- Family and Parenting
When A Woman Continues To Have Children: How Many Children Are Too Many
How many children will you have? Sometimes by choice and other times by chance; what is the right size family for you?
Large Families In The Past
Both of my grandparents were devout Catholics. They did not come from large families but when they married in 1936 there was no such thing as birth control. Grandpa would always say the more kids they had, the merrier it was in the household. Owning a farm and many acres of land, grandpa also appreciated all of the additional help he received when it came time to work the fields. My Aunt Catherine bounced into the world dark hair and big blue eyes, she was a bundle of joy in 1938. I don't believe that my grandmother anticipated having another child so close to the first but was elated when my Aunt Ruth was born in 1939. Enjoying the time with the first two girls, by 1941 Aunt Virginia was born. Rita (my mother) came along in 1943. With little ones not even in school grandma found out she was pregnant with Aunt Betty. Giving birth to her in 1945. My grandparents home was not a sprawl, it was a simple one bedroom home with a basement that was surrounded by 100+ acres of hard labor.
By the time Betty arrived grandma already had two children in school. The oldest girls were schooled in a little red schoolhouse. Grandpa was a little disappointed because he had all girls and not a single boy. Grandma had gotten a break from diapers until 1947 when Uncle Tom arrived. Elated my grandfather knew that he would finally have a boy to help him with the farm. It appeared in the family that when grandpa had a little down time another child was born. It was common back then to have a large family, many needed extra hands to work the fields.
When Uncle Jim arrived in 1948 the oldest two were almost grown and were able to help care for the younger children. Mom once told me the more children that were in the home, the more work that had to be done. I don't know if grandma intended to have so many children, because she appeared to always be a little stern and not to affectionate. But when Aunt Martha arrived in 1950, it has been said that she told my grandfather she was finished with having children, she didn't want to have anymore. Grandpa and grandma knew the cards were stacked against them. As fertile as grandma was it was only a matter of time before Aunt Carlene arrived in 1951, Auntie Dixie in 1952, Aunt Nina in 1953, Aunt Candy in 1954, Uncle Clyde in 1955 and somewhere in between 1955 and 1961 she suffered a miscarriage. It has been reported through family members that the doctor's told my grandmother if she had anymore she could die. She spun the wheel one last time and had my Uncle Leon in 1961. What a large brood!
Now was this large brood created because birth control was not yet available? Or was it necessity? My grandmother almost lost her life with my Uncle Leon. Could you imagine my grandfather raising all of these children? Granted three had already left the nest and raising families of their own; but for the next two girls there lives could have changed completely if this would have happened.
It was common for families back then to have large families. Nobody took a second look at the finances of the home. Many were barely scraping by while trying to put food on the table. Birth control did not exist and the only contraceptive was to sleep in separate beds.
Large Families Present
Today there are two families who have been in the spotlight. One by choice and there other by chance. Octomom and the Duggar family have both chose to have large families. So why does the general population feel so uncomfortable with the size of the family? Is it the downsizing of America that has created the conflict?
In the past four years the Duggar family has grown from 17 to 19 children. With the loss of Jubilee Duggar at the end of last year, the official count would be 20. Conservative Christians they are able to provide for them financially and work with a buddy system with the older children. How they remember all of the names when they begin with 'J' God only knows.
So why do people consider the a freak show? Personally I don't see any issues with this family. It is there choice. They are a loving committed family who truly love children. The only concern I have for Michelle Duggar is her age. With the recent loss of a child, I would recommend they stop while they are ahead. All 19 children need both of there parents for the next forty years.
'Octomom' Nadya Suleman had already gave birth to 6 of her children. She then chose to have 8 more through invitro. It was by chance all of the fertilized eggs matured. So why are people threatening her life? Harassing her and humiliating her for the choices that she made? She had her children by choice. Financially she could not afford them. With so many real-life stories maybe she was hoping to cash in on a little fame and fortune. So why destroy this young woman's character? Is it really necessary?
Why scrutinize families who choose to have more then 2.2 children? I do not see anything wrong with having a large family. It doesn't matter if you are poor, rich or middle class. What matters is that the children are all been provided for and not abused. Instead of looking at both of these families as oddities, look at them as families who simply chose to have children outside of the norm. If my grandparents could raise 14 healthy children on a farmer's wage then these families will survive.
© 2012 Sole property of the author *No copying or duplication without written consent from the author.