I recently saw a picture of a family with 4 children. That was the composition of my family growing up: 2 parents + 4 kids. For the longest time, I imagined that I would have at least 4 children, if not 5. Then shortly after marriage, I changed my mind about children and decided that I wanted to live happily childfree. Then after 5 years of marriage, we explored the possibility of building our family through adoption but that door shut. We finally came around to building our family “the old fashioned way” and experienced some set-backs and a devastating miscarriage. Today, we have a 4 month old daughter via birth (ouch!!) and are very glad for her. But seeing that we are 31 & 35 yrs old and having our first child, the likelihood that we will have 4-5 children is very slim.
When I saw the photo of the family of 6, my heart smiled. That was my childhood. I had a good life. Part of me started to picture the possibility of having 4 children again. But soon afterwards, reality hit. Factors such as age, time, money, health and ultimately, preference came to the surface. We won’t be having a large family. And you know what — that’s OK. Really. There’s pros and cons to small or large families.
If we are lucky to have another, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be 2 and done (unless we are surprised by twins, oh my!). I was thinking the other day that if our daughter has a sister that will be perfect. Or if she has a brother, that will be perfect. This gave me peace that 2 and done seems right for our family. (I say all this knowing that it’s never a guarantee that we’ll be able to have another. Secondary infertility is quite common).
Having one or two children is not what I always pictured re: family size. Maybe we tend to picture what we knew, what we experienced. Regardless, people have more or less children than what they grew up with all the time. Sometimes this is due to personal preference. Sometimes it’s due to timing. And sadly, sometimes people don’t end up with the family size they always dreamed of due to fertility problems.
I’m embracing our reality of being a small family. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for large families. But I no longer feel that’s for me. One or two kids sounds great. Not what I originally pictured but just fine with me.
What about you? Is your family size larger or smaller than what you thought it would be?