how many?

How many kids do I want? This question is in me all the time. I lull it over at least once a day.

When Chad and I got married we thought four was the magic number. He comes from family of four. Boy, girl, boy, girl in perfect staggered order. Holidays and vacations with his family are a blast. Each child is different but alike. Music fills the house at each gathering. Piano, guitar, harmonica, mandolin. Hymns, Johnny Cash, Counting Crows, Dixie Chicks, carols. We eat macaroni, ice cream, pepsi, coke, popcorn, and big meals together.

The harmony of Chad’s siblings makes me want to have a large family of my own. I recently watched The Family Stone. While the plot left me discontent, I enjoyed seeing the dynamics of a large family. Watching the mom cherish each child put a fire in me to have a lot of kids of my own.

The idea of having a family like that in the long term is so appealing. In the meantime I’m not sure how many I can handle. When I think of the pregnancies, the births, breastfeeding, diapers, sleepless nights, car seats, bags of groceries, years of schooling, laundry and 1000 other things having to do with raising a family, I’m unsure of my capabilities. Could I raise 4 kids? Could I do it well?

After I had Melody I was riddled with self-doubt and disbelief. I had wanted to become a mother more than anything in the world, and it was kicking my butt! I did not think I could/would have another baby until she was seven months old. Those first months were harder than I can even remember. I was in a daze most of the time.

I am starting to think the answer to my question might be a one-at-a-time type of thing. When giving birth I have to focus on one contraction at a time. If I think about more I start to loose my mind. When I was approaching transition in Melody’s birth, I looked up at Chad and with panic in my voice said, “How am I going to have the 3rd baby?!” He kindly reminded me to try to focus on the contraction at hand, and nothing more. (He was prepared for me to freak out about more contractions, but not about more births!) He was right. When I focused on the contraction at hand, I could do it. It was horrible, but doable. Maybe the trick with the “How many kids do I want?” question is the same answer. One at a time, baby.


cjoy said...

I hear you, loud and clear.

Laurel said...

I could have written this post almost word for word. I think of this question every time I see another family, whether big or small. We too wanted 4 kids ... before we started having kids. The IDEA of a big family is nice but the logistics scare me.

One at a time sounds like good advice to me!

Rose said...

I used to think 4 kids would be a good number for me but after having one I know it ain't gonna happen. Like Laurel, the IDEA of a big family seems nice. But it is not reasonable for us and my health concerns and the fact that I am already in my mid-thirties. I will be glad if we can have another one and that would be it.

dominique said...

Hey Bekah,

I couldn't resist putting my two cents in this one. I'm the youngest of four and one of my favorite things to say to my parents is: "I'm so glad you decided to have four kids". It's mostly a joke but there's a little bit of seriousness in there too.

I love your thoughts here. It always makes me smile when I hear people appreciate big families. Even if you have the two you have now and no more, your love for family is wonderful. And I think not knowing something is often part of the fun/excitement.

bekah said...

Thanks for the sweet thoughts, Dominique. :) It's good to hear from you.

Shannon said...


I just discovered your blog and read your birth story about Melody today! I really enjoyed it.

My husband comes from a family of 7 kids (that makes 9 with his parents!) and I felt the way you describe (about Chad's family) when I met my husband's family. It made my home with only one sibling seem lonely because their home seemed utterly full of life and fun harmony. And it planted the seed of a desire for a large family in me!

Now sometimes with just one 22mo old girl, I think, Oh, am I cut out for having a large family? Could I even do it? And I end up concluding what you said: "just one at a time. That's all I have to think about."

But if I could somehow, many years from now, end up with 7 kids and have survived it all with a loving, joyful household, I know I would be in awe and amazement thinking, "this was worth it!" As you put it, "the idea of having a family like that in the long term is so appealing."

It's imagining it in the day-to-day struggles that sounds overwhelming and impossible.

Anyway, I enjoyed finding your blog!