Sunday, November 8, 2009

Three's a Crowd?

I was having lunch recently with a friend who is pregnant with her second child.  She has just entered the third trimester and we were talking about all of the discomforts that come along with it, at which point she commented, "Well, at least I know that this will be my last pregnancy!"  And that got me thinking about how many of my friends seem to stop at two kids and, contrastingly, to my own thoughts of three - or perhaps even more.

Among my friends in New York and the Bay Area, having two children is often an issue of space - it's easy to imagine having two children share a bedroom, but three or more would turn cozy into cramped.  And then there are the environmental arguments: on a crowded planet, do we have the right to do anything other than replace ourselves?  Economic considerations loom too: with the cost of raising one child getting prohibitively expensive, it's hard to fathom the cost of bringing up a larger brood.  (It's interesting, of course, that birth rates tend to be higher in poorer countries.)  And then there is the issue of sanity and a desire to reclaim it sooner rather than later.

Despite all of these perfectly compelling arguments, I still default to the idea of having three kids.  And on those days when naps are taken and giggles outnumber tantrums, I sometimes think about more.  Husband and I both come from families with three kids and so that part of all of us that seeks to replicate our own experience for our kids pushes us toward having a bigger family. 

But at what cost, I have to wonder, for us as individuals and as a couple, and for the two we already have?  More kids, more problems?  Or more kids, more love, more joy, more magic?

What's your magic number?  How did you arrive at it?

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