My husband and I have a 1 1/2 year old and are contemplating whether or not we want to have more.
With the economy the way it is, and seeing how hard it can be to make ends meet (which is sad, because our annual income is nothing to laugh at), I'm wondering if maybe we should focus on giving everything we can to our son, or if we should try to make it work with another.
Has anyone else ever felt outside pressures on their child-count decision?
I feel so torn.
Yes, I feel intense pressure regarding my child-count decision - mostly because I have chosen to leave mine at nil; people generally look at me as though I've grown a second head when I say that, and the first words out of most people's mouths are "But you would make such a GREAT mother!!!" Well, thanks - but I've decided to be a great something else, and it wouldn't be fair to have children when my life is truly devoted to other pursuits
Having said that, I fully support and respect the decisions of others to have children (and, in fact, I love kids). Just don't want any of my own, partially for the reasons you listed as well as others (including a completely irrational fear of pregnancy and giving birth).
Of course, I cannot tell you what to do...but I can say: Think about it, search your heart, and remember that life is what happens while we're making plans. OH! And don't forget - the decision is between you and your husband alone; I would do my best to disregard outside pressure as much as possible.
I wish you the best! Keep us posted. :-)
At one point I had decided I would be happy without children, but then met my husband and that went out the window. lol. I think it's actually pretty admirable to decide not to have children when you know that your energy is dedicated elsewhere, preventing what I see so often - neglected children. I was one of those kids. I saw everyone but my mom, and my dad left before I was born. I was always with my grandparents, or one of my mom's friends. I commend you on being so considerate.
"life is what happens while we're making plans" - love it. Actually made me smile
I'll do my best to take the advice on outside pressures. It almost feels like I'm trying to make myself feel ok about having only one. I grew up an only child and always wanted siblings, but I think that was because I was lonely. I think only children can be happy and not feel that way if they are allowed to have friends and socialize.
I started out not sure if I wanted any. My life growing up was no picnic and I was sure that I really had nothing to offer a child. I definitely had a plan of what I wanted to do first, if I did take that plunge though. Best laid plan and all.....I ended up pregnant with my first one about seven months after getting married. I cried my eyes out and was terrified.
Eight months later my baby boy was born and I couldn't believe the emotion that came out of me. I was sure though that I couldn't possibly love another as much. Or could I? Almost three years after my first, my second (a little girl) was born.
I thought I was done after that. I had one of each and money was tight at times. I wanted to be able to give them all the things I didn't have growing up. Until I started seeing how spoiled that could make them. I got to witness first hand what happened if you give a child who gets everything, something they don't want or already have for a present. It wasn't pretty and made quite a few people gasp in shock (including their well-intentioned mother). Besides, the best gift I could give them was my love, time and attention.
I ended up with a few more kids (haha!) and I love each and every one more than anything else--besides their father, of course They appreciate everything they have and what it takes to get those things. I think it makes them take better care of what they have too, when they have to earn some of what they want.
We're considered middle class, but have been hit hard in this economy. I still don't regret our family decisions. We have what we need. My children love each other and enjoy each others' company (though don't believe for a second that they don't fight). I've never been happier in my entire life. I kid you not. But I know it's not for everyone to have five kids (go figure! LOL).
My house and heart are full and I'll never regret not following that other plan I used to have for my life. Can I tell you the best part for us? Family dinners. Love them! Some great conversations and feel-good moments.
Your life, your decision. But as GlassSpider summed it up very well. Life IS what happens when you're busy making other plans. Good luck to you!
The decision lies solely on you and your husband but you feel you can manage with two or even ten kids well and good.I don,t think that the economy and your earnings should relate to this matter because I believe God will make away,whether you have zero kids or one.have you ever heard of singles going without food?I know you have,the economy depends on us but not vice versa.Thanks and get more kids.
i agree disregard any pressure, but also disregard any penny counting- it is not necessary to give a child everything- love is a good start- we have three children. Had I looked at the economics we would have stopped at No 1 which would have been sad as my three enjoy having siblings
It's nice to hear of siblings who love each other. My husband and his sister can't be around each other for more than 4 hours without there being a fight of sorts.
I kept everything of my son's so that if we had another, and it is a boy, I already have everything I need, saving lots of money. I think that's how my grandparents were able to have so many children on their income.
Ladyface. I grew up an only child with both parents, wasn't spoiled by any means as we couldnt afford "spoiling" but, I never missed out on anything.
When I got married, I wanted kids but my hubby did not. 11 years passed and somehow we were expecting.
The second I held that baby in my arms I KNEW and I mean I KNEW that I could not possibly have that much love for anyone else.
That sounds selfish, but it is true. How many people do you know that have brothers and sisters that really hate each other or have you ever seen parents favor one kid over the other?
That is just not fair,.and it causes hurt to the one that is not being favored.
My son is 17 now, and though it is just he and I, he is a very happy young man. I would not trade the bond I have with him for nothing.
Money,, now that is another issue. It doesn't cost anymore or much more to raise two than it would to raise one.
Money has nothing to do with it. Family is everything. Nobody ever lay there on their deathbed lamenting their inability to have more stuff or better stuff for their kids. They think of family. You want more family, make some. Babies are cute, little kids are hilarious, teenagers are entertaining (between fits of being annoying), and a brother or sister will enrich your other kid's life. The question really is, at least in my opinion, whether you want to do the preganancy and the first few months of no sleep or not.
You made valid points, Shades. It's not the pregnancy at all. I actually didn't mind being preggo, and the sleep thing wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.
The enriching thing is an interesting point though. I think that depends on each individual. My husband and her sister can't go 4 hours without erupting into some sort of argument. My best friend and her 2 brothers are like a sparkly tv family. I grew up an only child and always wanted siblings, because I was pretty secluded and lonely. My niece in-law is an only child but is a super happy kid, because she gets to socialize and play with her friends, and doesn't feel that loneliness that makes you wish there was another.
I love big families. When I was a teen I got my wish when I met my father and found out I'm one of 6. Love big families. The thought of having someone there no matter what, someone to go through hard times with, and someone that (hopefully) will always be there for you sounds like a dream, which is why I want more kids.
But sometimes I wonder... if maybe one is enough.
And what of those people that the general public go on about, "shouldn't have more kids if you know you can't support them" ?
Ahhh!! Obviously the decision is mine, but discussing it and seeing different points of view and others' experiences brings it to a less daunting and anxious level.
In my humble opinion, which isn't saying much, just by seriously thinking about it and talking about it already answers your question. I've known families that haven't had a dime to spare and are closer to one another than families that seem to have everything.
From the way you talk, if you took the finances out of the equation, you'd have another child in a heartbeat. I believe that if you want a child that bad, you'll find a way..
I wish you luck with your decision..
We were so absolutely thrilled with our little son we decided we wanted to have another one just like him. (Even though it turned out the next one would only be "a lot like him", because, of course, children are all different.) Anyway, we knew, without a doubt, we wanted another one. My thing was, though, that I wanted to make sure each child had at least their first three years with all the one-on-one attention I think each child needs in order to get the attention/nurturing he needs. In the first couple of years of each baby's life, we just didn't even think about having the next one. As each got past two I felt like they were at an age when they'd benefit from having a new little sibling - not lose out because of having one too close. (Just my thinking. I know it isn't everyone's.)
For me, though, I wouldn't even been at all interested in having another one when any of them were under two. Maybe that's one reason you're not sure right now either. I'm guessing you'll be sure when/if the time is right for you and your first child. You'll know if/when it is, and tell everyone else to buzz off.
That's a good way of doing things, I've tried to find out which age gap seems to work best between siblings, but it seems that it's different for each family. I think you have a good theory though, each child having their own starter years with their parents without new babies 'interfering' so to say. Indeed, maybe in a year or two I'll be certain without a doubt. Not only that, maybe I'll feel more comfortable with our financial situation. Buying diapers for two children doesn't seem like the optimal course of action lol.
Just my 2 cents here...
My husband and I have three kids. When they were young, we had very little money, as I was a stay at home mom, so we got by on one income, for the most part. I did do some work at home things for extra cash, but it was never a ton of money, by any means...
Anyway--my kids, when looking back at their childhoods, have never mentioned feeling like they didn't have enough material items growing up. They always talk about the fun things we did together, or the funny things that happened with the three of them.
The story I remember the most is my daughter, who is the oldest, telling about her favorite Christmas as a kid. It was the year she and her brother(they are the two oldest) each got a pogo stick on Christmas morning...they were both soooo thrilled with those things, lol...
Now this was NOT back in the 50's, lol, this was only back in the 90's--they have all received "bigger and better" gifts before, and since, then, but that's the Christmas they remember the most.
I guess my point is, that money doesn't make a better childhood for your children...love and attention does. Ours proved it, as far as I'm concerned.
By the way, my oldest two are 15 months apart, and although it was hard at times, I loved that they were so close in age, as they always had a playmate. When their little brother came along when they were 5 and 6, well, that was nice, too, 'cause they treated him kinda like a new toy for a long time, haha...
Good luck with your decision--I'm sure that whatever you decide will be the right one for you and your husband!
Factors like financial is second to other factors like ; time for yourselves, spacing of children, happiness that a big family can bring plus the smile of your baby and hugs compensate for the physical demands of raising them, personal career and advancement vs family commitment.
I thought about this as I have only one sister, I wish I had more.
There is a proverb that says 'Every baby is born with a loaf of bread under each arm.' And with my five children, I have seen proof of this.
Tam - thank you for your 2cents worth. It's definitely worth more than that. Your bit about the two making like the new baby was a new toy made me laugh lol. I'm in that place - the stay at home mom, but I haven't made it to the 'making money from home' stage yet. I have a lot of carpentry, artwork, sewing, and computer systems skills and although I've done everything from fixing computers to making dresses to doing paintings and sketches and making elaborate custom bookcases, it seems like a pipe dream to get the finances together for materials to start anything substantial.
Thank you for your advice It's nice to see proof that larger families can be happy without having a 'ton' of money.
Pretty - I've thought of that, time for ourselves, because I think that time for yourself is crucial to being really happy, and being really happy is something I want to be for my child(ren). And you've got that right - the happiness a big family can bring, and all the sweet little moments you have with a baby...I certainly do want my career back eventually; I got a lot of happiness out of it and I miss certain things that I don't get a home.
I'm assuming by your post that you and your sister get along really well, which is really nice
Ivorwen - that's an interesting saying, one I've never heard before. My friend did tell me once that, in regards to things you need for your baby, 'it will always come from somewhere, even when you think it won't'. We had a few instances like that with our son, where we were a little worried, and then suddenly, things worked out.
5 children! Now THAT is a big family. Are they very far apart in age? My aim was always four, but my husband's was always two lol.
Ladyface--One more thing I forgot to mention, lol...
As far as time to yourself, as you already know, it's tougher to have a lot of that when your kids are babies. But, as they get older, establishing set times for naps and bedtimes really are important for getting them into a routine, and finally getting your own time to yourself!
We always had our kids in bed by 8 o'clock every night--that gave my husband and I every evening all to ourselves, and we loved it!
I'm sure you'll think of some way to get what you need to work from home, if that's your goal...where there's a will, there's a way! I used to sew goose outfits--do you know what they are??? Ridiculous little things, but I made good money on them, so who cared?haha
I moved on to selling on Ebay, though, and I enjoyed that a lot more, lol...
My children are all about 2 years apart, currently ages 3-11.
There have been many times when I put something on the list of things needed for them, and then got them from an unexpected source.
One example, this summer I knew my oldest would need sever pairs of size 12 slim jeans for this winter. These are NEVER on sale in stores, do I was a bit concerned about the cost. Then I stopped by a garage sale. Clothing was $1 a garbage bag. I found 5 pairs of hardly used jeans for him, and jeans for another child to grow into, plus sweatshirts for several of them, all for a dollar. It just works.
Tam - I DO know what they are! I would never have thought, what a great idea. I had no idea they would be in such demand.
Selling on Ebay must really be a change. What an open world that is. You can find just about anything there!
Ivorwen - Thank you for that example. It's comforting knowing how things work out. (and really, what the heck is up with jean prices?)
Nell - As I can see by your profile pic, you certainly are blessed. When I got pregnant with my son I was, as well, terrifed. Not planned at all, and (in the nicest possible way) the worst possible timing. We conceived him the same week we got married lol. Not. Planned. So I can at least relate to that 'surprise! Look! It's a baby! You're the mom! OK - GO!" moment. lol.
Your favorite moment is what my favorite moment in my imagination is. Big family dinners. Lots of chatter, lots of laughing, discussing, lots of love and good food. It must come from watching all of those sparkly tv families lol. Your post makes me smile.
Yes I love that post from GlassSpider. It's awesome! This has helped immensely. Not in the way that, because of others' posts I will have more children, but just hearing about the experiences of others is helping to ease some of that anxiety that comes from worrying about outside pressures. That leaves my mind free to make that decision based on things that matter. Thank you
I'm an only with an only, and have written about both elsewhere.
I love having and being one. If it's what you want, don't let anyone pressure you into having more. They won't help you raise them.
It's not about money. Our family is happy and complete.
Thank you, Christene, many parents of one child are pressurized to have more than one. They portend that it is not "good" to have only one child because he/she will be "spoilt" , "self-centered", and "maladjusted." If you want only one child, this is fine. No one should have children they do not want and/or cannot afford!
Hi Ladyface (and fellow Canadian). I have read your post and all replies with great interest, and I've been trying to respond all day! Between diaper changes and feedings of my six month old, driving one of the 19-year-olds back to university, and helping my 16-year-old with homework, the day is getting away from me! And I wouldn't have it any other way.
As with most things in life, there are no guarantees in parenting. Having one or more siblings won't guarantee that your son will learn to share, just as being an "only" doesn't guarantee that he will be spoiled. Does he have cousins or little friends around to interact and learn social skills with? And think about yourself. YOU will be the one birthing and raising the child - think carefully about your energy level and what gives you joy. While some women find more children equal more joy, others find them exhausting. Age, mental health, spousal support, are just a few of the things to keep in mind. Notice that I didn't mention the financial aspect? I agree with other posters who have found that the money situation resolves itself, one way or the other....that has been my experience as well...I don't actually think it is a bad thing to NOT be able to give your children everything.....all the best with your decision!
I find the responses to the money part of raising kids here interesting. I know a couple that are very responsible with money and have a lot of it.
Yet they think that it would be hard to raise even ONE kid because it cost so much. Really, they are holding off just because of the money issue, and they make over $100,000 a year.
I myself could not afford a kid, but then I don't want any. I dunno, I think you should indeed look at the financial part of it.
Heck many people decide they can't afford a pet, much less a child. But it's not an area I know much about.
It is an awesome feeling. Feeling a baby kicking, inside your body. But in the same respect, it can be super scary.
The thoughts that raced through my mind. Can we afford it? What if I don't hear him wake up when he is hungry? That's just 2 of the billion thoughts.
Now, when he comes up behind me and scares the pants off me, and then takes off running, uttering something like, you are the best mom, i love you, oh, he is such a con-artist.
I don't have kids myself, but I can share the experience of one of my close friends, Lorna.
Lorna has two children, 4 years apart. One night when we'd had a few too many chardonnays, she said, "If I could have my time again, I wouldn't have a second child".
With one child, it's still affordable to go on holidays. With two kids, air travel is now out of the question. Travelling or eating out with one child can be fun - with two, it's not just double the effort, it's triple, and exhausting.
Her aged mother and mother-in-law happily coped with babysitting one child for hours, but two is too tiring. So Lorna and her husband rarely go on outings together because they can't afford the extra cost of paid babysitting.
Don't get me wrong, Lorna wouldn't hand back her second child - she adores him. But she said, "with one, I could have the joy of a child plus still have my own life. With two, I've had to give up most of the things I used to enjoy, and build my life around my kids."
Ava - Woa what a day! You're surely right there, I was raised an only child and know very well how to share, and am not 'spoiled rotten'. There aren't a whole lot of kids for him to hang around with where we live. Now that you mention it, this comes in to play too; my husband is a profession that causes us to move around every few years, so we'll move a few times while he's growing up. I suppose as long as he learns healthy friendship and self-esteem habits it won't be a big issue. I hope
Thanks for the advice, I like your point that it's not a bad thing to NOT be able to give your children everything.
mom - (love the name) I indeed have seen children be favored, and hear the results every time I see my good friend who is constantly compared to her sibling, who can do no wrong. I've seen her really upset because of it at times. I have seen all different types of sibling dynamics though. Seems to depend on the individual people and parents.
You couldn't be more right about the thoughts that go through your head. You worry and wonder about everything. Will I over feed him? Under feed him? How often does he bathe? Why hasn't he woken up yet?
lol your son sounds sweet.
Bill - WOA! Over $100,000 / year? Perhaps this could be used for perspective on the issue.
Marisa - thank you for so openly and honestly waving at the elephant in the room. I think people are afraid that they'll sound unacceptably selfish if they decide they want to have more in life for themselves than have more than one child. You raise some very valid points.
I suppose the whole ordeal is specific to what you want out of life, what you want your life to consist of, and what is more important.
In the back of my mind is always this thought, 'you only get one life, one of every day, you can't ever have them back once they're gone, and when you're 70 you want to look back on your life and be happy about the choices you made, and not wishing you had done something differently.'
Thank you for your comment
Mentioning the elephant in the room - yes, I'm good at that!
By the way, if you're worried about having too big a gap between siblings if you wait too long - I'm very close to my younger sister who's nearly 5 years younger than me. I think it was probably the perfect gap, because I was old enough to understand what was going on, and old enough to "help" with the new baby (so I felt very important and grown-up instead of feeling supplanted).
I think you've got a good point there. Not that a smaller age gap isn't necessarily as equal, but I also know someone who has three girls, 9, 1 and and 2, and the oldest is the most helpful, loving sibling I've ever seen. She loves her little sisters! I'm always kind of amazed when I see them all together.
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