September 02, 2010

Five is Enough

I have known for a while that I was finished having kids at number 5.  Many factors have contributed to this. But the overall biggest reason is that it just felt like we were finished.  Like our family was complete.  Finally right!?  Well for most of the world it would seem like the right thing to say.  However, I came from a combined Mormon family of 13 and so 5 would seem like a half hearted effort to bring spirit children to this earth.  I have a brother with 8 children and a sister with 7.  So, you know, 5 is merely a starter family to them.

I began on the LDS fast-birthing-track. I was planning to have my kids every two years.  However I lost one between the first two and so my plans were already off that track to begin with.  Then somewhere along the line I realized that spacing them apart can work out just fine.  Not to mention keep you out of the looney bin.  It all works out how it's supposed to I think.  You pray, you think about what you can do and what you can't, and then you move forward with faith.  Funnily enough I knew that Little Girl was supposed to come just a few hours after Big Girl joined us.  I mentioned out loud that this girl was going to need a sister.  And then I couldn't believe that actually came out of my mouth.  Especially so soon after giving birth.  But I just knew.

Today I had a conversation with my father that is one I have had with him before.  I mentioned how I am finished having children in some way, and then he reminded me of how he and my mother continued having kids later in life.  My mother was 45 when she had my last sister.  It's as if he expects me to follow in the same path.  I remind him that my hat is off to her for the sacrifice, but that I am not likely to do the same.  He pokes more fun of me saying if my love my kids so much then why don't I want to have more?  It's a stupid argument really.  I mean I love pudding but if I had a bathtub of pudding would I want more?  Maybe pudding wasn't the right thing to compare child rearing to, but my point is that I want to be able to savor my pudding and not have so much of it that I can't afford to send my pudding to college or attend all of it's chocolate vs vanilla soccer games, and jello-brand violin recitals, etc.  My parents were great but the techniques of parenting they used were necessary but not always ideal.  In fact I boldly reminded my father of the fact that my poor mother didn't live to the ripe old age she had planned on, and perhaps she should have considered that when having kids in her 40s.  Brash of me no?


So even though I will get all up in your face if you give me your opinions about keeping down the population, I don't like being pressured to have more either.  I once had a person give me a pamphlet while I was on pregnancy #2.  Yes, it was in California, and yes, I threw it in the trash.  I will tell that person my opinions on the importance of family and how too many of us selfishly put off having kids only to end up later in life wishing we hadn't done so.  How our best resource is our human resource, and as long as I am capable of taking good care of my kids they have no right to judge.  But I would advise against passing judgment in the other direction as well.  Five is enough for us.  And for most people I would guess.

10 comments:

Laurel C. said...

Oh, I need to make a blog post of my own on this topic. It's a touchy subject with me, too. I only have 2 children, and most people assume it's because I'm selfish and want to stay in a sedan and out of a mini-van. But that's only how it appears on the outside. The truth is that we would have loved more but are unable. Third child infertility is common, but no one seems to know about it. Some people have made some horribly intolerant comments to me about only having 2 kids. I wish I could wear a t-shirt that explained things, or at least said, "LOOK, buster! It's none of your business!"

I know, get your own blog post, Laurel. Sorry for the long comment. Clearly, I have a lot to say about this.

Good for you for standing your ground with your dad. And I love the pudding analogy!

Kelly said...

Laurel
I always think it's best to just stay out of peoples bedrooms whenever possible. Having children is such a personal choice and not always a choice that is up to us.

Thanks for your lengthy comment! I hope my post didn't offend...

Eileen said...

I think five sounds like a good number for us too!

Laurel C. said...

Oh no! Not offended at all. I was happy to see someone else talking about the topic.

Carrie Stuart said...

You are SO right-on with this post! We are "comfortably challenged" with four. I've had to get a little testy with people on both sides of the coin. I remember one time a friend saying that she wished she could have more, but her body couldn't physically handle it. That mentally she could have more, but not physically. I replied, "I know what you mean...physically I could have ten more, but mentally...I'm headed to the loony bin if I have even one more." She looked at me like I had said the unspeakable. I was being facetious, but I hope she got the point. Truth is, NONE of us have to justify anything...it doesn't matter whether we can or can't do it physically, mentally, financially or otherwise. It's none of anyone else's business, and we are best to stay out of it. I love children and feel blessed to have every one of mine...and I don't have to defend my decision to have more than my quota...or my decision not to have a dozen, even if my extended family is disappointed in that decision. ;^)

noyb said...

its an odd form of prejudice in the church-if you dont have a huge family, somehow you arent contributing to zion or something. as someone with zero kids(even while married for over 10 years)i felt that judgment. it sucks. it is a different time now and everyone has the right to make their own decisions and i think its insulting if someone thinks that just because you chose differently than the norm(in mormonville, that is)that somehow you didnt consult(pray)properly with Heavenly Father.

Chaka said...

I've got nine kids, so I am kind of sensitive to this subject. I have heard all the comments and jokes about big families. At my wife's high school reunion they awarded us a box of condoms. I thought that was classy. I hate being judged by the over population crowd, but it goes both ways.

I know many people who are judemental and say insensitive things to people with small families since they assume they don't want to crimp their lifestyle. I have friends who have been trying for years to have kids but can't and they tell me horrible things people say about them.

Having kids is a very personal thing and anyone who judges someone else one way or the other is out of line.

literaqueen said...

Last week in our combined Relief Society/Priesthood lesson, an LDS social worker gave the lesson. She said, "Having children is a matter between a couple and the Lord. Period." She then talked about how hurtful people can be when they make assumptions about the number of children a couple has (or doesn't have). I LOVE that someone finally came right out and said it. And I love that you wrote this post!

Teachinfourth said...

I have 28 of them this year...

Ruth Ann said...

A friend of mine ended up in a hospital for depression - one of the factors was "the pressure to have more children" in the mormon community. She had just had her fourth. I had 5, and our other friend had 6. She was SO glad to hear us say that we'd felt the pressure too and the decision was between her and the Lord. (We didn't even put 'husband' in the equation.) She had postpartum depression and eventually started a group for PPD that really helped women. And she had one more child later on.