleep deprivation and infant daycare bills. I want my body to myself for a while after being pregnant or nursing since 2012. My husband is done and planning his vasectomy, but occasionally comments that it’s reversible if we change our minds in a few years… but then I’d worry that the little caboose baby would feel left out when the other 3 are so close in age.

    We have two boys and a girl and both would prefer another girl, but obviously there’s no control of that. We’d need to sort out our feelings of whether we want another child, or whether we want a sister for [daughter]. I just turned 33, so there’s time to think about it. Adoption of an older (but still young) child in a few years is on the table, too. Some days I feel done, and some easier days I feel like one more would make our family complete. I never like the idea of being pregnant again, though. I was kind of hoping kid #3 would be boy-girl twins and tie everything up with a really neat bow.

  17. CPA Lady says:

    One and done. Officially. Husband had the snip a few months ago and I haven’t cried about it once. I expected to, just because it’s so final feeling. But I’m actually relieved.

    To me, nothing in life is certain. I had a really harsh awful childhood, and partly because of that, and partly because of the tons of therapy I’ve been to since, I can’t ignore my own present happiness for an imaginary future that involves placing expectations on other people. That’s why the thought exercise of “how do you want your Thanksgiving table to look in 20 years” is irrelevant to me– I can’t miserably white knuckle through 20 years of more kids than I can handle just so I can hopefully still have a good enough relationship with them that they WANT to come over for Thanksgiving. (I hope that makes sense.)

    I love having one kid. I love that we can easily do stuff together and that we’ll be able to afford to travel and send her to a good school. I love that I’m not usually stressed beyond my limits. I love that we can easily meet our financial goals. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a good mom, and there’s no way I could happily and healthily parent more than one kid. I don’t mean for what I said about Thanksgiving to be grim. If nothing is certain, then I just try to do the best I can every day, try to remember to be grateful. And when I think about Thanksgiving in 20 years, I’m hoping it’ll be me, my husband, and our daughter (and maybe her SO) in some exotic location, just hanging out as comfortable companions.

    • Jaydee says:

      Also, you can have a full table at Thanksgiving with only one child. There are parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors, friends of your child, parents of the friends of your child, etc. who can all come over for Thanksgiving dinner. One of the things I like best about having only one child is that we are forced to be more social. He doesn’t have siblings to play with, so we have to make friends with the neighbors, encourage friendships at school and on his soccer team, etc.

      • CPA Lady says:

        Very true. I’ve made some of my best and closest friendships through a set of neighbors who became like second parents to me. They helped me more than anything understand that your family is who you make it and that love, hospitality, and friendship are more important than being genetically related to someone.

      • Katarina says:

        Not being very social is actually a factor in my husband and I wanting more kids.

    • AwayEmily says:

      This is wonderful.

  18. Louisa says:

    Any thoughts from those who had a baby later and what the experience has been like? We have a lovely but energetic 5yro and both of us are turning 39 this summer. It wasn’t until he was four and more independent that having a new kid seemed doable to me (my husband would have gone for it right away and is supportive if I don’t want a second but I know he also really wants a second). I like the idea of my kid having a sibling and I didn’t hate the baby/toddler stage, but we both work full time and I worry about being in our forties with young kids. I do treasure having some time to myself and having a more independent kid is kind of awesome. On the other hand I’m worried about missing out and I have a good parenting partner in my husband. We live in a pretty LCOL area but don’t have great family support around. I had a miscarriage a couple of months ago (got great support here about my experience) and I was surprised how sad I was to lose the pregnancy although it was early. Any thoughts appreciated.

  19. Only have 1 (<1 yr) and as an only child myself (who has no complaints about being one) who dealt with parental loss at a young age, decided that despite absolutely hating pregnancy, I want a second child so that hopefully the two could be good friends and support each other through good and bad times (hopefully). My husband would field a baseball team if I were up for it (and is one of six himself), which I am not. I'm trying to weigh pros/cons of spacing between children with promotion schedule at work; needless to say there is no winning scenario. At the same time my husband is encouraging us to try asap to have the kids close in age but the thought of being pregnant literally makes me nauseas – pun intended. I'm starting to poll other women at my company to see how LOAs and other decisions have impacted their career trajectory as I'm fairly analytically-driven so having these "data points" will help me decide when to pull the goalie. We all know this is a fruitless endeavor… but damned if you do or damned if you don't.

    I do enjoy reading this anecdotes. Funny how biology tends to prevail against all rational / logical odds!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Currently pregnant with #1 but we’re probably stopping here. Husband would like 2 if it were solely up to him, but recognizes that no matter how much he helps out, the physical burden of pregnancy, labor and nursing falls 100% on my shoulders and affects my career more than his. There are a lot of reasons I only want 1, including:
    -I really enjoy my job and I think it would be much harder to keep working with two kids, both logistically and financially (daycare bills with two would basically equal my salary so I think it would be harder to justify it to myself – I know there are reasons to keep working even if you’re losing money in the short term, but I don’t know that I could go to work every day with the knowledge that it would be cheaper to stay home)
    -we love to travel and travel with one is easier, not only financially but also because we’ll be done with the nursing and diapers stage must faster.
    -financially, it’s just so much easier. we could literally afford two and certainly are better off than plenty of people who have two or more, but I want money to travel, pursue our own hobbies (and let our kid pursue his/hers) and to be able to pay for our child’s education at the best school he or she can get into.
    -I have several ‘risk factors’ for twins (I’m 35+, tall, and there are twins on my side of the family) and while I think we could handle two kids, three would upend our lives in ways I definitely don’t want.

    I was and am a happy only child and feel like I didn’t miss out on anything by not having a sibling. DH and his sister are civil to each other but not close (and she’s kind of failed to launch and is still financially dependent on his parents at age 30) so he isn’t desperate for that sibling bond and recognizes that having two kids is no guarantee they’ll share the burden when it comes to caring for elderly parents.

    That said, we don’t plan to do anything permanent until we’ve seen what having one is like so it’s possible I could change my mind.

  21. Mrs. Jones says:

    I wanted no kids or two kids, but we have one and are done (vasectomy). The primary reason is age–we got married at 36 and had baby at 38. Secondary reasons are finances and serious PPD.

  22. PinkKeyboard says:

    We are stopping at 2. For financial reasons, both IVF costs and daycare and my husband is older (46) and works as a contractor. So he needs to be able to retire on time and I don’t see that happening if we wait another three years and have a third (two avoid ever having three in daycare). I would love to have 3 but I know that the practicality is just not there… although I am kind of tempted to just do nothing and see if maybe 2 babies have fixed my fertility.

  23. My husband and I are right in the middle of this debate right now. I always thought we would have two kids, roughly 3 years apart like me and my brother. Our first has just turned 2, so I feel like we need to get going on second kid. He feels like we don’t quite have our current situation under control (totally true), and I’m having trouble getting excited about going through all the nausea and the weight gain and the horrible pregnancy clothes again, to say nothing of the actual childbirth and those first really hard, sleepless months. I’m also spending way too much time debating which is the best month to be born in – (avoid the holidays, avoid the months with other birthdays, avoid being either the youngest or oldest in a classroom, etc). I feel like at some point I’m just going to stop taking birth control and see what happens. He will definitely get snipped after #2 though – no question on that.

    • The best time to have a birthday is late May to early June :)

      • Actually, scratch the late May b/c of Memorial Day, but maybe early May is okay (winter bday for my kid and I’ve done a lot of thinking about this).

      • AIMS you are making me feel so accomplished about having a baby born on June 6. I did one thing right as a mother! It is a good time of year for outdoor birthday parties.

        • June 6th may be the platonic ideal of bdays. 6/6 is so easy to remember and works the same regardless of US or European convention (where month is listed before day). School is still in session so people are around for your birthday parties but the weather is nearly always wonderful no matter where happen to be (unless you’re in NZ or Australia, but, even then, it’s not actually bad). You have the whole summer ahead of you. Maternity leave is great because you have the whole summer, and pregnancy is great because you didn’t have to spend all winter being your biggest and potentially needing a new coat nor did you have to go through a summer with a portable heater strapped to your body. And you’re neither the oldest nor the youngest in school. Well done!

          • I’m the poster above who was induced at 42 weeks, so I am especially delighted to learn that my body’s refusal to expel my child in a timely fashion had the happy result of platonic ideal of birthdays!

          • Anonymous says:

            This birthday preference stuff is all so personal. I have an early June birthday and was never crazy about it. In K-12 we were still in school, but it was usually just a few days before school let out and families tend to take vacations right at the end of the school year, which made scheduling parties difficult. And in college and grad school friends had all dispersed for the summer before my birthday and no one was around to celebrate (maybe it’s lame to still care about your birthday at that age, but I did). And fwiw our kindergarten entrance date was August 1, so I was one of the youngest (which was fine for me, but June isn’t an average age everywhere).
            Our daughter has a winter birthday and I honestly think it’s way better. The only downside is we can’t do outdoor parties, but we’ve found lots of fun places to have them including an ice rink, indoor swimming pool and bowling alley. I think we end up putting more thought into it since we can’t just default to the backyard or a public park.

  24. I had a rough pregnancy, terrible complications during birth, and PPD. We like our life with one and therefore do not expect that we will change our position to stop with only one. However, if we do change our mind we have already agreed that we will find pursue adoption instead.

  25. Ok with not deciding says:

    We had planned on being one-and-done – and now the talk has moved from never to “maybe.” The strongest reason I am considering another one is that I just like my kid so much as he’s gotten older. I went into parenthood with very low expectations and even with the work of the first three months and the (IMO) difficult 1-2 year phase, I have been thinking, huh, it would be fun to have another one of these around. I posted about my feelings about our one and done decision when he was just a newborn and gotten great support/feedback, which was mostly “wait and see how you feel, there is no reason to decide for sure now.” It was super helpful to hear that then – and it’s still true for me now, I think! I am also in a career place where it would be best to wait about a year and a half to have the second, so we have about another year to decide whether or not to go for it (still in my mid-30s so not stressed about that too much.) I will also be in a better place at that point to judge whether or not I would want to stay in the high-hours-high-pressure job (which would allow us financially to have another) or move to a different job (and probably not have another kid.) We would also likely move closer to family. I am not at all concerned about the age gap and do not regret for a minute not having another right away (I say this as all of my kid’s age-mates are becoming big siblings).

    The short answer is that my mind has changed since having the first, I am ok with that, and the main consideration will be whether our desire for the second kid is outweighed by our contentment with our lives as they are and the flexibility to take a lower-paying job. Either way, I’m feeling more at ease with this particular question than I did either pre-kids or when my child was an infant.

  26. AuntE says:

    I’m pregnant with number 2, and while we aren’t ready to say “no more,” we’re pretty sure we’re done. My husband is an only and said before I got pregnant again that one wasn’t enough, he missed the sibling experience (and is worried about not being able to share the burden of taking care of older parents). I’m one of 2 girls, and we’ll have 2 girls, and it just feels right. On the other hand, if I let my mind wander, I could see us with 3 kids since I like being pregnant and keep thinking life just keeps getting more fun as our daughter gets older, but the major considerations are financial and mental health. I view it as a trade off between my wonderful but lower-paying government job that gives me time with my kids and a higher paying but never-see-my-kids job. We can give 2 kids a very comfortable lifestyle (parochial school, travel, etc.) with parents who are present or 3 kids a less comfortable lifestyle with harried parents. We’ll see if our situation changes, but for now, we’re looking forward to life as a family of 4. (That being said, I hope my older sister has 3 or more because I would love a gaggle of cousins for my girls!)

  27. avocado says:

    We are one and done, which I decided about five months into my pregnancy. I had hyperemesis for nine months, followed by a demanding infant. If I were to get pregnant again and things went the same way, I’d have to give up parenting my existing child for at least 18 months (husband or paid caregivers would have to take over 100%), which I am not willing to do.

    Even now, we are stretched to the max with just one. The only way we could give two kids adequate attention would be for me to become a SAHM, which is not happening for a variety of reasons. Plus that, I like being able to give our daughter experiences and advantages that we couldn’t afford or handle logisitically with multiple kids.

    Finally, I just never had the desire for more than one kid. Even though I originally thought we “had” to have two or three kids because that’s what people do, after my daughter was born I realized that when I’d imagined what it would be like to be a parent, the movie in my mind had only included one kid. After she was born I also never felt the same longing for a baby that I’d had in the years before she was born. I believe that no child should be brought into the world unless it is truly wanted, so it would be wrong for us to have another. My husband was initially disappointed, but after a while he made his peace with it and now I think he agrees that two would be too much to handle.

  28. Anonymous says:

    DH and I successfully timed our son for a late February due date (with the understanding that there was a good chance baby would be born in early March, which ended up happening). In our case we did it because DH is a professor and got a one semester paternity leave so we wanted to combine my 12 week mat leave + summer + his paternity leave to maximize the length of time baby could have a parent at home.
    But I think that in general, late February/March is a great time for a birthday. Avoids all major holidays (including our birthdays and Mothers/Fathers Day), isn’t over the summer so our son will get to celebrate with friends once he’s in school, and provides a nice thing to look forward to right as it seems like winter is never-ending. In our district, the cutoff for school is August so our son will be squarely in the middle of the class age-wise.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Argh, reply to E about birthdays.

  30. Here goes: I am calling our family planning “let go and let God.” I am expecting number 2 shortly, and we have no plans on stopping. While we will take precautions to not have another pregnancy in the very near-term, we are open to more kids in the long-term. I like feeling that this is not a decision we have to make; we get to roll with the punches and trust that the structure of our family is in the hands of a higher power (yes, I am quite religious, and having child(ren) has make me more so). I always wanted numerous children, and while I’ve found having a child to be less *fun* than expected, I can feel that parenthood is smoothing out my rough spots and helping me to be a better, more patient, more loving person. My husband is from a big family, and I truly believe that there are a lot of positives that come from that — like learning to share, to put the needs of others above your own, to be happy with living simply, to relate and care for people of all ages and abilities. I know nothing is a guarantee, but I’m hopeful.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is fascinating to me in the context of this career-focused moms’ community. Is the idea to practice NFP and embrace any pregnancies that result, or are you “planning” on having a double-digit number of children a la the Duggars? I believe they have a similar philosophy on leaving the size of their family to God’s will, but to me back-to-back pregnancies for more than a decade is incompatible with a traditional career. Do you mind sharing your career field and how you and your husband envision balancing work and family and addressing childcare if you have a lot of children? No judgement, everyone has different priorities and goals. I think yours are beautiful and big families are great, it’s just hard for me to wrap my head around the logistics because of my own vantage point (HCOLA, no nearby extended family, expensive daycare, demanding job), and I’m genuinely curious!

  31. Anon one and done says:

    Another one and done here.

    There are all sorts of practical reasons I’ve made this decision — age, expenses, career, lifestyle — but really I think our lives would go completely off the rails if we had another before our current hit kindergarten. Something would break – -either our marriage, my career, or possibly me. My husband occasionally makes noise about another, and occasionally I get a little clucky, so I’m a little sad about it, but would much rather regret only having one than regret having another. We’re far, far too old to wait a few more years until I think I could handle another.

    My child isn’t an only, my H has a child from his first marriage, but there’s a 16 year age gap and they see each other infrequently. But we all do what we can to make sure they maintain a relationship, and I really hope that they remain close so that my child won’t have to face the world alone once my husband and I aren’t here anymore.

    • Wow– hello, mom twin. My stepson and bio-son are 17 years apart. Not too many people can relate to that!
      I also like the idea of the much-older-brother growing to be a sort of parental (or at least role model) figure to the little guy. And there is nothing cuter than seeing them hang out together, although it doesn’t happen frequently because of the distance (college).

  32. Momata says:

    We have two, ages 3.5 and 2. My husband is one of 4 and really wants a third. I do NOT. And I have no excuse for it other than my own parenting shortcomings. My pregnancies, deliveries, and babies were easy. We can afford it. We have room in our house. We both work lifestyle jobs. And I’m just now 35. BUT. I already struggle with my stress level around my kids – I am really trying to not yell and to not get impatient, and I’m an introvert who needs alone time to recharge and I already don’t get enough of that. I think a third would just push me totally over the edge. And this makes me feel really guilty and like a bad person.

    • I think you have a pretty good “excuse” for not wanting a third. Those aren’t shortcomings, those are realities of parenthood. Someone above (or this morning?) said that the person who wants less gets to win and I agree. It’s not fair to bring a kid into a situation where both parents aren’t up for it (I realize that it happens, but I’m referring to planning babies, not the unforeseen).

      Also – all the “excuses” are relative.

    • OMG, don’t feel guilty.

      I always wanted three kids, but after having two, don’t know if we could ever really do it emotionally. I have a pretty set gov’t job and my husband works from home, but I swear we barely see each other and the romance is totally dead last on the priority list. I get super frustrated with my kids and am so so exhausted at the end of the day. I love them SO SO much, but my emotional health can’t add another one. And I think my marriage will be better off if we stop at two.

      I also think (for me) I wouldn’t feel comfortable having more than two biological children because of the environmental implications. Seems responsible to just replace ourselves rather than contribute to overpopulation (particularly after watching the giant iceberg break off this morning).

    • Husband wants a third says:

      You’re *my* mom twin! Similar situation — husband wants a third, and right now, I absolutely do not for all the reasons you mentioned, even though we could make it work financially/lifestyle-wise. @Momata — do you have family in town to help out? I think if we had that, it would tip me over to agreeing. But with no time for myself, I’m too close to the edge most days.
      When we got married we agreed to have three because we imagined a big family around the Thanksgiving table, but then after our first difficult baby, reality hit! I do worry that as the kids get older & more independent I will regret the decision not to tough it out & put myself through a few more baby years. Another baby might mean more stress and career sacrifice now, but at the end of my life when I’m looking back, will I feel it was worth it? (And not to mention 1 more kid = more chance of at least one supportive sibling relationships for the current two, and more chance of grandkids for us someday…)

  33. I have a college-age stepson and a toddler, so my little guy isn’t technically an “only” but in practice he kind of is (at least vis-a-vis the decision to have more babies). If we had started trying for the first on sooner, I think I would have wanted 2 babies. But we held off for a couple years to resolve some marriage stuff and make sure we were totally solid before trying. Now, my husband (who is a few years older) and I (37) feel too old, even though in reality we’re not.
    For me there are a lot of cons to having another baby. First, my first baby was pretty easy but it still knocked me on my @ss. We also have really tight schedules: 2 parents working full time and a kid in full-time daycare. If we had to manage two childcare situations, I think we’d go crazy; I don’t know how we’d fit it in and be good at work too. Speaking of crazy, there’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family. I don’t want to tempt fate by spreading my genes around too much.
    Finally, I know this can’t be true, but I just don’t feel like I could love any child as much as I love my son. He is the best thing ever and it makes me so happy to watch him doing things for the first time, learning everything, developing a personality. I don’t trust myself to be able to love another kid as much, or maybe to be as interested in everything, especially if he/she had a different temperament or was harder to care for— and I would never want a kid to feel “second best.” That probably makes me a bad person, but at least I’m self-aware?

    • AwayEmily says:

      I am pregnant with my second and am plagued by the same worries. My daughter is just SO AWESOME and I find it hard to believe another kid could match up/be so endlessly fascinating. This is exacerbated by the fact that the new baby is a boy and I’m (incorrectly, I’m sure) attributing some of her awesomeness to the fact that she’s a girl. Ugh. Makes me feel better to hear about amazing boys like yours though, and reinforces how dumb I’m being!

    • Meg March says:

      Obviously this varies by baby/parent, but my mom told me once that while I was an easy baby, and my younger brother was a difficult baby, she felt way more bonded to him when he was newborn. She attributes it to the fact that I was willing to be held/fed/played with by anyone, while he needed HER. She said that led to “loving” him a lot more. Which is not to say that she didn’t love me, or neglected me or anything, just that she felt a deeper bond to her “problem child.” My mom and I have a great relationship now, btw, and have since I was a teenager..

  34. ChangeofHeart says:

    How did you and your spouse come to an agreement on a number? Have any of you had your first after 30? We had always thought we’d have four kids, but we’re turning 32 this year, don’t have kids yet (TTC for four years – yes I’m seeing a specialist) so I’m starting to envision a four person family instead of six. How do you discuss a change of heart with your spouse?

    • I think the reality of parenthood is soooo different than the vision pre-baby that a change of heart is rather common. My husband was ambivalent about having any kids and is now glad we had 1. I always pictured having more than 1, but we didn’t start TTC until I was 34 so I knew I had limited time. Once our son was born I was ambivalent at best about having more due to how hard pregnancy and early parenthood were for us, and my husband was pretty committed to being done with 1. So as our son got older and I got to 40 and neither of us was having a change of heart, I officially accepted we were done. The only reason I say it is official now is that I had surgery to correct stress incontinence, which I would have postponed if I was having another baby. If I didn’t have this reason I would probably still be saying there’s a chance, which I feel like is a gentle way to come to terms with such a big decision.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the majority of women here had their first child after 30, many after 35. For women with advanced degrees and full-time employment in demanding careers, having a child in the 20s is not that common. That’s not really the point though. It’s totally reasonable to want fewer kids because your timeline was pushed back. Just talk to your spouse about it! I honestly don’t think most spouses reach a definitive agreement on the number of kids until they’ve had at least one anyway. Sure, you might have an idea, especially about one vs. more than one, but you just can’t really know until you have one and go through it. My (single) sister in law is always saying she wants “four in four” (4 kids in four years) and I just roll my eyes on the inside. Tell me that after you’ve actually parented a newborn for a minute. And toddlers aren’t exactly easy either.
      And sorry you’re struggling with TTC. I hope you get whatever kind of family you decide you ultimately want.

    • Jeffiner says:

      I had my first and 35, and will be 38 when my second is born. My husband is 2 years younger than I am. We had lots of rational discussions about kids, finances, travel, etc, but in the end the decision for both was purely emotional. I “just wanted kids” and my husband “would regret never having kids.” Despite those pre-baby opinions, we both love being parents.

    • Katarina says:

      I had my first at 33 and my second at 36. If everything goes well, I will be 39 when I have a third. FWIW we always agreed to reevaluate our numbers after each child. My husband is almost four years younger than me, though.

  35. Jeffiner says:

    My husband was always on the fence about kids, while I wanted 2-3. He finally came off of the fence on the side of kids and decided 2 was a good number to have. However, after the birth of our daughter he decided he was one and done. I was DEVASTATED. He had plenty of rational reasons to not want a second – the sleepless nights, the loss of free time for our own hobbies, the difficulty of traveling, the money – but I couldn’t get over wanting a second child. I would cry every month when I ovulated. I told him I wanted to go to therapy either alone or as a couple, because I still love him and don’t want this to drive us apart. He said if it was that important to me, we would try for a second.

    We didn’t try very hard, with regards to timing, but BAM, one month later I was pregnant. I’m 37, and it took a while to get pregnant the first time, so we were both shocked. He is actually a lot calmer during this pregnancy than he was during the first. I will be happy to stop at 2. If something goes wrong with this pregnancy, I’m not sure if we’ll try again or not.

  36. Anon CPA says:

    I’m pregnant with our third, and I think we’re done. We have just enough bedrooms in this house (that I love!), and truly, three feels like the limit on our time and finances. I can be an awesome mom to three kids. Add a fourth, and all hell might break loose.

    My oldest two are 2 1/2 years apart, and will be two grades apart in school. This little one is just over 3 years younger, but will end up being four grades behind – which kind of makes me want to have another quickly so she has a friend (we’ll have three girls).

    Husband always wanted five, but is fine with my decision to stop at three. I had an intense delivery last time and my anxiety around another delivery delayed this pregnancy a bit. Maybe I’ll have a really awesome experience this time, and be swayed into having a fourth. :)

  37. Rainbow Hair says:

    Reading these was kind of comforting. I always thought, “if I have any kids, I want to have a bunch.” But one kicked my butt – pregnancy sucked, birth was traumatic, PPD was no freakin’ joke – so I’m thinking one-and-done. If a newborn could magically appear (or if my husband could carry a child), I’d probably be down for it. But me? Nope.

    It makes me a little sad because growing up with siblings was awesome… sometimes. And having siblings now IS awesome. My daughter LOVES babies and is so empathetic, and would be as good a big sibling as a self-obsessed toddler can be, so I do feel like I’m denying her something. I envy the people who say, “Yeah I didn’t like being pregnant/birth/whatever, but I knew I wanted more kids, so I did it.” I wish I were on that train.

    On the other hand, I like having an empty bedroom for guests; I like that we can travel a little lighter than with two; I like thinking that once we’re done with diapers, we’re DONE. Etc. etc. etc.

    • +1 to “If a newborn could magically appear (or if my husband could carry a child)”! I was really jealous of a lesbian couple I know being able to negotiate who would carry the babies and stay home with them.

  38. Lisa M. says:

    We have three children, two girls and a boy. No, we did not have a third to “finally get a boy” as so many helpful strangers were willing to comment in front of my older two when the youngest was a baby. I come from a family of three and always wanted at least that many. My husband has one sibling and thought three was too many, but he agreed to try for a third after quite a bit of discussion of the pros and cons. We are both happy with the size of our family now. I had very easy pregnancies and deliveries. I would probably have had a fourth if that’s all there was to it. I waited until our youngest was four before we did anything permanent in regard to birth control, but by that time I realized three was as many as we could raise well while both maintaining challenging jobs, which was important to both of us as well.

  39. For me, it was a feeling. Before my third child was born, I felt like someone was missing, someone else was meant to be here. After she was born, that feeling was gone. I got divorced shortly after she was born and I realized I definitely didn’t want more kids through the dating process. I had the feeling I didn’t want any more but I didn’t really think beyond that until I dated a man with no kids. He wanted his own child and I panicked. I didn’t want any more kids. No one was missing. I didn’t want to deal with sleepless nights and morning sickness. None of that held appeal. I still feel that my family is complete. The only way I will add children is if I marry someone who also had children.

  40. EB0220 says:

    We have two. I would love to have one more. I wasn’t sure I even wanted kids, but once I had one I knew I wanted more. I had easy pregnancies and births (as much as birth is “easy”). My first was about 12 hrs with an epidural, second was 3 hrs with no meds. My body seems to crank them out and I LOVE babies, nursing, etc. My husband is completely done, however, so I’ve resigned myself to two and given all of the baby stuff away. I’m still hoping against hope that husband will change his mind someday but I doubt it. So I’ll content myself with my two sweeties (who are really awesome, occasionally loud and keep me plenty busy). My career is picking up, too, and it would be hard to go back into the “pregnancy corridor”. So, with mixed feelings, we are done at two.

  41. Anonymous says:

    We only have one, but that’s only partially by choice. We tried for two years (including 8 months of fertility treatment) to get our son, and then I had a tough pregnancy and nearly lost him twice, at 12 and 19 weeks. Then I had to have an emergency c-section at 36 weeks, and he had to spend time in the NICU. Then he had colic and never slept. We were exhausted until he was about three years old, at which point we thought about having another baby…and then the recession hit, my husband lost his job, and it was not the time to try to have another baby. By the time everything stabilized, my son was already 5, had started kindergarten, and we made an attempt at trying to get pregnant – when nothing happened after four months, my RE had a really blunt conversation with me and said “you really got lucky the first time, with treatment. Without treatment, this isn’t happening. You most likely need IVF. Are you ready to do that?” And the answer to that question was no – we didn’t have the money, or the time, or really even the desire to go through all of that.

    I have regret about not having a second child, especially as our first is getting older and needing us less and less. But the situation is what it is. It would have been great if things had happened the way we wanted them to, but they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong – the regret isn’t all-consuming, or anything. But if you feel like you probably want a second child, have one while you have the chance, is my advice. If we could have gotten pregnant the old-fashioned way, without tens of thousands of dollars of medical intervention involved, we would have.

  42. Katarina says:

    We have two, and plan on trying for a third. I originally thought I wanted either 0 or 2, and my husband wanted 3 or 4. We decided to have one, and re-evaluate after each child. After our first, we both new we wanted a second. We have a 2.5 year gap, and the transition to two was really hard. We more or less both want a third, but with a bigger gap, at least 3 years, so the middle one is more self sufficient (and potty trained). For me, it mostly comes down to my children are so great, I want more of them. I know it will be hard. It has been tough on my career, and I am pretty much constantly stressed. My husband stays home with the children, but I have to bear the burden of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding (I know breastfeeding is optional, but after breastfeeding two, I would feel obligated to do the same for the third). My pregnancies were fairly easy, if not pleasant, childbirth was fine, and I had two easy babies. We have discussed adoption, and that is a possibility. But they bring me so much joy, I just don’t feel done. I am somewhat uncertain, but my husband is very certain he wants more.

  43. Anon for this says:

    We were on the fence about having 2 (I actually posted about it here a few times), I realize it sounds completely insane but what finally convinced me to have a second child was the episode of Vampire Diaries where Caroline’s mom died. My mom almost died last year and it was touch-and-go for an entire month while she was in a coma and I don’t think I would have come through it very well if I didn’t have my sister. A lot of people were supportive during that time, but no one was in the same position and understood what I was going through like my sister did. I didn’t realize the significance of it until I re-watched that episode and saw what it probably would have been like as an only child. I realize my kids could grow up and hate each other but I want them to have the option and possibility of having that support.

  44. Gov Lawyer says:

    I was struggling (and still sort of am) with having 2, but feeling like someone is missing from the family. While I haven’t totally ruled it out (might consider adoption if we are fortunate enough to get through the process and the timing ever “works” – but uncomfortable to have a 3rd biologically because of environmental concerns), I think for us and the emotional stability of our marriage, we are done. My husband is REALLY ready to be done – and has commented that he often feels like he comes after our children (in terms of priorities) and wants to put “us” first again. I used to think it was SO selfish (I mean, we go on date nights! lol) – but it’s not the worst thing in the world to have your husband want more time with you. :)

    I also think he has different financial expectations that I do. I grew up working for everything I have, and he grew up with a fully funded college account and help with rent when he was starting out (an experience he’d like to pass on). Ultimately, I can respect where he’s coming from.

    All that to say – the NUMBER ONE thing that helped me reconcile the idea of my family being “complete” – and truly recognizing the blessing to even be in this position, was this blog post: https://cupofjo.com/2015/09/how-many-children-to-have/

    For me, having kids would “keep me young” and avoid “middle age” (HAHAHA) – when, if I’m being honest, I want to really be able to soak in the lives of my two children and not be even more hurried than I already am.

    Wanted to post in case it helps anyone else out, too.

  45. PatsyStone says:

    I think we’re one and done. We’d need my parents in town, or the money for more help to make it at all possible. I had a bad pregnancy, and zero desire to be pregnant again (though if i had the means to hire a surrogate I would seriously look into it). And frankly, I’m not sure my mental health could take it. I am an introvert and deal with manic depression (treated & medicated). My son has brought so much joy into my life, but I don’t know if I have sufficient sanity for two.

    I am one of three and I remember my mom always having to lean on the kindness of other parents for help at times. I realized that I would need that with another kid, and that I would rather be the person who can cheerfully offer to help another parent.

  46. I have 2 young boys and want a third child, husband says no more. Logically, it makes sense to stop at 2, but I cannot shake the feeling that I’m not done. I asked him to wait one more year and reevaluate, but I doubt he will come around. I am struggling to accept this, as I really feel like someone is missing.

  47. anon for this says:

    My husband and I didn’t want kids. One of his family members passed away, and he was named as the guardian of her two children in her will. Then, less than a month later we found out I was unexpectedly pregnant….with twins. Went from wanting 0 kids to having 4 in this than a year. I wouldn’t change anything, but I doubt we would have chosen to have four kids without the universe making the decision for us.

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