One of the most common questions moms ask is “should I have another child” or “how many children is the right number”. There are women questioning whether or not they want children. These are questions that have no absolutely right answer. This series is a collection of stories from women who have decided to not have any children, who have one child only, two children or three or more or have had an unplanned pregnancy. They are honest stories about why these women made these choices and how they have impacted their lives.
I have two kids, a girl Rachel who’s 5 and a boy Benjamin, who’s 2 and a bit. I was very lucky in that they were both planned down to the month (give or take a month!) and we didn’t struggle to fall pregnant.
I come from a family of three kids and I’ve always liked the balance of that. If one sibling was busy or away, there was always another one to keep me company.
But I married a man who only has 1 sibling and for him having 2 kids is what’s “normal”. “Things are designed around families of four!” he says and he’s partly right. Pork chops come in packs of four. Most cars fit 4 in comfortably. Most family hotel rooms too. So for him, having more than that was never an option and I’ve quickly become very comfortable with our decision and very happy with our pigeon pair.
I don’t think we would have made a different decision if we’d had two girls though – we would have been more than happy with that. Ben was supposed to be a girl in fact, the gynae said he was a girl right up until our 20 week scan! I have never been a “natural” mother, I found babies challenging and overwhelming and it’s only now that my kids are a bit older that I finally feel like myself again and am comfortable in my mothering skin. The idea of disrupting all that by having a third child would be going against all my instincts and what I know is right for me. I have friends for whom mothering is like breathing and all they wanted was to hold another baby in their arms and for them, I can see that having more than two kids is extremely rewarding. But I am not like that, so when people ask when I’m having my third, I can say with honesty that I feel complete and that we’re done.
Life, education, groceries, school uniforms, everything has become more and more expensive, so having two children was partly an economic decision for us. I also firmly believe that this world is already overpopulated. And that bringing countless children into the world without thinking about their impact on our dwindling resources is irresponsible. That’s why I like the idea of having two children, to replace my husband and I when we are gone.
One of the cons of only having two kids though is that I worry about them being lonely when I’m no longer here. What if one of them goes to live overseas? And then once we’ve passed away, they would be all alone without any family to lean on. That’s when the idea of having 3 or 4 kids becomes appealing, but for me, this isn’t a big enough reason to have more.
I think that if you listen very carefully to your instincts, you will know what’s right for you. Whether this is one child, or two, or three, we’re all suited to different family set ups and there is no straightforward solution for everyone. I felt a sense of completeness on holding my son in my arms, which told me that two was enough. And if you pay attention to your own inner mothering voice, I’m sure you’ll hear it speak too.