Saturday, May 29, 2010

When did 2 mean perfect?

This little rant has been preying on my mind for a few months now. Because my daughter was born prematurely we were automatically entitled to a visit from the public health nurse. It was alright, though a little useless to me as she was my 3rd child and a month old when she came home. What irked me was the phone call I got the next day. Her supervisor noticed that I'd been pregnant 6 times and did I need any help with birth control? Excuse me? I don't know if she noticed that while I'd been pregnant 6 times, I'd lost 3 babies to miscarriage. All pregnancies were planned. All children were wanted and all lost babies were mourned. So no, I didn't need any help with birth control.
My husband and I always wanted a big family. We knew we wanted at least 3 and probably 4 children. We certainly didn't anticipate miscarriage(s) along the way. We also didn't anticipate the health risk that this last pregnancy posed to me in the end.
What I did become aware of before and since having my 3rd baby was the surprise that we wanted more than 2. And odd thoughts came into my head. Was I being greedy having 3. Socially irresponsible? Unreasonable? Wait a minute, since when did 2 become the magic number? Isn't that what our society like? 2 kids, preferably a boy and a girl. I got that comment a lot too, "pregnant again, going for the girl are you?" Honestly, we would have been just fine having a 3rd boy.
It's true though, having more than 2 you get a few looks. We were out at the store without our oldest the other day (he was at school) and someone actually said to us, "Hit the golden jackpot did you, a boy and a girl", you should have seen the surprise when I told her that our other son was at school.
I don't know why our culture feels this way? Why shouldn't a happily married, socially responsible couple have more than 2 children? You know that for the first time ever our country is facing an upside down population, where the retired age is outnumbering any other age? We have a declining birthrate for the first time ever. It's funny isn't it? We have less marriage, increased birth control, increased abortion, increased number of children in a 1 parent household, increased children being raised by grandparent. What does that say about our view of family? Maybe it isn't so odd that I would be asked about birth control? Maybe the public health system doesn't see a lot of happily married couples raising their kids and taking responsibility for them? I don't know.


  1. Why can't people keep their ignorant questions to themselves? I have the opposite (but same) problem! I have only one kid, so people--including complete strangers--will ask when we're going to have another! Let's do some math here...I'm almost 45, my husband is about, NEVER?

  2. That phone call would have hit my nerves to, I hope you said something to her.

  3. Oh man...this hits a nerve with me too. We had a boy and a girl and when I got pregnant with our third, people did not understand *why* I would do that when I clearly already had "the perfect family". How about *my husband and I* are the ones who decide when our family is complete? Thankyouverymuch.

    I cannot BELIEVE you got that phonecall! That's terrible.

    I don't know why large families are so frowned upon (and by "large" I'm using everyone else's definition of more than two). We will most likely have four, and I assure you every single one of those "many" children will be loved with all of my heart.

    Our culture *definitely* has a warped sense of family. No doubts about that!

  4. Its the economics of raising a large family. Do you want your children to participate in sports outside of school or music lessons or go to college? Its dollars and sense.

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  6. As a mom of 6 kids I can definately relate to the rude comments (#3,#4 and #5 were the ones with the most comments--I'm just weird now and immune to comments ;) and I agree that our culture has some pretty warped ideas about family/children. When I had my 2nd baby (and 2nd girl) I was stunned when someone said, "Oh, I'm so sorry you had another girl." !?!?!? There IS no polite response to that.

    As far as the dollars and sense argument goes, I'm not sure I agree with the above comment. Every family large or small must make financial priorities and decisions. Our family has made the choice to forgo some items and we are also able to make the choice to participate in extra-curricular activities (which have included both sports and music lessons). As far as college and university...I'm pretty much a fan of kids paying their own way through post-secondary education. It worked for me :)




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