How Many Children Do You Hope to Have?

Alex and I have been talking recently, and we would like to have…

…two children still, most likely. Now and again I’ll wonder if we should have a third (it was actually my birthday wish!), but our boys are such a lovely little handful, we think we’ll probably stop now. And, when I think about our family, it feels like everyone is here. It feels like our family was meant to be this way. I don’t feel like we’re waiting for anyone else, if that makes sense.

Interestingly enough, according to the U.S. Census and Gallup polls, the average American married couple wants 2.5 children but has 1.86 children.

How many kids do you hope to have, if all goes according to plan? Has the number changed as you’ve gotten older? Have you been surprised about how things have turned out? I’m curious to hear…

P.S. On having a boy. And would you ever decide to NOT have kids?

(Photo by Stefano Azario for Vogue)

  1. RG says...

    Also Go Mom Brain! I’m now going to go tell my husband the same story five times in a row, just because I CAN.

    I love your blog!!

  2. Took us forever to decide on a third. Went for it and ended up preggers with spontaneous triplets. Went from 2 to 5! Life is always full of surprises…not what we planned but we are having fun with our five daughters.

  3. I’m an only child, and when I was young I didn’t always like being the only, so I thought I wanted four kids. Now, at 26, I want zero. I like other people’s kids, but I have no desire for kids of my own. My husband and I talked about it before we got married and he said he wanted to be my husband more than he wanted to be a father. My mother in law is convinced I will change my mind and tells her friends I’m too young to want kids when they ask. I’m sure it’s not impossible for me to change my mind, but as of now, no thanks, I’ll be an aunt. :)

  4. I’m currently single and have no children. I sometimes think I would want 1-2 kids but sometimes I think I never want to have any. I guess some of it depends on my future spouse.

  5. My husband and I have one 6-year-old daughter and our little family is the perfect size. Everything is easier with one and she gets my full attention. Honestly, everything is also less expensive with one! We don’t know how people can afford all of their children! It is very important to my husband and me to be able to provide our daughter with the financial security that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to with more children. We started a 529 college savings account immediately after birth and we’re on track to save enough to pay for her entire college experience (tuition, room & board, books, etc.). College is frighteningly expensive and I can’t imagine allowing my daughter to start off her life in deep debt like so many young people today.

  6. I had always thought that my having children was a given. Being the youngest of three, I truly have only the best memories of my childhood. The only thing greater than being told I could return to 1977 and be a kid again was the hope that I could watch another experience life with the love and wonder that I felt. My parents were the best, and even now as they are in their seventies, love one another more every day.. I waited for the same kind of love, and finally found it at forty. Unfortunately, after several years of trying we were told it couldn’t happen. Had we maybe been a bit younger, we might have embarked on the journey to adoption, but to be honest, after all of the emotional toll infertility took we decided to nurture the most important relationship……ours. I say all of that to say this, without sadness or regret: whatever beauty and love we are able to grasp in this life is incredible. None of it is easy going, and that’s assuredly why we value our loved ones so much. I read this blog frequently and enjoy the opportunity to read not only your thoughts, but the thoughts of all your readers. There are so many lucky children to have parents like yourselves. Even if I haven’t experienced it all firsthand, I still feel happiness seeing that love through all of your eyes.

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  8. We would like to have 5-6 but right now we are just hoping to get as many as we can before I run out of time (biological clock ticking loudly!) so it likely will be just four. :-(

  9. Dear Joanna,

    Please ignore the unknown “angry reader”. Who cares if you posted about it a year ago!? It’s still just as pertinent now as it was then. Maybe it’s just something on your mind. In my opinion, if someone doesn’t like what there’re reading, they can just stop. No need to complain about it.


    PS: I like the idea of more than 2, but I truthfully don’t think I could manage it practicality-wise! 2 will be good for us (after we’re married next summer :)

  10. I always hoped to have four children, but now that we are doing infertility treatment, I feel like I’ll want to tap out if we are lucky enough to have two!

  11. I think about this question. All. The. Time. We have two boys, one about to turn 4 in August and one 15 months. They both have strong personalities, and we certainly have our hands full. As scared as I am to consider having a third, I think I want one more. And I think I can convince my husband. :) Unlike you and some of your commenters, I don’t have super firm feelings either way. It’s a strange feeling, like we’re in limbo…

  12. I have 4 kids and would like one or two more. My kids are twins who just turned four, a 2.5 year old, and an 11 month old. My family just doesn’t feel complete yet.

  13. As grateful as I am for my 2 beauties, I do sometimes feel as though I’m waiting for the third. I’m one of 3 kids, as is my husband. Three feels natural, even though I know for sure it will be a great challenge in more ways than one!

  14. Lots! :)

    I think it is so interesting to see how many people say 1 or 2. I grew up with 5 younger siblings and loved it. We’d like at least 4 but honestly, that doesn’t even seem like a lot to me.

    And I have very strong opinions on the “overpopulation” argument– in short, I think it’s anti-human baloney that will go the way of every other failed doomsday prophecy– but I won’t clutter up the thread with them.

  15. I just got married in January and we are expecting in December! We feel so blessed to have gotten pregnant so quickly, and we’re hoping it’s the start of a houseful of kids! We’re Catholic, so a “houseful” will be as many as we’re given.

  16. Sometimes it’s nice to have the same conversation again.. especially if it’s about babies :) and even more especially if it’s been two years since the last mention of it! new people have joined the conversation and others have left in two years… for the people who’ve been here the whole time, what fun to see how your answers have changed or stayed the same!

    the hubs and I are two years into marriage with no definite timeline of when we’ll start having babies, but I think I’m ready as soon as he is :) he wants 1-2 and I want 3-4, but I’m okay with 2. I want, at the very least 2 and then decide from there.. I’ve always imagined I’d know for sure whether to have a third or not because we’d either feel complete or like someone was missing :) So glad to see others that think of it in the same terms.

  17. Picking the number you want doesn’t always go as planned. I was the first born and my parents only wanted one more. But of course, you know by now, that didn’t happen. My sister and brother showed up together and we were officially a family of 5, despite what my parents had intended.

  18. I am pregnant with my first, and my husband and I would definitely like to have a second in a few years. A third seems overwhelming, practically and logistically. Like, we’d have to get a larger car…ha!

  19. I knew I wanted 3, and we had 3 lovely boys with no problems. In my loveydovey babymoon phase I thought about one more…but my husband scheduled himself a vasectomy. My ovaries stopped twanging after a while and I am very happy with my crew.
    They have classmates at school whose parents had 3 boys and decided to have one more…and had triplets. 6 boys between the ages of 8 and 12. Wow.

  20. My husband and I have been married a year and a half and are expecting our first in December! We’ve both always wanted to have a house full of family…the craziness and all (very Family Stone-esque :).

    As of now, we have sort of settled at 3…and a big reason is because we are a bi-continental family (he’s Korean, I’m American)…and we also love traveling. The expense alone of plane tickets between Korea/USA is already crazy…and visiting family (both of ours, wherever we are in the world) will always be important.

    But then, part of me feels that somehow, if it’s meant to be, things would work themselves out. Perhaps our minds will change after we have a baby or two running around ;)

    Happy Monday, Joanna! :)

  21. My husband and I call our sweet little 9-month old a “gateway baby” because he makes us want to have tons more kids! When we got married, I thought 2 kids was a good number, but now I definitely want 3. Babies are so strangely addictive! Plus, my husband and I both come from families of 5 and it’s such a good dynamic.

  22. We have 2, a step son (from his previous relationship) and then our son. Since I only gave birth to 1 of them, and am not too close to my step son, i long for another child. It’s been 2 years since our son was born and I’ve been wanting another since. I’m pretty sure i’d go crazy since our son already has me at my wits ends, but you’re right- there’s something missing. My husband is content with just having the 2 boys tho, so we’re stuck in the middle

  23. I dont have a definite number, but I think I want 5, maybe even 6. I have 3 girls. Contrary to what many people believe, I don’t want more just so I can have a boy! I’ve always wanted a house full of children and chaos :)

  24. And I live in a third floor walk up in Brooklyn. Thinking it’s going to get much easier when we book it to the burbs this summer.

  25. I have three boys. Thinking 5 or six would be nice. Am I the only one who finds it keeps getting easier?

  26. I totally understand when you say it feels like everyone is ‘here’. We had twin boys and that kept me so busy but always felt we were missing a child. Two years ago we were blessed with a baby girl and now our family feels very complete!

  27. 2.5 children?! I get it, but that’s so funny to think about. I’d like to have two children, God willing. I feel it would be a nice balance, plus I’d hope that my husband and I could love and parent each of our children “equally,” ideally they’d get to play together!

  28. i’ve thought for quite some time, joanna, that you’ll have one more. and maybe leave the city? :) we would like three although we’re just beginning with our first in july. xox

  29. Just posted and then quietly read through all the responses…man, doesn’t this make people angry! Just goes to prove that having kids isn’t logical, reasonable or something you can plan. Give over, grumpy sorts. Or don’t bother to click on comment. Life is short. Off to bed now…

  30. Eliza D. –

    You have a valid point about overpopulation. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I read that the number of births in the US are currently below the replacement rate. If it were to fall to far below the replacement rate we may have too many old people with not enough young people to care for them like – something that is threatening the stability of several countries. Overpopulation is a really big problem worldwide. I think that if we are able to increase access to basic needs, birth control and education in areas that are overpopulated it would help greatly.

  31. When I was younger, I never thought much about it. Then I met my husband, who wanted lots of kids. I thought he was a little crazy ;) Once we got married, I could see 2-3 kids…and when I found out I was pregnant with #4…I didn’t know how I would do it. Now that the kids are growing and #5 is coming, I know I can do it and I know it will be challenging, but I also know how lucky this baby is to have all those awesome older brothers and sisters.

  32. the moment my first was delivered, despite the difficulty and the discomfort, I could not wait to have the next. Literally said it as he was delivered. As my second arrived, I exclaimed: That’s it! I knew immediately. A few years later we thought vaguely about a third but maybe as an adoption. But only vaguely and only because we knew we were up to it. Never regretted only two.

  33. the moment my first was delivered, despite the difficulty and the discomfort, I could not wait to have the next. Literally said it as he was delivered. As my second arrived, I exclaimed: That’s it! I knew immediately. A few years later we thought vaguely about a third but maybe as an adoption. But only vaguely and only because we knew we were up to it. Never regretted only two.

  34. I totally think you’ll have another! You just need a bit of breathing space x

  35. I think we’ve talked about this before…and I felt like “someone is missing!” After having the 3 boys in under 4 years, I am definitely strapped for energy, time, and patience. But, I still go back and forth every month as to whether I should bring my fourth baby into this world. I’ll be 41 soon, and don’t feel like I have a ton of time to make my decision; if I was a few years younger I would wait a couple more years and go for it!

  36. My husband and I both agreed on three but if money were no object I think I would like more. We are both from a family of four kids and it was a fun way to grow up.We praying for number 2 now :)

  37. I think its OK to re-post the same / similar post again. You have so many new readers year after year and its impossible for them to go back and read old posts. I would have never seen this post had you not posted it today. Thank you! I love your blog.

  38. Well, most of us do not suffer from a great memory, so needless to say, whether you’ve posed the question before or not, I very much enjoyed today’s post, and the picture of your sweet boys holding hands! Parenthood is certainly a personal choice, but I’m always happy when individuals choose it, because you cannot convey the love you experience as a parent. You just have to experience it yourself.

  39. I have a son and daughter and knew 2 was it regardless of their gender. I come from a big family (8 total kids) and he (6) and we knew 2 was it for us.

  40. Zero

  41. My husband and I hope to have two biologically and adopt two. Would love to hear adoption stories on the blog :) We will likely try within the next year to get pregnant and will be eligible to begin the process to adopt from China when I turn 30 (in three years–both parents have to be 30). I was raised as an only child-my brother is much older than me-and would love to give our children the opposite of my upbringing experience!

  42. I have known I want to be a mother since I was practically a kid myself. I have always adored children and would love 2 of my own- especially one of each sex (though of course healthy babies are what matters most).

    I grew up an only child and always wondered what it would be like to have siblings. I know that initially my parents wanted more, but it took them 6 whole years to just have me, and then I’m not sure they kept trying. I enjoyed being an only child all the same, but now that my own parents are getting older, even though they aren’t seniors yet I find myself wishing I had a sibling to help take care of them in the future. If money wasn’t an option I’d want to have 3 kids! It’s too bad college costs are rising so exponentially- that is such a huge consideration. I shudder at the thought of how much it will cost when my own kids, should I be blessed enough to have some, are that age in 25 years or so.

  43. We are still quite young in our eyes, just 27, but we are thinking about having our first soon. I think we will probably have 2 or 3, but I think we will just have to see what happens!

    Two Hearts One Roof

  44. We always said we’d have four of our own and then foster with possible adoption later on. We currently have three under six and while my pregnancy and births were easy I suffered from post partum depression which then later triggered pmdd after my 3rd. As of right now, I think I’m done with childbirth. As soon as our oldest is seven though, we’d like to start our fostercare training.

  45. Planned to have a few. Had one but then we haven’t been able to have any sense. Funny what life throws at you. Life is beautiful either way. Hopefully another one will come our way. Not quite feeling like we are all there yet. :)

  46. I’m 21 and single, but when I was young I wanted several kids….. Now I think that when I do get married I want one, and at least a few years after getting married. I’d like to have some married couple adventures first, and ideally I’d love to live in an urban area, so one makes sense.

  47. We always say we want as many kids as we can afford….which probably won’t be more than two at most. Although I’d love to have three. I’m an only child, and so I know what it’s like not to have siblings and to spend your whole life feeling like you’re missing out on that. I therefore think it’s selfish to have just one child, and refuse to do that to my kids.

  48. My husband and I were never too sure about being parents… We really loved our life style and we were happy on being just the two of us. It felt very special…

    After 7 years of marriage, we finally decided to have a baby. I’m 38 and expecting the first one now!
    We are extremely happy that our little, loving family will grow but now I see us with one kid only. Again, it feels special, three of us…

    It sounds selfish or anti social, but for us it’s like the link is complete… One was already a huge step for us! :-)

  49. My dad comes from a family of 9 & my mother comes from 10. We started later in life and have 2 boys. Although I would have loved a girl to dress up & sew frilly clothes for, I always knew I’d be a mom to two boys. I love having boys & can’t imagine being a mother to a girl now. I suppose it’s meant to be!

  50. So you wouldn’t try for a third to see if you get a girl? I know you love your boys, but often people will say they want one of each. How do you feel about not having a girl?

  51. Jo, I usually love your features and your ability to bring beauty to the everyday slog. But this conversation is the opposite – you are trolling only for the “beauty” and therefore undermining the kinds of real political and environmental questions that we can’t ignore anymore in conversations around family planning and family size. I acknowledge those questions are distasteful. And that they don’t support the kind of magical parenting approaches that are discussed here (“when I was a little girl…” etc).

    It may be tedious to hear, but it’s not fear-mongering to note that global population is expected to hit eight billion around 2025. This kind of conversation, without any discussion of the environmental, political or moral realities of overpopulation, pretend that there are no consequences, no larger picture. “How tired” you might be with your current family size is not the only issue that deserves thoughtful consideration. This starry-eyed approach to family planning is irresponsible. I would love to see your site as adding depth to these questions, no removing it.

  52. I am pregnant now with our first and I turn 33 next weekend. Sooo, we would love to have one more and then be done. I always thought I’d like to have three, but I will feel happy and blessed if we can have two.

  53. I always wanted three when I thought about having kids. And we had two. And then we realized we wouldn’t be having anymore for various reasons, including the fact that our youngest was turning 6 and we didn’t want such a big gap. And then I got pregnant. So we ended up with our three!

  54. We have our third on the way this fall. Our first was a tough baby so we waited three years to have the second. I knew within days of the second’s arrival that I wanted another. There will be 22 months between 2 and 3.
    We are a rarity. Most of our friends are two or one child families. But I have five siblings so this seems small. And we’re lucky that we haven’t had to make sacrifices – besides sleep of course – to add to our family.
    Really hoping #3 makes me feel done.

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  56. My husband and I have this discussion every now and then. We also have 2 boys, 4.5 and 2, and feel that we’re done having kids. We both work full-time and so the amount of time that we can devote to them is already pretty limited, then you add in their sports, school events, etc. that will only become more demanding as they enter regular school, that we feel if we were to have one more, that we’d almost be stretched too much and would be actually doing more harm to them than good. We feel like we’re just “right” as we have it right now; that we can manage everything and even though at times it seems chaotic, we can manage it and everyone seems well-adjusted and aren’t missing anything. But every now and then (usually during my time of the month. I know, TMI, but it’s true), I get that certain “twinge” inside me and the thoughts of having one more creep up. And I tell him, “I just don’t want to wake up one day in 10 years and say, ‘we should’ve had one more – why didn’t we just suck it up back then and have one more?'” I don’t want to live with any regret.
    But then, we talk it out, weigh the pros and cons and seem to just be coming back to the same scenario we’re currently in – only 2 kids.
    Who knows, though. Maybe in a couple years, we’ll decide to have another one. And I think that would be just fine, actually. :)

  57. My mom said she was done after baby #4, but then my parents started to feel that someone was missing. A few years later, they had baby #5. Still, they felt someone missing. This happened several more times until baby #7 was born and they finally felt complete. Now its a family joke to bring up, “Who’s missing?” It always gets my mom all fired up! lol. I’ve got one so far and I can’t imagine having 7! How did she even find a minute to pee?!

  58. I missed it the first time, so thanks for running it again. it’s an interesting question and bears more than one discussion. See Angry Reader it’s all in the perception

  59. We have two girls, the youngest being 17 months. I orginally thought we would have 3 kids before we had any. Then our two seemed like “lovely little handful” as well. But there are moments I feel like we are suppose to have another little person in our lives. I’m 35, we live in LA (expensive!) and I wonder for the betterment of all of us already here if we should stop with the two healthy beautiful girls that we have?

  60. I totally relate to that feeling of feeling like “everyone is here” and we are complete. I have two girls and before having any children always thought I wanted a boy. But, now I just feel like this is my family. This is who was meant to be in my life and they complete me!

  61. I always wanted two kids, my husband had enough with our first son but we have two now, our little girl is 6 months!
    “Family completed”

  62. As an older mom (47) with two sons, I feel the question has changed over time. When first pregnant, I wanted one, and then of course, child number two. After the second, I loved it so much, that I wanted a third and struggled for years with the emotional dilemma of whether or not to go forward and have a third. I think I really wanted a girl, and that was what was moving me forward. However, i looked at my second son and his nature, and I realized that if he had a different personality, I would have had a third, making him the middle child. However, I know my children, and my second was a deeply reflective, quiet child and I just couldn’t risk having him in the middle with an already strong minded older brother. Plus, their relationship is so special – they love each other so much and are so close. I just wanted to keep fostering the relationship they have.

    Finally, we decided to keep our small family to four, and be happy with our two beautiful sons! In my fantasy world, if I didn’t have to work, and had all the money in the world, and I had started having kids at 29, I would have had four! However, having two has allowed us to travel more easily with them, put them in great schools, and be able to ski with them every weekend. Most importantly, I have been able to really listen to my youngest son, and be the parent that he needs me to be.

  63. We had three. Both my husband and I were middle children so we figured we would mess up another generation! When I was pregnant with my 3rd people would ask me if I had two boys or two girls already. When I mentioned I had one of each, the looks got really “what were you thinking”!!

  64. My husband and I always said 4. I’m pregnant with our second now and know I want to do it at least one more time! But 3 is sounding good to me. The thought of still being in the pregnant/nursing 4(ish) from now (to have a fourth) is a little daunting! We’ll see how I feel after 3, if we’re so lucky to have a third!

  65. We have one 8-month old boy right now and are trying for number two! If number two is a girl, we might stop there. If not, we will go for three. Maybe. :)

  66. We have two. I’m done (completely, utterly) but my husband wants another. Our current dilemma is how to work through this when we both have such strong, differing feelings on the topic. In theory, I’d love another…but there are so many other things I’m interested in and I don’t feel the energy for another newborn.

  67. I thought I just wanted one, I swore we’d never have two. Then one day I woke up and HAD to have another, it was all I could think about. Now, we have two girls, four and five months. It’s been such a wonderful experience, I could see having three. My husband really doesn’t want a third though, and since I’m not passionate about a third I’d like to respect what he is passionate about: just having two. I just hope someday we don’t look back and wish we would have just gone for it.

  68. Pregnancy brain had me retype this 3 times before I finally got my point across. lol! I’m due in a week with our first and we’d like to start trying again in about another year or so. I love the idea of having kids grow up together. We’re both fairly young so I know that based on genes there’s potentially 20 more years of fertility left! I know plans can change with circumstances, so I feel at peace with being flexible with life and it’s seasons. We both are hoping for about 5 or so. My husband comes from a family of 4 children and he can’t really imagine less than that.

  69. I am very far from marriage, let alone parenthood, but I think I’d like to have 3. I am one of three, and I have dozens of cousins who all are in sets of 3, so it feels right. Incidentally, my Dad and I were having a heart to heart recently, and I asked him if he has any regrets in his life. He said the only regret is that he wishes they had had MORE kids, knowing what joy my brother and sister and I have brought to them. While I can’t imagine not being the youngest child :) , I thought that was so sweet!

  70. I’m currently two weeks away from having my 2nd child, a boy, and I have a girl who’s almost 4. I thought I’d always want a lot of kids growing up in a family of 6 with 4 kids (my husband grew up the same), but we’re realizing life is just more comfortable as a family of 4 especially because we like to travel. Also, we love the idea of being empty nesters at 52. My parents were empty nesters as well in their early/mid 50s and it’s been so awesome watching them enjoy it. Looking forward to doing the same!

  71. We are only just married, but we want at least 6! I grew up with five other siblings and they are my best friends. :)

  72. Getting married next year and have no clue. Is there something wrong with us in that we’re still not sure what we want (i.e. range of 0-2)? We’re in our late 20s…when do people figure this stuff out? Are those motherly instincts missing? I’m jealous you’re all planned out and sure.

  73. I always wanted four but now that I am in my mid 30s and still at zero, I would be thrilled with having one.

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  75. When we got married, we thought 4. We had one baby boy & thought, hmmm…maybe just 3! We had baby girl 17 months later & are pretty sure we’re stopping here. The funny thing is that these feelings can change over time. Once our 10 month old is a bit older, I’m sure we’ll slowly forget the really tough times & go for a third! I love that you posted about this topic once again. Does Angry reader know that she doesn’t have to read this blog? Whoa.

  76. My son turns 1 on Sunday. I go back and forth. But deep down, I know I want 2. Like you said, I feel like I’m waiting for someone.. but my issue is, he’s still so little. And it was a hard year! But I’m 37.. and I know I don’t have all this time. Haha, just thinking about all this gives me anxiety!

  77. My husband and I are undergoing fertility treatments, so for the longest time I’ve just hoped for ONE! But, now that we have upped our risk for having twins I wondered if we had two of the same sex, would I want to try for another? Maybe. My husband, though, is sure he doesn’t want to be out-numbered. :)

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  80. hello,

    i really think that the decisions made on having more kids are based on money, finance. We have one boy and he is 3 year old. But i would love to have another one but we talk a lot about how we would handle it finacially. I mean, if I want to take care of him as I did for the 1st one, I won’t bhe able to work for at least a year, so it can be a struggle for us.
    Aaaahh, money…

  81. My instinct has always told me I want a big family (4 children?) but I can also see myself with one or two, especially since I live in NYC. I love the idea of a houseful, but I also have several friends who are only children and the relationships they have with their parents/the traveling their families have done together is appealing, as well. We’ll see! I am 26 and single, so there are a lot of factors still to come.

    Also, I remember your original post on this topic and I am more than happy to revisit it! :)

  82. I really want at least two children, because I was an only child and it was sort of a bummer. Two is my general answer, but I really feel like 3 is my number. Luckily, my sweetheart agrees. I guess we’ll have a better idea after we someday have our first! :)

  83. We hope to have two… we have one 10 month old boy now and sometimes we say if we have another boy we might eventually consider having a third to try for a girl. We’re actually expecting our second at the end of January… I know just what you mean about your family being all there, that is one of the reasons I wanted to have my babies so close together, I just had the feeling that I wanted us all to be “here” now!

  84. As a child I always thought I’d have two kids (a boy and a girl of course). Then in high school and college I decided motherhood wasn’t for me. My own relationship with my mother was stressful and I couldn’t imagine being someone’s mother. After 10 years of marriage my husband finally talked me into trying for children. It took over a year for us to get pregnant which I think was about my own body coming to terms with the decision. We adore our daughter to pieces and I couldn’t imagine our family without her now. Although every once and awhile I think hmmm maybe another. We are most definitely one and done.

  85. I have three kids, two boys of 12 and 7 and a girl
    of 10 .
    Three is my perfect number for what I can handle !!!
    I feel lucky of having both girl and boys in my
    house !

  86. I love this question, it’s such an important one. For us, after having one, we knew we wanted 3. My husband comes from a family with 3 kids and I think they have such a nice balance and great relationships. They can all count on each other. I just had my third 2 months ago and it just feels right. We knew this is what would work for us. So far, having 3 kids has been fine. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. It just takes a different way of thinking and my tolerances in terms of behavior from my boys and a messy house, have changed, but it’s working. Everything feels right now.

  87. I don’t think we’ll have any children. It is mostly because I’ve never really felt the “need” to have them, but it’s also a health and financial decision for my husband and I. By the time we’re in a place financially to have children I’ll be nearly 40 and the health risks out way the outcome for us. Our lives and careers were irrevocably hindered by the financial crisis in 2008 and so the dollars just don’t add up. We both grew up in homes were making ends meet affected the success of the children and we’d never want to place that burden on our hypothetical kids.

  88. My standard answer is between 3 and 5 but I don’t have any yet so we’ll have to see how my opinion changes with time. I had a discussion with my sister recently about the financial aspect of raising children and we have a fundamental disagreement about how much money you “need” to raise a child. She argues that you should only have as many children as you can afford to give a comfortable life and every advantage. I feel that, while my brood may not be able to go to private school or take private lessons, growing up with a bunch of siblings in a loving home can offer an extremely enriching life… It’s funny that while my sister and I both come from 3, she sees 3 as too many and I see it as just right or too few! It fascinates me that two women raised in the same home by the same parents can see things so differently!

  89. if funds could allow, i’d like to have 3-4. my fiancé and i would like to have 2 children of our own, and adopt another 1 or 2. knowing that we both want to adopt regardless of fertility gives me a little less anxiety about testing my “clock” and trying for kiddos of our own… we will have children regardless of the birth parents.

  90. jm says...

    Joanna isn’t underestimating her readers. She is just revisiting this issure and realizing her family really does seem complete. I really dislike negative commets. They are unnecessary and really spoil the vibe for the rest of us who are enjoying this post.

  91. My husband and I have just started talking about having children (the timing, etc). I’m an only child and my husband has one sister that he isn’t close with at all. We would like to have two with the option for a third (depending on health and finances). It is really important to us that our children have a close bond, and I keep wondering “what can parents do to help create a close sibling bond?”

    Joanna-I would love to see a post tackling that question! I’ve been asking a few moms of grown children and a few friends about their sibling bonds and it has been fun to hear the answers!

  92. I’ve loved being an only child, and have long thought I would like to have just one. But I would consider two!

  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. I never wanted children. I’m now pregnant with my second and am hoping for 4 kids!

  95. I think it’s so important to think about ourselves, our career, our friendships, to have some time for ourselves, to accomplish somethingelse than motherhood. I have two boys like you and i know that if I have another child, it would be impossible for me to keep working and to be happy as a woman. From a French girl of the very South of France.

  96. PS, I think it’s totally fine to “repurpose” old posts…a lot of us haven’t been readers from the beginning and so the content is new to us. No one is forcing you (Angry Reader) to read anything you don’t want to so why not just skip the post and get on with your day?

  97. My boyfriend wants at LEAST 4 — he comes from a small family so I get why… but does he realize how expensive kids are?! We’ve still got some time to figure out what’s right for us.

    x Lily

  98. Please think of the environment (now and in another 100 years) when you decide whether to bring children into the world. Not only for the sake of others, but for their own. Why is this never brought up in discussions like this?

  99. I think this would’ve been an interesting post if the answer had changed. I clicked on it excitedly, anticipating that you and Alex had changed your minds, and then was annoyed and felt manipulated to read something I’ve read before. Do you think you’ll look for a 3 bedroom home sometime soon, now that you’re pretty sure this is the long-term size of your family?

  100. I always wanted 3 or 4, but my husband thinks just two is perfect. We already have a 2-1/2 year old boy and a 4 month old girl, but I know we’ll have a third. I just feel like there is more to our family and we’re just waiting to meet him or her when the time is right. I like to think of it as a “mother’s intuition”. I knew our first was a boy before we went in for the ultrasound and I knew our second was a girl around the time we found out I was pregnant. I just “knew”.

  101. I have four — and I want more!! I know, crazy, right? But I truly love it. And unlike you, I look around and keep feeling like someone’s missing. My kids are ages 2-14, so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m getting into. The only problem is my husband thinks we’re done. :-(

  102. Oh dear…

    I am 22 and I’m not married or even in a serious relationship, but whenever I think about it I think I would like to have three or maybe four.

    I am the eldest of two children and my brother, who is 6 years and 8 months younger than me, is absolutely perfect, and we really couldn’t have a better relationship, but I often wonder how things you have been had we had another sibling. I certainly never felt that someone was missing before you mentioned it, but now, perhaps I do feel this.

    I would have just liked to share this love, respect and closeness I have with my brother with other siblings too and that’s why I know I would like to have more than two children.

  103. Oh dear…

    I am 22 and I’m not married or even in a serious relationship, but whenever I think about it I think I would like to have three or maybe four.

    I am the eldest of two children and my brother, who is 6 years and 8 months younger than me, is absolutely perfect, and we really couldn’t have a better relationship, but I often wonder how things you have been had we had another sibling. I certainly never felt that someone was missing before you mentioned it, but now, perhaps I do feel this.

    I would have just liked to share this love, respect and closeness I have with my brother with other siblings too and that’s why I know I would like to have more than two children.

  104. I grew up in a family of four, and had twelve cousins (all from one momma!) right down the street. I think four is perfect, and maybe if it feels right we would open our home to foster children, or even adopt. if our finances allow it. I know from my work in medical school that having children is not easy for everyone, though, so our plans may change…

  105. We don’t have any yet but my husband and I want 5.

  106. 0. this number has been pretty firm since i was a kid. sometimes my uterus quivers when i hold an especially squishy baby but then all goes back to normal when i go home.

    PS. i seem to recall you posting something like this before, but unlike the Angry Reader above, i don’t mind. it’s a question worth asking again. we’re all in different places in our lives, answers changes sometimes.

  107. We always planned to have 2 children, but after we lost our little boy, Sebastian, half way through the pregnancy, we decided that if we could we’d try to have two of our own and adopt another. We’re now 4 weeks away from having our 3rd baby, thanks to IVF and amazing medical technology that enables me to physically carry a baby past 20 weeks.
    Once we reach a point where our children are big enough we still plan to adopt, it felt like something we ‘learned’ after we lost Sebastian, and it feels like a promise to him that we have honour. We’ve been watching an amazing series on adoption over here in the UK (had us in floods of tears), and it’s only made us want to do it more.
    Although- I think that will be plenty! We’ll be taking steps to ensure we don’t have any surprises (we only went down the IVF route for one pregnancy) and having high risk pregnanices really takes it out of you, in so many ways.
    We’re so lucky and blessed to be where we are now.

  108. I currently have one and I am still thinking three sounds perfect. My husband is in the definitely two and maybe three camp. He’s the more practical one on the finances of having a family and doesn’t want our kids to feel too constrained by a budgets.We’ll see but I feel we have a lot of love to share so why not.

  109. I remember you posting about this before and I’ve wondered since you had your second if your thoughts had changed. Specially bc you two seem to be such easy going parents who are doing the juggle calmly. And your boys are so wonderful and magical. We have two girls. We’re good and happy. I’m happy to raise two of the same sex children. I feel it makes it easier for me. I lost 4 in between both girls and the last pregnancy was so stressful for me I don’t want to go through it again. Plus I’m 42….and tired! But happy!

  110. i’ve always said i didn’t want children…but who knows! i don’t have a partner yet, so that will definitely influence the decision.

    also, totes agree Paige — ‘unknown’ should take their debbie downer comments elsewhere.

  111. If you are one of those couples who have another child trying for what you don’t have…don’t tell your children. I was “supposed” to be a boy. I knew a family who kept trying to have a boy and ended up with 10 girls!

  112. @Angry Reader. She posted about this topic 2 years ago. I guess she can’t write about Christmas, Easter, Chocolate Chip cookies, etc. anymore either, since she’s covered that topic already. Maybe she was thinking about it again, maybe it’s top of her mind, maybe she wants to discuss it again…

  113. We had three kids and then took a seven year break, and added one more. Four is busy but lots of fun and the oldest love, love, love their baby sister! I would do it again in a second just to watch the boys kiss and cuddle her and try to make her laugh.

  114. We have two boys, one will be two years old in July and the second one will be eight months June 10th . My husband and I always said we would only have two kids, but once in a while I feel like I want one more, He on the other hand absolutely does NOT want one more. I honestly want a little girl, but have no guarantee that I would have a baby girl. Only God knows if he wants to bless us with one more child, since both my boys are a miracle to me, because my first pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy, I lost that baby and had my left tube removed. Thanks to God I was able to get pregnant again, had my first born, and my second boy was definitely a big surprise. I’m so grateful to God for both of m sons. :)

  115. I’d like to have 2!

    PS- Dear “Unknown” above: if you are having a bad day, don’t make all of us read about it!

  116. Right now, having one seems like more than enough. I’m scared to even TTC… let alone think about having more than one kid. I don’t know how people do it.

  117. We have 1,would love 5! However we are 7 months trying for no.2! Some days my little girl is so much work I think having 1 is enough,but you see I have this little image in my head of a busy,full house of excited children at Christmas!!Dreaming of babies xxx

  118. Just a thought for the angry reader – sometimes I tell my mom the same story twice, because I tell my mom a lot of stories and I forget. I’m so glad she doesn’t react the way you just did.

  119. We always said one, maybe two. After having our daughter we decided that one more would complete our family. To our surprise we found out we were expecting TWINS so now we’re a family of 5 and it seems perfect.

  120. its certainly a question that changes with time, right? i thought i wanted four when i was much younger, before i knew the work involved i suppose? now, two seems right. but i wonder if i’ll want three….hmmm.

  121. We started off with twin girls, thinking we’d stop there but were then surprised with a 3rd daughter. I never thought of having 3 kids, but now can’t picture our family any other way. 3 is a happy handful. ;)

  122. I’m one of eight kids, so five has always sounded good to me. I want my kids to have a bunch of brothers and sisters because I had (and continue to have) so much fun with my siblings. I realize a family of ten like I had growing up sounds crazy and chaotic, but even when we all get together it doesn’t feel like that many people. I look around and think “Hmmm. Is this really everybody?” I can’t imagine my life without all of my siblings, so for me, having two or three kids feels like they might as well be an only child.

  123. I really loved growing up in a big family, being the oldest of five and having a large extended family, my dad being one of seven. Siblings are such a gift! We’d like at least three, but maybe more! I love the idea of children multiplying love. More sacrifice, but more love, too!

  124. We’d love 3 kids but could never ever afford that (daycare is TOO expensive). We’ll probably have 2 (although I’m not sure we can afford that either). Whether we can afford it or not we’ll have one.

    We also plan to do foster care when our youngest child is 11.

  125. We have three boys! I’d love to have a fourth (no not to try for a girl!) but kids are EXPENSIVE! Even in Canada with free health care. :)

  126. I think I want 3, but my husband is firm on 2. I grew up as one of 4 siblings and many of our friends have 4+ kids so I keep hearing this lie in my head that I won’t be a “real mom” if I only have 2 kids. Again I recognize it’s not the truth and I never think that about other people, but it’s just something I struggle with. I get what you mean about feeling everyone “is here” with your sweet family. After my first, I told my husband, “I love our little family, but I just feel someone is missing.” We’re expecting #2 right now, so it will be interesting to see if our family feels complete with the 4 of us or if we are still waiting on someone else. I think that’s the best way to judge if you have the right amount.

  127. Thanks for sharing! We have 1 who is 14 months old and I’ve been thinking about this a lot. We were always a “we want two” couple. Two seems like a good balance. An equal number of parents and kids. And financially it seemed manageable (something I’ve always wanted to ask large families is how they manage the cost!). But I’ve loved being a mom so much I’ve actually started to wonder if maybe it wouldn’t be nice t have 3 kids. That is still years away though. Based on what you wrote it seems like we have to try for that second and then based on that see if we feel our family is complete or not.

  128. I have one and am so happy and feel so blessed to have her, she made us a family, ya know? But I am so TIRED too. Sometimes I wonder if my body/mind could handle another pregnancy/first year, or if my husband and I could handle the stress of juggling two without becoming strangers..and then there is the financial aspect. One kid in full time daycare is a second mortgage payment every month! But, I still wonder, maybe…my window isn’t shut yet!

  129. We have two; but since my husband has also another (his first) girl, it makes it three already (even if the girl doesn’t live with us permanently).
    As a child I had imagined myself as a mother or three or even four. Then, I passed a long period when I was thinking I’d never have kids at all.
    Right now, it’s good, though sometimes I ask myself if I wouldn’t like another one… small kids are so cute!!! But than I try to be pragmatic and tell myself that probably I would not not have enough energy, money, time for a big family.
    I also admit that with every year passing I realize that less and less I have a chance to be a mother once again and… it makes me sometimes a kind of a regret … or wishing.
    In the end of life most of the people regret rather not having had another child yet, rather not inversely.

  130. I wanted 3 or 4, my husband wanted an even number. We have 4!

  131. I’ve been thinking about this question quite a bit. We currently have one but we will wait till they are 2 1/2 before we decide to have a second. Or we might wait a bit longer.

  132. I love your comment about it feeling like everyone in your family is “here.” I’m not sure I’ve heard anyone else talk about that feeling.

    It’s funny though, because I have six siblings, and when my whole family is together, it ALWAYS feels like someone is missing.

    I can’t imagine life without any of my siblings, so I’ve always had a desire for a big family myself.

  133. We would like to have 3. We are only now having our first and we started late in life so we don’t know how many God will bless us with. Hopefully, at least two!

  134. I’m curious if anyone decided to go for a third because they had two boys/girls and wanted a little girl/boy. That seems so risky, but I wonder how that influences the decision to “try for another.”

  135. You have posted this exact post a year or two ago. Do you really think we’re that stupid? Had it happened once, I’d ignore it, but you’ve done this before. Please Joanna don’t underestimate your readers. It’s disrespectful. If you don’t have ideas for new posts, it’s way more elegant to just skip a day and try again tomorrow.
    Best of luck,
    Angry reader

  136. Also, I could see you having more if you guys moved to, say, California! A place with a yard and all of that can really change perspectives.

  137. We always thought we would have two, but the decision has mostly been made for us – after a number of years trying, many losses and the removal of my left tube, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get pregnant again naturally.

    Sometimes, I do still feel like I’m waiting for someone else to join us (that’s a really nice way to word it), but I also really enjoy life with just the three of us. I’m choosing to be grateful for the amazing daughter we already have, many people won’t have the opportunity for even one child.

  138. When I was a little girl I loved babies and told my mom, “I want 1000 babies!” Luckily I’ve come to my senses since then. ;) We are expecting baby #1 any day now. At this point, the last thing I want to think about is how many more times I want to be pregnant!!

  139. Two, which is what we now have (a girl and a boy). There are moments I think about a third (brief, fleeting moments) but I feel I’m the type of mother I want to be to two children.

  140. I don’t know why, but I don’t see you with only two children. I think you two are one of those couples that can handle a dozen. However, 3 or 4 is more reasonable.

  141. When I was young I wanted six. Ha – silly girl! I have 3 (boys, now mostly grown) and that is perfect!!

  142. We are one and done. Once in a while, I wonder what having another would be like…then quickly conclude I could not handle it.

  143. Growing up as an only child I always dreamed of having a big family…5 kids minimum. I felt that way all through high school and then during college and countless hours of babysitting I realized that didn’t sound like the right number anymore. When my husband and I first started dating I wanted 3 and was very firm on that idea. But now that we have been married for a year we think two will be just perfect. It is funny because at different ages I felt so sure about my number…but in this season of life 2 sounds perfect.

  144. I always said 3 to 4, my husband says 2 to 3, though we’re both open to whatever happens (we haven’t started having them yet). I do know a lot of people who have 2 close together and then wait a while for the 3rd, just out of self preservation. Ha.

  145. we have two and I “feel” there’s at least one more out there. Maybe even two. It is such a departure from how we grew up and how our friends live. But it is a feeling I have in my bones that there’s at least one more (if not two) out there. It’s like I already know them and it is just a waiting game to “bring” them here. Gosh, I sound crazy, but… it is what it is!