Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: How many children is too many?

Monday, 2 November 2015

How many children is too many?

It was only about 3 weeks after Noah was born that I started to have a very strange feeling.

There I was sitting on the sofa with a 3 week old baby in my arms, but somehow I still felt broody?! 

Maybe it's because when you have your second child, a lot of people ask the question "Will that be the last baby for you?" - I found myself hearing that question a lot and it definitely had me wondering about it,

As Noah grew out of his first size baby clothes, and I started to pack them away I couldn't help but feel desperately sad - when I'd done all of this with my first sons clothes I had a strong feeling that I'd be getting them back out again for a sibling at some point and so the sadness wasn't the same, but putting them away this time felt different - there was a question mark over whether we'd see them again. Whether I'd ever handle such tiny little baby clothes again.

I suppose the sadness itself was the greatest indicator that I wasn't done having children yet - that we wouldn't be stopping at 2.

Of course little did I know that we'd be going into the third pregnancy so quickly after that, and that a mere 3 weeks later I'd be falling pregnant again accidentally! 

Because of the shock of that pregnancy, Jon & I discussed the fact that this 3rd baby would be the last - I was so worried about going through a difficult hyperemesis pregnancy again with such a young baby to look after and I told anyone who would listen that Jon would definitely be getting "the snip" after this one was born and it would be the third and final baby for us!

But actually, this pregnancy has surprised me in more ways than one - I haven't suffered with hyperemesis as I did on the two previous, infact apart from tiredness I`ve felt overall really well - and maybe its that or maybe its just the memory of how I felt after Noah's birth, but it has me worried - WILL this be the final baby for us? Am I really ready to be so final about that yet?

I always imagined myself having four children. But with starting quite late and not having my first baby until 30, I thought I hadn't given myself enough time to have 4.

Our plan had been to have our third baby in about 3 years time, meaning there wouldn't really be time to squeeze in a fourth - but now that this baby has come along so much sooner than expected, we would actually be back on track to have a fourth baby in a few years time if we wanted to.

But the more I've thought about this, the more worried I've felt and the more negativity I've seemed to notice around larger families.

When I was still reeling with the shock of the 3rd pregnancy, I did a lot of internet searching for stories of mothers in similar situations to me with third babies very close to their second - I found an American blog which helped me to feel a lot more at ease about the whole thing as she discussed her experience of life with 3 children under 3 years old - but the comments shocked me.

So many people seemed to have something to say about the fact that she wanted a fourth child - so many people stating that the strain large families put on the earth is selfish, that parents who have more than 2 or 3 children can't fully commit themselves to focusing on each individual child.

I found this pretty shocking as within my own family there are many sets of 4 and 5 children family units, infact my own family unit of just 2 children is the only one - every one else has at least 3 or 4.

Is it really such a bad thing to have or want more than 3 children? Is it really anybody elses concern if that's the case?

I know that other people's opinions shouldn't concern me, but I've always been the kind of person who is very influenced by what others think.

I've already faced negativity from some very unexpected sources with this pregnancy - when I was admitted to hospital with complications at the very beginning and explaining the situation to the nurses and doctors there, I was met with some very cold and cruel responses...from a nurses "Do you not have a TV at home?!" to a Dr's "You had a baby 3 months ago and you're pregnant again?! Good one!"...I was pretty appalled at their lack of professionalism or even just lack of basic manners.

Is this something I could expect hear more of if we went to have a fourth child? Were those commenters right...would it be selfish of us to want more? Would it be unfair on our existing children?

I can't help but think that a family with more members is all the more full of love and activity, more children of course equal more work but also more joy surely?

I suppose we'll wait and see how life with 3 treats us before we make any final decisions, but as with every aspect of life as a parent - wouldn't it be so much nicer if people kept their opinions to themselves.

If you have a bigger family, did you face any negativity along the way? What are your thoughts on how many children people choose to have? As always, I'd love to hear from you!

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  1. I know that exact feeling you described at the beginning. Parker was only a few weeks old and I started thinking I wasn't done. We always got told now we've got one of each our family is complete, but I'm not sure yet haha. As for a large family, I'm one of 7. I loved it growing up and despite the negativity, I'm sure my mum would have had more if she could xxx

  2. Hayley I think it's disgusting that anyone should pass comment! This is your life and your family and your decision and you have to do what is right for you, be that 3, 4 or more children. You love your children dearly, anyone can see that, so ignore those who are negative and do what's right for you xx

  3. Some people can be so rude. I knew after my 2nd it wouldnt be my last and i told people that. We just struggled to find the 'right' time so there is a 5 year age gap! Ive always wanted 4, and i want the next close to my youngest so they have the same relationship as my elder 2 but the timing is just not right and we cant afford it right now. I know im not staying at 3 forever though so might well have another when i hit 40 lol!

  4. I'm an only child and literally have no family left apart from my hubby and Son. Joey is 16 months old and I really want him to have a sibling, I don't think I could see myself having 3 or more children but I think having a large family is a great thing and something I wish I had as a child. I always think to what would happen to Joey if I wasn't here and I wouldn't want him to be on his own. Growing up I was always jealous of friends who had 3 or 4 siblings. Nobody can tell you how to live your life and I hate it when you hear when doctors/nurses are criticising you, they should be offering advice.

  5. Personally I think it is entirely up to everyone how many children you want and how many you can handle. I am done at two and wouldn't be able to handle any more than that. I'm lucky to have a boy and a girl.

  6. I have 4 children, and carried a 5th which was a surrogate pregnancy, and didn't come across negativity as such...the worst it got was "wow! You've got your hands full" but do you know what? I couldn't care less what people have to pregnancy, my family, my kids..pic you don't like it then tough titties! The TV comment is the worst though, I just smile and nod and stick my middle finger up (in my head that is ;-)). My 3rd and 4th are 15 months apart btw and I like that now, they are super close.

  7. I have three close together and have been lucky not to have any negative comments. I see the pros and cons of both ways but when I see the wonderful gifts I have given mine, brothers and best friends I know that hiven my time again I wouldn't change a thing. I would still love a 4th in a few years time although I can't see it actually happening

  8. This post has really resonated with me as there's 19 months between my two and I had a huge amount of criticism about having them so close together but as soon as my first was born, I was still feeling broody and ready for another. I would love at least another 1 (2!) but whether that happens or not remains to be soon. Its your children, your life and only you know what is right for all of you. People say about it being hard with young children/close in age but you just get on with it and manage. Congrats on #3! xx

  9. I had that exact same feeling of not being 'done' when I had Sophia, I knew I wanted another baby soon and sure enough I fell pregnant when she was a few months old. I have three children and now my youngest is one I have started to think I would love another in the future as I always wanted 4 children. We shall see if we have any more in the future or not xx

  10. I think it's up to each individual on how many children they want. Ive been asked loads since having Blake when I am going to have another. Personally for me I am thinking of just having Blake but I don't know what the future holds but if I do have more children I would stop at 2 but that's what I want . if u want 4 then I don't see a problem with that and why should others after all its not there business or effects them

  11. my first 3 children are close together
    first - second 10 months
    second - third 17 months
    all 3 where in nappies, it was hard but we got though it. they are now 19, 21 and 22 years old.
    in my 2nd marriage there is a bigger gap, they are aged 9, 4 and 1 years.
    the common thing to get mentioned when I tell people of the ages of my older children is, oh you then got a tv!!
    ignore any negative comments. it will be hard to start with, but it will ease when they get older. wait until the teenager stages and hormones flying, at times it will sound like WW3 in your household :)


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