Motherhood

How Many Children Do You Hope to Have?

Alex and I have been talking about this more lately, and…

…we’re torn. Recently I’ve been wondering if we should try for a third child, but Alex looks totally panicky (basically this expression) whenever I bring it up. So, we are, as yet, undecided.

We have two wonderful children and feel so, so lucky. But I grew up in a family with three children, and three seems like such a fun gang. And I’d love to see Anton as a big brother!

Meanwhile, Alex and I have talked about these thoughts:
* “The world is made for families of four.” (Tables for four, taxis fit four passengers, etc.)
* “We would be completely sleep deprived for another few years.”
* “Whenever you have a group of three, someone always feels left out.”
* “You don’t know your limits until you’ve passed them.”

Another thing I would add is that I am completely beside myself for the first 6-9 months with a new baby, since I experience terrible postpartum depression and anxiety. So I’d have to roll up my sleeves and prepare to go through that again, which definitely makes me hesitant. And who knows? Maybe we wouldn’t be able to have another baby. But, still, I just can’t get that third child out of my mind.

I’m so curious: How many kids do you hope to have? One, two or more? None? Not sure? Do you agree with your partner on the number? If not, how did you decide?

P.S. Raising your first vs. second child. And would you ever decide not to have kids?

(Photos of my twin sister and me)

  1. kz says...

    At times we revere something from our pasts. With huge decisions, as having another child, it seems wise to understand that a recreation of that idyll may not happen. My intent is not to preach, truly! Just to add my thinking. I know that lots of love will be between you and Alex as you decide.

  2. There is no compromise when one partner wants a large family and the other does not. The person who wants a large family just gets to live with disappointment.

  3. We went thru 3 rounds of IVF to get our first two boys. It was hell. We were told we had a 2% chance of ever having a child naturally (without the help of a science and doctors!). After being blessed with the 2 of them, we knew we were so done and thrilled to have gotten those boys. Having my 2nd turned my world upside down and I didn’t know how my other friends had more than 2! Then low and behold, I found out I was pregnant, naturally, at 9 weeks after a looong weekend in Vegas (where I didn’t ACT prego!). Now, I cannot even imagine why I only wanted 2 kids because my daughter has finished out our family and made our party of 5 more fun than anything. And honestly, for me, adding a 3rd kid was much easier than when we added our 2nd child! I don’t know why, maybe wisdom that comes with having more than 1 kid, you seriously somehow relax and let a lot of things go.

  4. World populations is really a thing. Also, sure I came from a family of four. My mother thought the same thing: oh we’ll make someone a big sister. Honestly, it didn’t matter. And my father was NOT happy about it. At all. But went along.

    Enough already. Two adorable boys & a content husband. Seriously. Chronic discontent is also something to wonder about, I think. I was wondering about this in friends & myself just the other day.

    xoxo

  5. We planned for 2. But no 2 was a set of twins, so now we have 3.

  6. Sometimes I feel guilty even having two, boy and girl, 4 and almost 3, 16 months apart. I already feel stretched thin and one of them is always being neglected in my mind. Neither gets the attention I wish to give. They are thankfully best friends and play together well for the most part. My first (my daughter) was a surprise, and before her I wasn’t sure I wanted any, because of the population problem we have, the financial aspect, the drain on resources we are creating etc. But children without siblings seem sad to me, like they’re missing that built in life long best friend. (I know some only children like it just fine, but I’m speaking from my own experience of having a sister.) So we had my daughter and quickly got pregnant again so she’s have a sibling (my son.) Any more than two would be overwhelming to me, neglecting and irresponsible for them and contributing even moreso to the environmental problems. Just my $0.02, though.

  7. Before realizing we’d need to do expensive infertility treatments, I wanted 4 or 5 children. I grew up with 3 siblings and my husband had 2, so we’ve always wanted a larger family. I agree that things seem easier for families with 2 children, always someone to go on a ride with, they always have a hand to hold, etc. However, if we are lucky enough, I would love to try to have 3. Odd numbers are always better anyway!

  8. I’m definitely not at a stage in my life to contemplate raising kids yet (18yrs haha) but the thought of giving birth kind of freaks me out. I don’t think I could bear the pain! After watching the thriller The Orphan, I don’t think I could ever adopt either. Ah idk, I’ll think about this later when the time comes :P -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  9. Very similar situation: two gorgeous boys and debating whether to leave it there. My heart’s set on three, defying both my head and my husband. So am currently in the process of making my peace with being a family of four. Am resolving to do two things…

    1) Make the most of the advantages of a smaller family. Travel, explore, be light on our feet. Enjoy raising my toddlers without two years of pregnancy/nausea/fatigue/depression getting in the way. Retire earlier. Etc.

    2) Mitigate for the disadvantages. I want a lively, bustling. multigenerational home… so be extra-inviting to the boys’ friends (and eventually girlfriends or boyfriends). Put time and energy into relationships with nieces/nephews/godchildren. Operate an open dinner table policy. Widen the definition of ‘family.’

    Am hoping a combination of exploiting advantages and mitigating disadvantages will help me get over the cruel, cruel injustice of only having two happy healthy children :)

  10. I’m the youngest of three with two older brothers and my dad said absolutely no more after the first two. However my mum wanted a girl and ‘oops’ here I am.
    I wouldn’t recommend that approach yourself but now my dad said it was the best decision she ever made (thanks dad).

  11. I wish we could have any children at all. It’s proving to be more difficult than we thought. Right now I cannot make too many plans…

  12. We are one and done. We discussed it a lot prior to getting pregnant, and we both agreed it’s what we both want. Then we got pregnant the first time and we were so ecstatic that a part of me could imagine us having more. Then I lost the baby. Heartbreak. Then I lost another–heart wrenching. When we were finally blessed with our daughter–it felt like our decision to be one and done was really for us. I also got postpartum depression and it made our decision even stronger for me. Now Our daughter is 21 months and we are madly in love. I am still happy with our decision. I know that we could handle more if it were the case, so it’s not a decision based on fear. It’s what we want. It’s amazing how difficult it is to explain to people. I feel like I constanlty have to justify myself. Sorry Joanna I have no advice except for whatever you guys decide just make sure the decision is mutual.

  13. Do it!!! :)

    I always think siblings are gifts money can’t buy…they teach each other so much – honesty, true friendship, how to really laugh at yourself, what really matters in life and so much more – and particularly helping each other to become less selfish! It’s so true that the more the merrier!

    As an adult I really appreciate having my siblings to bounce off and one very VERY important thing – to share the mental and physical load our parents can be.

    No one cares about you with such unfailing love and honest desire for you to be the best you can as your family. No one rubs our corners off as well as our siblings – and everyone likes us the better for it. I think this is best done with more than one sibling ;)

    Don’t forget how fast those first years go – don’t be too daunted by them if another little person to love will help make your family complete :)

    But everyone knows themselves what they can handle xo

  14. Sigh… why are babies so cute. That’s why we are torn. Heheh.

  15. My husband and I both come from families of four kids, and we easily agreed on having four ourselves. Some days I consider not having another child (we currently have a 1.5yo and a 3.5yo, and to stop here almost seems like a relief after knowing for years that it will continue to get crazier and harder), but I think ultimately I would like four, even if it seems a little nuts right now :) My second pregnancy was a lot harder than the first, and it’s likely that my subsequent pregnancies will be harder. I’m crossing my fingers for twins next time to get it over and done with…even though I’ll probably be on bedrest!

    Wow, I do sound crazy. Yet I still feel at peace with four.

  16. I too grew up in a family of three, and while I love the idea of having three children because I loved my experience, I urge everyone who is considering a third child to factor in population in their decision.

    With two children you are replacing you and your spouse, but the addition of a third is contributing to the population problem we are having.

    For a long time I would hear this and brush it off. I felt like it applied more to developing countries than it did my life. Then as I began to really learn more about climate change, over population, and how they are interrelated I became aware of how important it is to make sacrifices in our lives to make a better future possible for our children who are already here. It is easy to dismiss population problems, but in the end I think about my son and how I want to try my best and ensure that the world we leave him is healthy.

    I don’t mean to be a downer, but I respectfully encourage people to take a minute and really look at social and environmental reasons not to have a third child. Here are a few interesting reads:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140920-population-11billion-demographics-anthropocene/

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jun/30/stephen-emmott-ten-billion

    http://www.worldwatch.org/global-population-surpasses-7-billion-two-clear-strategies-sustainable-future

    Thanks for reading!

  17. We have been blessed with three little boys. I always thought I’d have 4 or 5 kids, but have discovered that 3 is probably my limit! After number 2, I remember saying to my husband, “how do you ever know when your family is done?”. But after number 3, who had scary health issues, who is still waking a lot (he is 2!) and who is full of non stop energy, I think I can confidently say that our family is complete! Even though my 7 year old (who shares a room with his two little brothers) begs us for more and even said, “Mum, I understand that the more kids there are, the less spoilt each kid is. But I’m ok with that – I just want more brothers or sisters!”

  18. To be very frank, I have always felt that having more than two children is selfish and short sighted. Two children in a two parent household maintains zero population growth, the idea being that the child “replaces” their parent in the global population upon the parent’s death. Some may say that this is a cold and unfeeling consideration, but given the dire situations with climate and resources, I believe that it is our duty to take these things into account, especially considering that a third child will likely be alive 100 years from now, at which time the world and their quality of life will look much, much different than they do for their parents today. I think it is our responsibility to factor this in, not just whether you would like another baby or not, especially given the privilege in the first world to plan and control your fertility. I don’t mean this in an accusatory way, just a different perspective.

  19. We went through the same thing! We ultimately decided to go for three because we didn’t want to have any regrets. We didn’t always want to wonder “what if” and wish we had one more. We knew we would never regret having another but we might regret not. (Plus they are so amazing, how can you not?? :) )

  20. Oh sister, the dilemma. I feel you.

    I had two beautiful boys, much like you and I was super cool with that. Then we got pregnant on ACCIDENT.

    I thought I was going to die. But then I had this gorgeous little girl and my whole life changed. It’s incredible, it’s amazing. My boys are in love and it’s beautiful to see.

    That was only four weeks ago so I might still be on a birth high.

  21. It makes me sad you feel like the world was made for families of 4! Maybe it’s just more convenient for a family of 4 – but maybe we need bigger families and increase the demand for new options. =) You guys are absolutely wonderful parents and a third baby (God willing) would be so lucky to have you and vise versa.

  22. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I too, have really struggled in the first year of both kids lives with heart-breaking sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression. I feel like we are just starting to come up for air after a really rough patch (all the while knowing I am so blessed to have these beautiful, amazing children). I always thought I wanted 2 kids. There was a brief time when my youngest was 9 months old (and my toddler was going through a hard phase – oh wait he kind of still is!) that I felt so sad about the baby phase passing into the harder toddler phase (behavior-wise) that I briefly considered (hallucinated) having a third. But when people as me that dreaded and ubiquitous question, I reply that my “third child” will be myself. I really want to focus on self care (sleep, therapy, exercise, mediation even!), which is just so hard to do with little ones. I actually feel kind of jealous of moms that have more than 2 kids. I wonder “what is it about them that makes it more tolerable for them? how do they do it?” But I think for me, and our family, another child would really sink me. And there actually is a peace in knowing we’re done. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing about it.

  23. I am one of three girls and honestly want at least 3 kids.
    My parents married later in life so my Mum was 33 when she had me (I am now 20), then had my middle sister when she was 36 (turning 37) and my youngest sister at 38. My parents had originally decided to stop at 2 but when my middle sister was born with Down Syndrome my parents just knew in their hearts they needed another child and I needed a ‘normal’ sibling to help me with Megan.
    My Mum is one of four and my Dad is one of two so they met in the middle. Having 3 girls works for them and after Jocelyn came along our family felt complete :)
    I love being an older sister to Megan and Jocelyn and yes we fight at times but we are all close (I think Megan having Down Syndrome makes us even closer!) and I am thankful my parents decided to have a 3rd.

  24. Just had our third – we have two boys and now a 6-month-old girl. I’m not finding it that much harder, in fact, the post-partum bit has been easier this time as I know it’s the last time.

    Note that I’m an impatient person and a writer. Not the usual motherly type at all. Having said all that, three hasn’t been much harder for me than two. The boys do everything together (eat, sleep, baths), so it’s not much different.

  25. I had baby fever pretty bad when the twins were between 2 and 3 years old. I really really wanted to try for a 3rd. But, my husband and I weren’t 100% in agreement and there were a lot of other things (money, logistics, more twins?!, etc.) that kept holding up the decision. By the time the twins were 4, the baby fever was gone for me. Now, they’re 8 and I don’t have a single regret at stopping with 2. 3 wasn’t meant to be for us. I think my baby fever was strictly hormonal/biological and not an incomplete family thing. Maybe wait out the 2 year gap and the nursing and weaning and see how you’re feeling about it on the other side.

  26. I have spent a long time pretending to enjoy children. I even tried to convince myself. Then one day I finally just acknowledged that I find them loud and disruptive and anxiety inducing. I tell myself, and on occasion others, “but I will love my own one day” (insert cheesy laugh). Now I wonder if I will wake up one day and decide that is not a safe bet to make.

  27. I always thought I would have 2 – I grew up with an older brother who I loved and we have always been close. We have a son (who will be 3 in January) and who I love to bits, but the post partum was so, SO hard that the thought of having another fills me with anxiety if not outright terror. I admire your bravery Joanna (and the other mamas), to have the strength to go through any rough PP issues and yet to have another. Good luck with your decision! ps: Did you ever post about how you chose Anton’s name?

  28. I love how you re-visit this topic! I think it might be a sign your family has room for one more! The “is my family complete” conversation is taking over my circle of friends. We are all so baffled by how to know for sure! It is sad that the conversations always seem to end up on finances as the determining factor. It makes you feel dirty to allow money to determine the number of people to love in your family but then also is obviously irresponsible to not consider the burden of the rising costs of everything especially higher education. Good luck making your decision!!!

  29. I basically grew up surrounded by kids, despite having only one younger brother – cousins, friends, neighbors… There were always little ones around. I nannied for three different families of four kids each (though two of those eventually grew to five!), and it seemed like the perfect number. The oldest would help with the littlest, and the middle two would play together. My husband’s childhood looked nothing like this, and he never wanted more than two kids, max. He’s since become open to the possibility of a large family. We have a one year old now and aren’t doing anything to prevent siblings… And I don’t think we ever will.

  30. My friend just sent me a link to this page because she knows that my husband and I are going back and forth daily right now between 2 and 3 kids.

    We have two amazing boys (3.5 and almost 1). I’m 39 though and had very difficult (hospitalized) pregnancies. I come from a family of 4 so I’ve always had two in my mind but my husband comes from a family of 5, so I know he would love another.

    It’s just so hard for me to say goodbye to these years of having babies and breastfeeding, they are truly so magical. But that said, I’m looking forward to the future and starting to travel and enjoy ‘life outside the nest’ too.

    My husband has a vasectomy scheduled for early December and I’m going to talk with my maternal/fetal specialist this week about our choices. I guess I just want her to tell me “Yes you can” or “No, it’s not safe for you” so that we can move forward with his procedure and enjoy life with our boys or start thinking about getting pregnant again in 2015!

    We shall see.

    BTW – it’s so nice to read that hubby and I are not alone in the total inability to make this decision! We both feel the same so we end up getting absolutely nowhere when we start talking :)

  31. I’m one of three and and I definitely think I want 3 or 4 kids. I really enjoy having more than one sibling and it’s fun to see a mix of personalities in the family and how every interacts differently with everyone else. I also think that the fact that the “world is made for families of 4” isn’t really a problem. I remember as a young child when we rented hotel rooms on vacation I would have to sleep on two chairs pushed together (because I was the youngest). It makes for some interesting stories but you find a way to work things out!

  32. I’m an only child and I loved it! My parents and I were such an awesome little team. It has definitely influenced my feelings–I would sort of love to just have one child. My fiance is a middle child, and despite troubled relations with siblings still wants to have two. I guess we’ll try for one, and see how we do!

  33. After two boys I felt we were missing someone in our family, so we had number 3 and the boys just love her! Now I feel like our family is complete. Yes , we had to go back to nappies and no sleep and get a new car but we are so happy together, and can’t imagine life without all 3!

  34. It has been so helpful to read all of these comments. I can think of so many practical reasons to stop at 3 but I can’t stop myself from feeling incomplete. I keep telling people that it’s like being in love. It doesn’t really make sense but the feeling is so strong.

  35. We have three, and the world is definitely made for families of four, but we have found it totally possible to squeeze our family of five in everywhere we have wanted to go. The third was super tough – mostly on my career – it was a huge stretch to be a mom to three in the way I wanted to be a mom and keep up at work. But, I am so thankful we have our third – I couldn’t imagine our family without her. I felt that someone was missing after our second, and though it has been challenging in every possible way to add that third, she was the missing one – and now she’s here and she makes our family more rich and full than I can imagine! So in short, its hard – no way to deny that! – but, so, so worth it!

  36. Hi, I was also once at that cross roads. I desperately wanted a third child, my husband did not. And you are right the world caters for families of four, even when you buy mince or chicken, its packed for four. Still drives me nuts. Anyway I actually fell pregnant before my husband went in for a vesectomy. We have never looked back. Financially you will never afford children but somehow you manage. Three brought such a different dynamic to our family. I would not change my life My children are now 21 20 and 16. They are great kids. My daughter is just about to graduate from university on a full scholarship, my middle child is about to start college after a set back in his health and my other son just received a full scholarship this year for the balance of his schooling and his future at university. God always provides. My first two were only 15 months apart. Jesse came along 3 and a half years later, sometimes I wonder how we got through those years they seem a blur sometimes. I would recommend three even more children. They are a blessing a heritage a gift from God.

  37. My mom stopped when she had the perfect kid. Took her four tries before I came along. I got it right the first time ;)

  38. We hope to have … none!! We get hassled about our decision, but we don’t care.

  39. I am the oldest of six, so maybe I have a somewhat unique perspective. I will just say that my parents never regretted any of their children, and the sacrifices we all had to make were MORE than worthwhile (we had to come home because the baby needed a nap, we couldn’t afford super cool clothes, we drove around in a big old van, going anywhere was a complete circus… etc). We are all good friends and I loved the explosion of life in our house. My husband and I would like to have at least 4. :)

  40. I feel a little like I am talking to my younger self. I am 46 with a 2 year old and 2 in college, all boys. We made the decision after our second child not to have anymore children. I had a tubal ligation. For 17 years I greived for the child I “missed”. We considered adoption and fostering children but it never felt right. I found a surgeon who was willing to reverse my tubal at 42. Our son was born 7/12. I can’t express in a simple comment what this journey has meant. I couldn’t live with the deep, deep regret I had for not allowing another blessing. He is here now and I am so thankful.

  41. Several weeks ago you posted something that I thought was so true. When you sit at your table and eat dinner, do you feel like everyone is there? Are you missing someone? We have three later in life–makes for a crazy life but exactly what we wanted. When I look around my table, I know this is who is supposed to be there. That thought makes me happy. Good luck in your choice.

  42. I feel a little like I am talking to my younger self. I am 46 with a 2 year old and 2 in college, all boys. We made the decision after our second child not to have anymore children. I had a tubal ligation. For 17 years I greived for the child I “missed”. We considered adoption and fostering children but it never felt right. I found a surgeon who was willing to reverse my tubal at 42. Our son was born 7/12. I can’t express in a simple comment what this journey has meant. I couldn’t live with the deep, deep regret I had for not allowing another blessing. He is here now and I am so thankful.

  43. We just had our third baby, she is 6 months old. Our oldest just turned 4 and our second is 2. I will not lie life is a little crazy but so wonderful. Each baby has gotten easier and while yes I am sleep deprived I’m more used to be sleep deprived so it’s not as bad as it was with the first one. I think if you have a third baby in your heart you should go for it, but only if your husband is on board of course. I think with these decisions you have to think past the few years. Do you want two kids coming home from college or three etc? Your children will live longer outside of your home than in so keep that in mind. Also, I saw a natural pathic doctor/ chiropractor and he gave me some supplements that have really helped me post pardon. I think there are some alternative things you can do to help with the depression and anxiety.

  44. i grew up in a family of three kids. two big brothers and then me. i’m single, and i dream of replicating the family dynamic i grew up in. there are always struggles (left out, middle kid, whatever). but in the end we’re all adjusted.

    i say go for it.

  45. I agree with Veronica, population growth is a huge concern. But if you want more kids, why not provide a loving home for one that is already in the world?

  46. I have 3 boys. 3, 21 months, 3 months. We always said we would like to have four children, but now I’m not so sure. After having three under the age of three, I’m exhausted and quite frankly, my body needs a break. If we do try for another, I’m thinking about waiting until my baby is 2, but then I’ll be 40. Maybe we’ll look into adoption? Or maybe three is our lucky number…

  47. Oh, have another! Babies are such miracles! Even though I don’t have any, something tells me that you’ll never regret it!

  48. Sitting in the hospital with my new sweet baby #4. You may always wonder what if but you’ll NEVER regret if you do decide for one more.

  49. We had initially thought four was a good round number and then we had our second, another boy and decided we were done. Many people mentioned that number three is a game changer and we semi listened. I was finally comfortable with the idea of (only) two kids, only occasionally bringing up the fact that my baby fever was still there. My husband casually threw out “Can you imagine looking at your new baby in the hospital and thinking ‘what if we’d never had you? ‘” I ask you, how was I supposed to resist that? (And this coming from my husband who was DONE with two.) So, this summer we added a third beautiful boy to our family and called it quits! Three most certainly is a game changer! Life is overwhelming and chaotic but so full and lovely. I’m like you and get hit hard with anxiety and depression and went on Zoloft shortly after he was born. Good luck!

  50. We have 4 little boys and I love it. I really can’t imagine our family smaller. I think the 3rd child does change things (you’re out-numbered!). But I believe the 4th was so much more challenging. We joke about how easy 3 kids were (full disclosure our 3rd is an angel and our 4th is a terror). All my boys are in school now and I’m back to working full time (it’s hard when they’re young but it goes by so quickly – SO quickly). I wanted 4 and my husband wanted 3. I guess I won:) It’s such a personal decision and you’ll know if you will regret not having another or if you see your family complete. After I had the 4th I KNEW we were done. I just knew it.

  51. I’m currently pregnant with baby #2 and don’t hesitate in telling people I’m signed up for 4. I was the 3rd of 3 girls and my husband was the 3rd of 4 boys and a girl. We’re down for a big family but my husband will always remark, “One at a time,” in response to my quick 4. :p

  52. My twin and I always, ALWAYS wished we had another sibling, and felt that lack of presence pretty profoundly I think. I really encourage you to try for three :)

  53. It’s interesting to read all the comments about the woman wanting another child and the husband being ambivalent (or downright against it). I want a thir; my husband is adamently opposed. All of the reasons he lists make sense to me, but I still can’t get it out of my head.

    I keep having to remind myself about the horrible first year of no sleep (my baby is 8 months and just now starting to sleep a little better). Every time we discuss the topic it doesn’t end well. So I guess we are probably done.

  54. My husband and I have been back-and-forth on this subject for two and half years (I have a 5yo and a 2.5yo)…and just yesterday, we finally took apart our crib. Sad! When one of us craves a baby, the other goes down the list of reasons why we really shouldn’t have another. At the moment we’re leaning on no bc 1) I had two c-sections which means a guaranteed painful (!) third and 2) we live in LA and send our kids to private schools so it’s a huge financial burden. We couldn’t decide so for two months in the summer, we went off the pill and played roulette but didn’t end up getting pregnant. I took it as a sign that maybe it’s not meant to be for us, as much as I wish it were.

  55. I personally think there is the perfect number. Two seems to put too much stress on the one sibling relationship- threesomes are closer in my experience!

  56. So many comments but I still wanted to add mine.

    We decided we’ll be happy with 2 and we would be happy with 3 so let’s just stick with 2.

    We are so very very happy in our lives right now with 2 lovely kids, why risk changing that?

  57. We adopted our first from South Korea, because we had been trying for 4 years to get pregnant. We then found out we were pregnant. So they were only 6 months apart in age. We decided after the happy joy but busyness of our almost twins to adopt animals. They were good for the boys and do not have to set up a college fund. They are now in their late 20’s and are wonderful men. Family is all that matters in the end.

  58. I have a 2 yr old and a 6 mo old, both boys. I’d get pregnant again if my husband would let me! I think I can convince him, but I am also willing to stop now since he is generally better with long term decisions… I don’t consider finances and convenience any basis for baby making decisions. Life is so amazing now with the boys, and it could be even better with a third!! It helps that I love being pregnant. I do love your motherhood posts!

  59. We have one and know we want a second. That’s where we waiver. A third is great in theory but we reserve the right to stick to 2. My mom is dying for 4. I said no.
    xoxo Laura
    http://www.theaccidentalmama.com

  60. My kids are much older. But I also grew up in a family of 3 children and always thought I might have the same number. The fun, the relationships, right? But after two, I realized that I wouldn’t be as good a mother with more than two. I’d have less patience. I also suffered from post partum. All those little details that added up. Whatever you decide to choose, all I can advise is that both you and Alex should be on the same page. I have two friends where the mothers insisted on having more kids than what the fathers wanted or knew they could handle. And now that they are all older, the dads still harbor a small amount of resentment (even though they love all their children)

  61. I had to comment on this because seven years ago, I was where you are: two little boys, and both a longing and a sense of trepidation around having a third, because yes, three pushed us into more of that big family feel. I have just one sibling whom I adore, but I would have loved more. My husband, who is one of four siblings, was on the fence (even more than I was). One of the things that pushed us over was talking to older friends. No matter how many children they had, they all said they wished they’d had more. At forty-three, and with my third child in school full time, I feel the same. During the early years I felt crazy and sometimes doubted the decision. Three really does push you over into the “large” family dynamic. The parents are outnumbered. But now it is my husband who looks at me with love dripping from his face, and says how he cannot imagine life without our third little boy. Everyone is different, but for us, it was a costly but a good choice. Blessings as you decide!

  62. We have 1!! So I say stop!

    All three of us are hardcore introverts, and we love being able to get away to our private spaces when we need to recharge. Having space to do that (without having to deal with the cost and upkeep of a larger living space) makes us all happier to spend time together when we choose to, and I think it makes our relationships stronger with each other.

  63. We’ve got three kids, two boys and a little girl. Three is really, really hard. Baby girl has had to be so adaptable to the boys schedules (school, kinder, play-dates, swimming lessons, etc). It hasn’t been easy for my OCD personality but I’ve learnt to relax and go with the flow. Maybe I needed to learn this? Often when days get tough, I think of how easy life would be with just two. The deciding factor for three was that I didn’t want to live a life or regrets or what-ifs. So we went for it! And we got a sweet little girl, which was just what I needed. Just be prepared for craziness.

  64. We are in the same boat. We have two little kids and I get the feeling sometimes that I want a third. You bring up a good point that one might feel left out in a group of three kids. But time for me is running out and I don’t want to regret not even trying for a third once I’m past the point of child bearing.

  65. I feel so sorry that you went through postpartum depression again. You do such a good job of not talking about it on your blog. Although, I hope if you get the courage and you feel like it, you will talk about it.

    We have a two year old, Finn. But we’re going to try for another soon. I’m not sure what number we’ll stop at. My husband and I both come from a family of four children. My three brothers are my best friends.

  66. Ah defo go for three! I’m from a family of three children and I think it’s perfect. There’s just that extra bit of support between us, and was loads more fun with games etc when we were kids! x

  67. I have a hard time with this too. My second is almost 4 months and the idea of him being the last baby is so sad to me. My husband is the middle of three and always felt left out. Even now there is just a strange dynamic in his family with that odd number. All of my friends have 3 kids and there is a certain chaos to their lives that I don’t have with two. So I think it really depends on your personality. I am pretty sure we are sticking with 2 and I just hope all the kids want to hang out at my house so I can kind of be everyones’ mom!

  68. I am with Veronica 1.53

    We have a 7 and 5 yo and sometimes I think a third would add but I am pretty environmental and every purchase I do I see in Co2 :) and also I am so no up for the baby stage unless (I had help $$). Plus our 3rd bedroom is 9×9 so we’d probably have to move :)

    I like the idea of three grown children and think about fostering to adoption a third when my kids are HS age

  69. My husband and I don’t have kids yet, we’ve been enjoying extended newlywed status for the past 17 months or so. :) We have different “maximum numbers” in mind because I was one of four and he was one of two. I think right now our agreement is 2-3 and we may change our minds after seeing how the first pregnancy and child work out.

  70. I am the second of four kids (2 boys, 2 girls – each 18 months apart) and that has definitely made me want to have four too. My boyfriend however is one of two and thinks three maximum (to fit in a car). Meanwhile, I have a friend who is one of SIXTEEN (!!!) and loves it. It all comes down to money these days though…

  71. I have three little girls, each three years apart (age 6, 3 and 6 months. I had never really given much thought to how many children we would like/have. When my first daughter was born, I just presumed that we would probably have two so as to give her a sibling and because my husband and I both come from two children families. However when my second was born, I knew within weeks that actually I wasn’t done yet and I couldn’t shake the feeling. My husband was very sure, we were, but well…women can be very persuasive! Now our third is six months old, and I am over the moon. I absolutely love having our little clan. However I’m still not 100% sure I feel like our family is complete yet. I really thought I would be but I think it probably has to be due to financial and logistical reasons. Good luck with making your decision! xxx

    http://talkingtounicorns.blogspot.com

  72. People are always shocked to hear that I would like four children! I am from a family of three kids (but my mom always wanted four) and my husband is the baby in a family of four kids. However, right now we only have one, so I have no idea what is is like to balance multiple kids, and like you I have had postpartum depression and anxiety, so we’ll see how far we get. I love the idea of having a minivan full of kids, though!

  73. I have 2 boys around the same ages as yours. This summer I was surprised (VERY SURPRISED) to find myself pregnant. My husband and I had discussed a third but I thought I was closer to saying we were definitely done – this was after travelling solo with my two boys to Australia.
    Now we’re so excited to be welcoming a 3rd to our family in January. We were not going to find out but it turns out it’s a girl, how that will be different!
    Also, very recently my husband found a journal entry from his early 20s after visiting a psychic. Apparently told him he would have 3 children – two boys and a girl. That makes me smile.
    Whatever you decide, children are the greatest blessing but it’s true that accommodating this latest addition does come with a challenges, not to mention I’ll have a real toddler with a newborn. eep!

  74. I have 3: 1 girl (10) and 2 boys (8 and 5 1/2). I had my daughter at 26, and my youngest boy at 31. I could so tell the difference b/w having a baby in my 20’s vs having one in my 30’s. So much harder to bounce back. I came from a family w/ 4 kids, so I always wanted 4, too. I am like you, though, I guess, b/c I also have a horrible time for that first year. I LOVE babies, but no sleep and nursing takes it’s toll on me quickly. The 2nd year is the BEST, though. It doesn’t matter now b/c we are done. When my youngest was 8mos, my husband decided he didn’t want me to have to go thru the “first year” again, so he decided to shut down the factory. I thought it was a quick decision, but I knew he was right. We’re at a good stage now w/ all the kids at school-age. So many things are easier. I do sometimes feel a twinge of jealousy when a friend says she’s having her 4th (and all of my friends are still having kids!! When will everyone be done?!). But I think of going back to square-one w/ the diapers, etc, and I’m like “no thanks”. I help in the nursery in church and hold babies then. Or, I take a friend’s baby as my “substitute” baby. :) A friend once told me that “a woman’s womb is never satisfied”. I can see that as somewhat true.

  75. We have one and hope to have another in a couple of years ( spacing them out 4 years or so). We have a 2.5 year old boy who truly is the light of our lives, I would love to give him a sibling. I think we will stop at two, due to finances, etc. I do think if your heart of hearts is telling you your family is not complete, then it just may not be. I have a feeling a third will find it’s way to you;)

  76. My favorite saying about having kids goes, “Having a third kid feels like you are drowning and someone throws you a baby.” haha!! It’s so true. I have 4. Two older and two younger that are only 17 months apart. I look back and can’t believe i survived. Now they are 5 and 6 and I cry thinking that we almost didn’t have them. My oldest is a senior and will be leaving for college and I LOVE that these two will be with me for so much longer. my family is the happiest part of my life.

  77. I am from a family of five and I always loved being in a “large” family. At least, I thought it was large until I met and married my husband who is one of nine. Big families are so much fun! My husband doesn’t have a number in mind for us though. I myself want four and then after that, see how we’re doing and if we could have more. (Meaning I’m still mentally stable, lol!)

  78. I get horrible, horrible morning sickness, enough that it always keeps me from wanted to get pregnant again. Yet, in the grand scheme of life I know the 9 months that I am sick will be only a blink to the wonderful years I will have with my children. Plus, I think siblings are so lucky in life to have each other. I won’t let it keep me from having more, even though it feels never-ending while I’m going through it!

  79. We had #2 last week and plan on having many more. Both my husband and I come from families of 7 children and we haven’t set a definite number (it’s up there though) but know our greatest joy was growing up in a large family where you always had many supporters and best friends.

    I was the middle child and hold nothing ill about it. I feel like there could be something negative about every position in the family if you looked for it.

    We just made the move from the city (Chicago) to suburbia in order for our family to have indoor and outdoor space and, while I will always love certain things about city life, the joy that comes from my family outweighs any of those temporal pleasures (not saying that anyone is picking less important things over family if they choose to have only a couple of children).

    Our first child has been over the moon in love with her little sister and I can’t wait for each of my children to have more siblings to love and to love them back.

    I am sleep deprived with a one week old and just had a natural birth I wasn’t planning on, but I am looking at our baby that now makes us a family of four and know nothing makes me happier and that we still have more to add.

  80. We have 2, a 2 year old and a 7 month old, and I guess we are done. Hubby says we can’t afford another, and is going to the doctor before the end of this year to make sure it doesn’t happen again! I feel a little anxious about this, but I think its mainly grieving the loss of possibility of another, especially now that I’m just feeling like I’ve got the hang of this parenting thing! Never again will there be another set chunky thighs, sweet sleepy cuddles, the weight in my arms…I might cry just writing this…but I think that if I sat with these feelings a bit, I might even better appreciate the babies I have!

  81. I have four (and had them in 4.5 years – no multiple births), and I think we are done. BUT we still dialogue about having more – loving the idea of more but not the reality of more. and just not wanting to be in this baby/pregnancy/nursing phase forever. (since I’ve been eternally pregnant and/or breastfeeding since 2009). hah! though I read a really great blog post about the normal “ache” for babies, no matter how many you have.

  82. I wrote a comment before, but I keep on thinking about this. Re: PPD, I think a lot depends on how well the medication works for women. I am deeply thankful that I have a go-to SSRI that helps lift my PPD within a week (in my previous comment I wrote twice that I had thyroiditis, but I meant to say that I get thyroiditis and PPD each time around). I definitely would not have had a third if I didn’t have Lexapro to turn to. Quite honestly, it made that third child possible to try for. With my first, I was in a deep dark hole for months before I finally went on my SSRI. I was so desperate for a second child after my molar pregnancy that I might have gone for it even at the risk of getting severely depressed again. There’s no way I ever would have tried for our third girl if I didn’t have a medication I could rely on and that would work quickly. I can completely understand your hesitation, Joanna. I think if you have a medication you can reliably go on, and get the support of a therapist postpartum, it would be fine. I know SSRI’s can be overprescribed these days, but I am so, so grateful to be living in an era where they exist. I don’t think I would have survived in an era without such things.

  83. I came from a 4 kid family, which was wonderful growing up but as adults My mom is pulled in so many directions from all of us, we don’t really have a relationship outside of the grandkids. Selfishly I want more time with my Mom, I always have, so that is why I am only having 2. I can be all over them forever, and they will never feel neglected. I have all brothers so maybe if there was a sister in there I wouldn’t feel so forgotten..

  84. We already have the one and would love one more, but it’s very unlikely we’ll be able to. Right now we’re really just trying to come to terms with our infertility and reminding ourselves that we are already more blessed than many people have the chance to be.

  85. My friend Megan just emailed with these very wise words:

    It has been painful at times knowing that each moment with the baby is the last time I’ll experience that as a mom and that, for all intents and purposes, my “childbearing years” have come to an end. I have been working really hard to separate my fear of aging from a true desire to have more children.

    What’s been helpful for me is working to reframe my perspective—saying to myself that I’m “on the other side” rather than “it’s over” makes it feel more like a passage and less like an ending. Also, my husband helped me remember all the things we have to look forward to as parents of older children (i.e., vacations that are actually fun, sleep, dinners without tantrums, an increasing amount of freedom and a more mature relationship with our kids). nothing to shake a stick at. I know the issues don’t end with older kids but it’s not like the joy does either.

    xoxoxo

  86. “Not getting that third child out of your mind” to me is a clear indicator of what you actually imagine your family might one day be…
    I am very fortunate to have a gorgeous 5 year old son and an equally cute 1 year old daughter – and fell accidentally pregnant with twins when my daughter was less than a year old. Because of severe medical reasons to do with my daughter`s pregnancy I chose to abort the twins in order to not put my life on the line, and I`ll admit to you – I miss them every day, as the thoughts of suddenly being a family of six, INSANE as that would have been, always made me smile. I think, deep down, your wish has been made in a way…

  87. I love this post.

    We have a six month old girl and only ever planned on having one child. I am the third out of four, and while I really enjoyed having siblings, I do not think I could emotionally, physically and financially manage more than one. We decided early on in our relationship that we would stick to our single child. After seeing my sister struggle with her two boys (they are 3 years apart), it really pinned that single child idea into my heart and soul.
    Make no mistake about it, I do wish to be pregnant again, wish to hold a tiny little squish again, but then I remember the engorged breasts, the tender nipples, the sleepless nights, the screaming, the 2 am diaper changes, etc. and am reminded that our little girl is perfect and one time was enough for us.

    Side note: We decided that if we’re able to, we’re definitely going to adopt if we really decide we want more children.

  88. Oh man. I’m pregnant with the second and this is a page right out of our book. (I’ve reserved the right to not decide until the second is a little older…but that also makes me worry I won’t appreciate the second as much since I’ll have the partial assumption there will be one last one, and then if we decide not to have a third, I will regret not cherishing it all more. Although I’m sure every parent feels that way no matter what since they all grow up so fast.)

    I want three, my husband wants two. He comes from a family of two, and all his aunts and uncles have two kid families (all seven of them). I come from a family of five and as the middle child, not having one in my family seems incomplete. But I definitely wrestle with all the points you brought up above, along with the whole expensive traveling and taking longer to get back to working full time.

    But there are two things that stick in my mind more than anything, and I keep coming back to. The first is that I would never regret having a child once I do. I would never look back and think I didn’t want that little person in my life, whereas I’m worried I will forever regret not having that third. And the second is a quote from Heidi Klum when someone asked her once about having four kids. She said something along the lines of don’t plan your family around how intense and hard the early years are, plan it around how many people you want at the Thanksgiving table year after year. Which is just so true. Those early years are so involved and all consuming, it’s hard to step back and realize there is a whole life time with your family.

    So we will see. =) I’m eager to see what decision you and your family reach. You can’t really go wrong with either one.

  89. I’m the fifth of six kids – all from same parents. We are extremely close and we were a happy gang growing up. Yet in spite of this, I can’t help but think that having more than two (replacement rate) is taking more than my fair share environmentally. Not trying to be judgy of those who have more, but I do love the sentiment others have expressed about having two then adopting or fostering. I grew up with a few families with this composition who are extremely close. I am always curious how many others consider resource use when planning families. I’ve been surprised at how often this comes up in offline conversation. Full disclosure, I have no kids.

    Great topic!

  90. We didn’t know how many kids we wanted, but when I got pregnant with #4 I immediately knew that was it-our family was complete. We have 2 girls and 2 boys. The oldest girl and youngest boy get along great and the boy and girl in the middle get along great. No matter how many you have, you never know how the family dynamic will be. You’re doing great-you will figure it out!

  91. I’m the oldest of 6, and I love it. My mom homeschooled us til highschool, and I remember her exhausted and asleep, either pregnant or nursing, on the couch most of the time while we did our reading.

    I know we have been a financial burden on our parents especially as we’ve gotten older, with braces and into private schools and college, but a burden that my parents gladly welcomed.

    I love big beautiful (well behaved) families, and hope to have 4 of my own kids some day. I know it will be tiring and sacrifices will have to be made, but that should have a positive effect on us all.

    I could go on and on about all the big happy families I know, but I ascribe to the ‘more is more’ philosophy ;) and can’t wait to have my own joy-filled home.

  92. I have two boys–3 and 1.5 and most of the time I think
    “Soooooooo done”. I work full time out of the house, preschool is insanely $$$ and I have just started to eeek out an existence outside my kids again. But in the quiet parts of my heart, I would love to have a third, specifically a girl because I think my boys would be amazing big brothers to a sweet little girl. But you can’t choose those things and three boys? Scares the ever-living crap out of me!

  93. olivia, congratulations!! that’s exciting!

  94. Once this second baby shows up in January, we are done! I am happy to be wrapping things up just before my 40th birthday, it feels like closure. I feel like if we want more we can foster or adopt later. Also I look forward to traveling again and enjoying our marriage, both of which are harder with the young babes in the house. Also, we would need a bigger house! Not happening.

  95. I think it’s really important to consider the worst if you and your partner aren’t on the same page in terms of number. As horrible as it might sound, you should think about what is more important to you – your third child or your partner. Because honestly, it’s a huge decision to compromise on. And even if one partner gives in because they truly love their partner (and they know they will of course love their child too) resentment can still turn up unexpectedly if their heart wasn’t fully in it.
    Of course, the desire for a third child might outweigh that and be worth the risk for you. Just something to think about.

  96. I have 2 girls (teenagers now) and the longing at times for a 3rd was palpable. However….neither girl was a sleeper and my husband would not be budged.
    I wheedled and cajoled and still he was adamant that as far as he was concerned, we were done.
    For all those longing for a 3rd/4th/whatever, in my experience, it doesn’t linger.
    I don’t regret stopping at two, and a decade or so ago that did not seem possible.
    They are not babies forever and along the line expenses creep up…. 2 children in College is expensive!!

  97. i was one of three and loooved it!! three makes it extra exciting, i think. and i am sure your boys will always be best friends, but when planning babes with my husband i originally felt so set *against* just having two because all he has is a sister, and they’re not that close. and all my mom has is a brother, who she was so close to for most of her life, but he grew into a very crotchety, depressed man and now they don’t speak. it breaks my heart and makes me wanna have ten children! haha! i am not sure how many my body can take [i get post-partum… well and heck, during partum, anxiety, as well], but i would sure love a bustling household for all of my days! your boys are so precious, though, i know you will always be a happy family no matter what you choose!!

  98. Our kids are roughly the same ages. We are done, and are sure of it through surgery. For us it was finances (no paid maternity leave in the US, live living in a walkable area which requires a small house), careers, and my personality. I love our family of 4, and I look forward to the days when travel is easier. Granted, I am trying to soak in my my 1 year old’s sweet babyness and crazy caveman toddler antics while I can.

    If you are on the fence, I think you have to pay attention closely to how your husband feels.

  99. We have two girls, ages 12 & 4 (big gap, I know). My husband and I get baby fever every once in a while, but then there are the times when the 4 year-old calls from the bathroom “Mommy, I pooped”. And you know, I’m ok with just the two of them.

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  101. R says...

    I love this topic and think about it often as we’ve just began talking about having kids.

    I come from a family of three kids and LOVE it. Girl, boy, girl, with 5 years between us all.

    We never had the two against one gang up. Or the middle child issues.
    All three of us played together when we were young and were independent with our own interests when we were teenagers, but loved being together. We would have family dinners every night and we all made each other laugh. Imagining my childhood with just one friend would have been weird! I always had two friends to play with. I love that idea- that its always a group to hang out with.

    And even now when we text each other funny things, it’s a group message with more than one other voice on the other line.

    I even remember begging our parents to have more. It’s just such a special relationship-sibilings. I always felt that the families who had more children had even more memories that we did. I knew people with 4-6 kids and they always had the best memories inside their own family, rather than outside the family.

    I also think of when we get older…
    My parents come from 5 and 4 kids, so we have many aunts and uncles and cousins and we love that. I would like for my kids and grandkids to have more than just one uncle and aunt, with just one set of cousins (or none if their sibling decided not to have any). And that would be sad too, because we were also so close with our cousins!

    I love having two other siblings. The idea of having a friendship that lasts from birth to death is amazing. You can’t count on that kind of relationship with friends.. Friends come and go over the years. But having a lifelong relationship with siblings you can count on.. I love the idea of having many of those relationships for my kids.

    I would love 3-4 kids, adopting included.

  102. We have two boys and a girl, 7, 4, and 16 months. My husband wanted to stop at 1, but every time he’s come around and says he can’t imagine life without one of them. It works for us. I came from three and I think it just depends on the family what works. I’ve heard from several different moms/families that you’ll know when you’re done and you’ll never regret having another child. Life may be harder, but that could happen no matter the amount of kids you have.

  103. Grain of salt comment from someone that doesn’t have kids:

    I always think it’s funny when people want to have kids close in age so that they can be friends, or 3 in stead of 2, or 4 instead of 3 to enable better family dynamics. I get there are some logistics involved, but really, it’s a damn crapshoot as to whether they will get a long and enjoy each other’s company as adults.

    DNA can combine in so many different ways, the same family can have so many different personalities…of course siblings will love each other, but they may not be close, or enjoy/like each other. Giving birth to children with the idea that their birth will enable friendships and/or the family of your dreams, is just bologna.

    Also, gender dynamics change things. My friend has two boys and just had a baby girl. The boys are self professed best friends. I think the little girl is going to be lonely. So should they have four to maybe get another girl so she can have a sister? Nope. They should have as many children as they want to parent, love, and treasure in the way that will make them, as parents, happy.

    So, that’s what I think about that!

  104. I am going through this exact dilemma at the moment. We have two healthy, beautiful boys (ages 6 and 3.5). When my youngest turned 1.5, I really wanted a third baby. I have always wanted three since I am an only child. When we first got married we said we wanted three. But once you actually HAVE the kids you realize that it’s not a total piece of cake. We don’t have a lot of help family-wise, so my husband nixed the idea of a third child. But I always felt like there was a third one out there. I turned 35 this year and really put the idea of another baby to rest because I had always said I would be done by 35, you know because in the pregnancy world you are suddenly “old” (which sucks). Well, this past August I found myself pregnant by accident. It really threw me for a loop, but I was like “Here is that third one that I knew was out there”. Unfortunately, I miscarried. Because it was not planned, I have been struggling with whether or not to try again. My husband who had been against a third baby was VERY excited when we found out I was pregnant, and that confused me even more. But now he is leaning more towards not trying again, but can’t say no 100%. I am trying to figure out if I really do want that third baby. The miscarriage is still fresh emotionally, so it’s tough to figure out where my heart truly lies. But I feel a time crunch because I will be 36 in a few months. On the one hand, my boys are at such a good stage right now. They are independent, they SLEEP, no strollers, diapers, etc. And I worry about everything, so could I really handle another child? I worry about having another miscarriage or something being wrong with the baby. Maybe I really am too old now. Maybe the miscarriage was a sign that a third one is not meant to be (I am big on signs). But on the flip side, it’s what everyone else has been saying…will I regret NOT giving it a shot while we still can? It’s really tough and I don’t know how to make a decision. For now, we are just leaving it up to fate unless one of us finally makes up our mind.

  105. Go for it! And then move to California : )

  106. Funny you mention this. I have been thinking about it a lot! We have one 17 month old and I am the only child and want one more! I just don’t know when the right time will be with cost of childcare and insurance these days. My husband is oldest of three and he wants to stop at one! ha! I think 2 is a happy middle. but maybe with our first is a bit older.

  107. I agree with the previous commenter who asked you to write about how you decided the time was right for your first. Am at that point but taking the leap seems so scary!

  108. My husband and are in our 30’s and just celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Starting a family is now becoming a big discussion around our house. Both of us grew up as “mostly” only children (my little brother didn’t come into the picture until I was 15 but my husband is an only child). While both of us turned out relatively well adjusted for being only children (HA!) we both agree we want two. We want our children to have that experience. With that said…I’m pretty sure we will stop at two! Three seems like a lot of work! This coming from a woman with out children yet:) Good luck in making the decision that is right for your family! xo Kate http://www.365til30.com

  109. I’ve heard the advice: “Have one too many.” You’d never give one back — you love them all — but then you are never left wondering and definitely feel that your family is complete.

  110. So- we have two boys- 4 and 2. Some days I still feel overwhelmed and other days I can see the light at the end of all of the stress. I get these little tastes of freedom and I’m starting to feel like myself again. I love being pregnant but after my second I experienced some depression and I don’t know if I can do that again. On the other hand- I adore my boys and I don’t think I’d ever regret having one more- though I think I may regret not. Also, I’m older. Do I quit while I’m ahead and when the memory of pregnancy is still sweet. It gets harder with each baby, I’ve noticed. Plus- babies can put some strain on a marriage but man!- my babies are so yummy. Tough choices!

  111. SB says...

    I am one of three and think three is a great number – although sometimes I wish my parents had a fourth, because I’m the only girl in a family of two boys! But then again, I’m the baby, so I didn’t have to mess with middle child issues either… just youngest child issues! Since my dad was from a family of four and my mom from a family of 12 (!), three was a good compromise for them.

    It also amazes me that they were able to send us all to private school on one and a half military salaries, but having lots of cousins meant lots of hand-me-downs, and they made everything else work with budgeting!

  112. My third boy is 18 months old. He has been my angel baby. I have felt so relaxed with my third. The first two, I had the baby blues pretty bad. Also they were born in the winter months in MN – not ideal. But, the third was born in the Spring and I have felt more able this time to just accept everything. To let go of more things I can’t really control anyways. I was lonely growing up with just one other brother. He is so introverted, I was often playing alone. I hope with 3 boys, there will be lots of threesome times, pair times, and alone times for them. My elderly neighbor raised 5 children and still doesn’t know how she did it! But, she says she loves them all and wouldn’t give up any of them just for an easier life! It’s been sweet to see all 5 of them take turns taking care of their aging parents.

  113. We have two (4 and 18 months) kids and while my day to day life feels often overwhelming, loud, and exhausting (I’m always, always tired!), I look at their little unique faces and personalities and long for another. My husband gives me the same look when I mention it – totally overwhelmed. So we’re planning to wait another year or so, until the baby gets easier (potty trained, maybe?!) and then decide. If I can take a little break now, maybe I’ll have the energy to dive back into the craziness in a year or two? I’m 33 and hubby is 38.

  114. We’re in the same place with a 3 year old and a one year old boy. I’m on board with a third (I have had super easy pregnancies and births, although the first six months with a newborn are extraordinarily painful, in terms of sleep deprivation, etc.). My husband is less on board, although the other day he talked about fostering, so maybe he can be brought around. He is one of five, and I’m one of two, and a family of four seems so small in comparison. That said, some of his siblings have become estranged in recent years, or proved to be really difficult for the whole family to deal with, for a variety of reasons, so I’m also hesitant about more kids for this reason–just the inherent risk that’s always involved, even aside from just the health issues/risks.

  115. We have 3 boys (ages 7, 5, and 15 months) and we are most definitely done. Our third was a surprise and my pregnancy was emotionally very difficult as a result. We love him to pieces, of course, but for us the transition to three was much harder than it was to two. Our older two are involved with sports and other activities and it is a real juggling act trying to support them in those things while also managing a toddler. We are figuring it out and it has been wonderful watching our older two be such wonderful big brothers to our third. I have no desire for any more kids and my husband made sure we are done a few months ago. That has been such a huge relief to both of us. Our family definitely feels complete with three wonderful boys. Good luck with your decision!

  116. If it is logistics holding you back, you’ll figure it out. That’s the thing with changing routines and adding family members – the only option is to figure it out :) That’s where I am now. It took me 2 years and 4 months to even think about adding another child. I’m currently gearing up to *think about TTC come April/May 2015. Eeps! So soon, but I’m think I’m ready again. I’m ready for the “we’ll figure it out.” Good luck Joanna. I bet you’ll figure it out too :) Life is truly more fun with as many children and family under one roof as is possible.

  117. I had the same feelings as you, and my husband had the same feelings as Alex. Think of this: if you had another boy – what a fun family! Three wonderful, loving boys! Raised by a powerful female! But, if you had a little girl, BONUS! It would be so different and exciting. We had this analysis, in reverse, as we had 2 girls.

    I just gave birth to my son, and I no longer have that what-if feeling. I feel like this IS the family I’m supposed to have (as opposed to this MIGHT be all the family I am supposed to have.) And while I adore my girls, I am excited for the different experience that will come with a different gender.

    Most importantly, its an extra person for Toby and Anton to cherish as they grow old. And maybe a sweet baby girl for them to protect.

  118. Being pregnant and parenting little ones is so hard. I have an almost 2yr old and am pregnant again and it’s just the worst. But I try to think ahead to what I want my life to look like when I’m 50, 60, 70…I want to be surrounded in my old age. I figure that the more kids I have, the higher the chance that I’ll get lots of visitors in my nursing home :) I know I want 4, but only if they’re spread out 2-4 years each!

  119. My hubby and I have decided to try IVF again for another baby (we have one) I can’t believe I want to put myself through that emotional roller coaster again but if we can give our son a sibling it’s all worth it.

  120. Hi Joanna! What a thoughtful post. Those are terrific questions. I’m an only child who had her third baby a year ago – at 40! We had hoped for 3, didn’t think it would happen, and then it did and we were so happy. I remind myself of how happy we are when I’m up all night with the baby ;). I read somewhere that when making your decision you should consider life beyond the hard, early years…and think about how you would like your holiday table to look 20 years from now. That said, three is definitely a lot of work but we can’t imagine our family without the littlest one.

  121. My husband and I are gong through the same exact thing. We have 2 perfect boys – 3 and 8 months. Pregnancy/childbirth/nursing has brought out some serious anxiety in me that I don’t like. It just makes me uncomfortable. I’m ready to just get on with life, but I can’t imagine not having another sweet baby. My husband would be thrilled if I told him I was done, but I think if I wanted to I could talk him into three.

  122. My older sister is two years older than me and my younger sister is almost ten years younger. My mom asked my dad for years and years and years to have a third baby, and one year, he finally gave in. My mom likes to say that Anna, the youngest, was “knocking on her door” and was always meant to be with us. :)

  123. In my opinion I would say go for the third. I’ve never heard anyone say “Gosh sure wish we would have stopped with Suzy intend of having another” I think you’ll always wonder if you should have had another but you’ll never regret having a child.

    I think kids are such a blessing. Are they work? HECK YES! But Ive never gone to bed thinking they weren’t worth every ounce of energy or time I have.

    We want a big family (if you couldn’t gather that from the above :) ) We want 3 or 4 biological and adopt 1 or 2 – anywhere from 4-6 kids.

    Whatever you decide I am sure will be whats best for your family! Cant wait to hear once y’all have reached a decision!

  124. So this is a terrible reason, but our forever home that we bought last year has 4 bedrooms…so we’ve decided on having 2 so that they can each have their own room and we can still have an office/guest room. My husband is an only child (as are both of his parents), and he is emphatic that we must have more than one.

  125. My husband and I always wanted just two babies due to financial reasons. We have an amazing 2 year old son and i’m pregnant with twins! So 3 is our lucky number- we’re officially done after this though. :)))

  126. I am one of three and have three myself (ages 4, 2.5 and almost 1). I have to say that even though the third adds another “layer” of work, it is all totally worth it. There are crazy days for sure, but we have two older girls who completely adore their baby brother. I love listening in on the three of them making eachother laugh and taking care of one another. Each have different relationships – and even though they are young, their dynamics are apparent. I am also aware that the days where they are so sweet to eachother won’t be around forever (hello teenage years!) but they will always have eachother. Best of luck on whatever you decide – it will all work out.

  127. Obviously, I don’t have firsthand experience with this, but my mom once said that after she had my sister, she knew our family of four was complete.

    So like others have said, I think that once you know, you know…

  128. I think part of what you are feeling is your kids getting older and not wanting to give-up the baby stage. When my boys where that age I would have had another in a second. My husband was very happy with two. He told me I could have as many kids as I wanted but, “this daddy is done so you need to find another daddy.” Well, I was happy with the baby daddy that I had so we stayed with two boys. The thing is, now that they are 10 an 12, I am so happy with our family of 4. I know we would have been happy with 3 kids too, but the two boys seem just right. I also grew-up in a family with 3 kids (all girls). Anyway, I think both parents need to feel it. I love having my family of 4…just me and the boys. All the best in figuring it out.

  129. i feel kinda the same. we have 2, twins, that are almost 17 month, and they are perfect children and a part of me just cant stop thinking about having another. i keep thinking how less freaked out i would be now, and that it would a “normal” experience whatever that means. but then another part of me thinks that emotionally, financially and physically, we would be so taxed. not to mention another 2 years of basically not having control of my body – 1 year pregnancy, 1 year or so bfeeding. is not easy, but i also think of kids as a drug, so am not able to let go of the idea of the 3rd.

  130. My dear Joanna! I come from a family of three too (I’m the one in the middle) and I would really like to add another little person to my life (I have two girls, same ages as Toby and Anton). But I had a very bad childbirth with my little one (second cesarian section and bladder ruptured!!), so my doctor highly recommended to stop having babies. I felt very sad, although I think we would have stopped at two anyway, but it is not the same think to make our own choice and being forced by an incompetent gynecologist.
    Whatever you decide, it will be the right choice. Cheers! :)

  131. I have 3 boys, The 3rd one though us for a loop. The children out number the adults. Everything is harder from eating out to traveling, but we are glad we have all 3.

  132. Me and my partner fostered a baby girl from five days old to thirteen months old. The baby went to an aunt in another state. We are trying again, and honestly, one is more than fine. If the universe wills it to be we have more than one, so be it. All we want is a healthy, happy baby. We’re not really fixated on how many children. We know a lot of people in NYC, where we live, that don’t want any. Times are a changing.

  133. The husband and I each grew up in large families. I’m the 5th of 8. He’s the 8th of 9. Ya.
    We had 4 kids each 2 years apart and then I felt very, very done. The Husband would have loved 20 more kids!
    When my youngest was about 5 I suddenly wanted 2 more. Unfortunately it could no longer happen for us. My kids are now 17, 15, 13, and 11. I’ve come to love the time of life we’re all in, but man do I miss those 2 we didn’t have.
    As a side note, the 3rd baby is the hardest. You only have 2 arms and there are only 2 adults:) After that it’s cake! So go for 4!:)

  134. I always wanted at least two, maximum four (my parents are each 1 of 4, and my husband is 1 of four; I am 1 of 2). We’ve been trying for over six years. If we every have one, I will be thrilled, and I don’t know if we’d push for a sibling knowing how hard they are to achieve (but we’d probably never shut the door on any “surprises”, ever, or either, regardless of how actively we’re pursuing children).

    I have been watching my friends who have successfully had one, two, three, or more children over the past decade. I do think the world really works well for two, but I also see that parents of one can continue to keep some of the focus on themselves more easily, which is appealing (we love to travel…and sleep). But I also see siblings play together, and I so appreciated having my brother when I lost my dad twenty years ago. No one else gets me the way my sibling does. There are good things and bad things whenever you shut one door and open another, when the things behind the doors are so important.

    Wishing you luck in your decision! You make outstandingly cute kiddos, so you have that going for you, whether you end up with two or three in the end!

  135. I had a tough time w/PPD too, it escalated with my 2nd when she was 4 mos then when I quit nursing, I was a different kind of hot mess! I’m considering placenta encapsulation if we do have a third. It sounds super gross/hokey but that’s how I used to feel about amber necklaces until my child stopped drooling the moment I put one on her. Good luck!

  136. We have 3 fabulous sons. One of the deciding factors in going for the third child was the rather sad and dreaded thought that if something did happen to one of the siblings there wouldn’t be just one remaining, as experienced by my husband.

  137. We have three kids – the youngest is 6 months old and the eldest will be four in a couple of months. It’s intense but magical. I wanted four but we started a little late and I think three is all we can handle, especially since ours are so close in age. So we are definitely probably done! I think when you know you know. One day you’ll either both be ready to go for it, or you’ll both know that you’re content with your family the way it is. Good luck!!
    http://www.minipiccolini.com

  138. We have one now and are ready for the second. We’ve contemplated having two and adopting one OR having three and adopting one.

    When you said you just couldn’t get that third child out of your head, it reminded me of a friend of mine who struggled to get pregnant with her second. She just always had hope amidst their difficulty because she felt in her heart that their family was not complete. When their daughter was born, she said that feeling went away. They were complete.

    So, anyway, maybe if you are having a hard time getting a third out of your head and out of your heart, you and Alex should just talk through what that in and of itself means for your family.

    At the end of the day, I sometimes look at the difficulty and the sleeplessness that would accompany a new life, but a new life is such a miracle – a miracle all my own – that it makes it worthwhile to me.

  139. I have three now–our youngest little girl is almost 3 now, and about a year ago I was totally ready to have our for-sure last fourth baby. My husband was really against it; our family seemed really complete to him. But, the issue never really resolved and we left it dormant. THEN! Last week, I felt like I had some clarity and peace about being done having babies and started dreaming of our lives with older kids and a new career direction for me. When I told my husband, tears filled his eyes! what?! He was so tender about it, and affirmed my desires but so sweetly said that our family would love one more little baby. Now, I am back to knowing nothing! (BTW, my husband was a year behind your sister at Yale–we had our first baby, who is now 8, during his third year. Not a lot of med students having babies, so our little guy was completely doted on.)

    I have to say, having a third was completely a blast. All this experience with the first two has helped parenting a third be so rewarding. The pregnancy, labor, post-partum has all been so much easier. I kept feeling like, “Ah! This is how I thought it would be before I had the first one!” And, after two boys, a girl was soooooooo awesome!

  140. We have 3. Two boys (6 and 4) and a 13 month old girl.
    One of the very best advice I have ever heard came from one of the wisest and smartest man I have known. He had just come home from his father’s 85th birthday party. The father was surrounded by his wife, children, grand children and even great grandchildren. He spoke about how he had such a full, blessed life. One of the grandkids asked if he had any regrets in his 85 years. His response was so surprising. His only regret was that he did not have more children. He said having his kids was his greatest joy. He said to always have one more child than you planned. You will never regret it. That story struck me. It was so heartfelt and pure.
    While we are not sure about having more biological kids ( it takes me a solid 18 months to recover from childbirth) I want to keep my heart open to more…biological, adopted, foster… I just don’t want to regret it.

  141. I grew up with two sisters, and LOVED it, so I hope to have three kids someday as well. In my experience, there were times where maybe I felt a little left out, but mostly I appreciated having two very different siblings. They’re both younger, and I connect with each of them differently — similar to friendships, I view my sister-ships (ha) as relationships I rely on for different reasons. One sister makes me feel young and alive, and always has something interesting to say, and the other should really be *my* big sister instead of the other way around, because I can rely on her for advice. My opinion? If you’ve thinking about having a 3rd repeatedly, that probably means you should do it despite the what-ifs :)

  142. I love your honesty–it really allows for an open conversation about things on our minds. My husband has 2 children from a previous marriage and we entered our marriage agreeing that we would have 1 child only. t was a hard decision for me to make given you just don’t know what the future holds, or how you’ll feel in 1, 2, 3 + years. But we now have 1 daughter (who is now 13 months) and she truly rounded out our family. As she starts looking more like a toddler and less like a baby, I worry I’ll want another chubby,squishy one. But our life is complex enough, and i’m not sure we could or should keep adding to the insanity. Yes, kids are a blessing and a joy. But you gotta be honest about what you can handle. That shows real bravery. And I TOTALLY agree that a family of 4 is a ton easier than 5. Plane ticket prices! Room in the car! Reservations! Taxis! It’s a world built for 4. Good luck!

  143. I’m the third in a family of 4 girls and my husband is the youngest of 5. We currently have 5 children (10, 8, 5, 3, and 5 months). Is is hard? Absolutely. Is it wonderful? Absolutely. Can I understand why you would want to stop at 2? Absolutely. It’s toughest in the beginning when they require so much of you physically and when you have more children you can’t give them as much in way of material things (which is not necessarily a bad thing). If there’s one piece of advice I would give you–don’t make a big life-changing decision based on fear. Don’t make the decision NOT to have another child because you’re afraid of a lack of sleep, finances, etc. Don’t make the decision TO have another child because you’re afraid you’ll regret it if you don’t. Have another child if you feel your family is incomplete. If you feel that way–go for it.

  144. My Dad always said “You can’t base your life on a table for five.” He was a big proponent of just two kids for many reasons, including tables for 5 take longer to get than tables for 4. I know he wouldn’t trade my sister for anything! (I’m the oldest of 3!)

  145. I’m number four of five kids and have always loved being part of a big family. My husband comes from a family with four kids. We are close to having our first child, and it was somewhat of a roller coaster ride of a journey to finally conceiving and maintaining this pregnancy so we are happy and feel very blessed to even get the opportunity to raise a single child. However, we both loved having brothers and sisters and hope our little girl can have the same. We are hoping for 3-4 kids–ideally two girls and two boys but we’ll take what we can get!

    And don’t worry about the whole odd number meaning someone is always left out, you quickly learn to adjust and everyone learns how to share and compromise.

  146. We have two (10/boy and 5/girl.) My husband and I feel done. Besides, our only car, that we JUST purchased, only seats four. Another point, when our youngest turns 18, we’ll only be in our early forties. FREEDOM! (We hope!)

  147. We have 2 (3 and 1) and we were EXACTLY where you are, even in regards to the PPAnxiety.. Then this August *boop*! Baby number 3 on the way! Left up to us we would still be hem-hawing and debating. Either way your family will be complete.