It was just a few months ago that my husband and I announced the news that we were expecting our 5th child… we waited until we were around 16 – 17 weeks to make the announcement and we were ecstatic.
The reactions were were unbelievable ~
“Aren’t you done yet?”
“Was this planned?”
“Don’t you know that there are things that you can do to prevent this?”
“Oh you must be Catholic or Mormon”…
The list could go on – and for the next several months, the reactions and comments continued as I made trips into Costco with the kids to get things each month – especially when we were very close to the delivery date.
In fact, we just had baby 5 a few days ago and many of those comments are still going – from family and friends.
Thinking back to child 1, our experience from child 5 was entirely different – with the first, everyone was very excited – people jumped at the opportunity to help, in fact, after giving birth, there was an overwhelming amount of concern from people to find out how you (as the mom) were coping.
Fast forward to number 5 …. quite the opposite in fact. While we were excited, that excitement wasn’t shared by others… in fact, delivery day came and went and the calls and messages from people were almost non-existent. Except of course for family.
There are those who love large families – and those who opt for much smaller families. People are often quick to mention the costs of health care for a large family – perhaps, the financial stress of having many children – or even that our time together as a married couple will be even more limited.
Instead of looking at children as a blessing and contribution to society, people tend to see them as a burden – and if you look at the statistics on U.S. fertility rates you will see those low numbers reflected:
The latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics used the general fertility rate to show that U.S. fertility in 2013 was at an all-time low. For every 1,000 women of childbearing age – typically defined as ages 15 to 44 – there were 62.5 births. (Src)
In 1980, the total fertility rate in the U.S. was 1.84 – and the replacement fertility rate is 2.08. Alarming? For some it’s not – but for others, it shows that we have a low birth rate problem. Eventually, if those numbers remain similar, we will have a society with an average older age…
And although most of us with large families will admit that it’s not our goal to re-populate the entire earth, most of us share commonalities in our love for having a large family.
Why do we love having 5 kids? It’s easy honestly –
- Our kids always have buddies to play with – never a day that goes by that they aren’t entertained by each other.
- Our lives are never boring – each of our kids is so unique in the fact that they bring about an unbelievable amount of character to our day.
- Being a parent to 5 keeps you humble – it just does.
- Having many kids makes you want less stuff. At least for us it does. While some people may have less kids and a bigger house, fancier car or, more income to go on yearly trips, we certainly manage to remain content with the smaller house, older vehicles and local trips with our kids that cost next to nothing.
- Having a large family helps keep us busy – and makes us less selfish. It’s true – if we had less kids, we’d probably watch more TV, go out to eat more, and just waste more time doing things that are of little to no value. With kids, we are forced to think beyond ourselves.
Many people will throw comments on a large family by mentioning how it must be hard to give them our attention since there are so many ~ believe it or not, with each child that is added, the “pie” of attention is not split into another piece.
The opportunity to give attention increases exponentially – and for that reason, each of our kids gets ALL of the attention they need, every day, without hesitation.
We recently had baby 5, and it’s an unbelievable experience to see the 4 older children welcome another baby into the house. The love grows, and grows – ask my older children how many kids they would like to have when they get older and they will usually tell you “6”… or, “4”… never just “1”….. in fact, just last week after having baby 5, my 4 year old mentioned that we should have 26 babies.
Um… I’m not sure mom could handle 26 🙂 But it showed that he loves being in a large family where he has several siblings to play and take care of him.