When you're pregnant you get asked all kinds of questions. I don't mind. People are curious and questions make for easy small talk. One of those questions usually goes something like this, "Do you think you'll have more after this?".
I usually answer with, "I'd like to have four children, but we'll have to see how it goes!". M and I are high school sweethearts who dated for 6 years before we married, so conversations about family and the future happened pretty early and pretty often. I've always wanted a big family. M was never sold on the idea, but wasn't totally against it either. So when I answer "four" when asked how many we'd like to have, I suppose if I were to be a little more clear, I'd have to say that M and I aren't fully on the same page.
We both view children as an amazing blessing. M tends to think about the logical facts of having a family and I tend to think about it from a spiritual/emotional point of view. He tends to think about having enough money for college. He doesn't want to have such a big family that we never have money to experience things like travel as a family or to provide enough for each child's needs. He thinks we should wait to have more children after this one because he'd like to have time to enjoy the boys and have some adventures with them before another newborn comes along. He worries that if we have "too many" that we won't be able to meet their emotional needs or spend quality time with each one.
Me, on the other hand? I tend not to worry about college because I know that we're making smart decisions now to be prepared for that time in our kids' lives. I agree that I'd like to us to experience things as a family and travel, but think that it has a lot to do with financial priorities and planning. Part of me wants to wait awhile between #2 and #3 for the same reasons he does, and also to give my body a chance to get back to normal and a bit more fit and healthy. The other part of me wants to have our children close together so we aren't "newborn newbies" every few years. I want a big family to enjoy through each stage and love the thought of tons of children and spouses and grand kids running around. I feel that there will always be love to go around, even with a big family, and that intentionality is key in connecting with your children, no matter how many.
I think at the end of the day, several things could happen. We could plan (we use natural family planning) and space out according to how we feel as we progress in parenthood. Or we could plan all we want to and God choose to bless us with new life outside of our particular plans, and for that we would be happy.
I always feel a little off when I give the specific answer of "four" because I truly don't know for sure and it feels more like I'm answering "How many pets do you want?" than answering about the amazing privilege of parenthood. I think because M and I have some different feelings on the matter, we'll have to wait and see what we're both feeling when the time comes, and I'm okay with that. I also think that ultimately God has planned a specific family for everyone. He knows best and I want to be in tune with His heart along the journey, even when it comes to family size.
What about you? Kids or no kids, have you thought about family size?
What are some things you've considered when thinking about it?
I'm linking up again today with the Mamas Tell All link-up party going on over at Everyday Thoughts. The hosts, Brittany from Everday Thoughts, Christine from The So-Called Homemaker, and Ashley at That Southern Mama came up with a great lists of topics that have to do with the crazy job of being a mama! They're sharing their methods and inviting other mamas to do the same! Head on over there and check out how other people feel about family size!