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Health & Parenting

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How Many Kids Should You Have?

WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Lambeth Hochwald
Redbook Magazine Logo
Sometimes you build your family by choice, and sometimes by chance. These eight couples share the stories of how 1, 2, 6...even the just-right number of children.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of having a big family. I was close to my older brother and parents, and I always figured that more brothers and sisters would simply mean more people to love. From the Waltons to the Duggars (and yes, Octomom and her multiple multiples), big families have always had a powerful hold on the American imagination. And once I got married, my own dream of having a big brood lived on, despite my struggle with infertility. When I finally got pregnant, I remained optimistic that my son, Zachary, now 5, would one day have many siblings to play with. But while I was planning for more babies, my body seemed to have something else in store: Soon after I gave birth to Zachary, I learned that I carry a genetic mutation that increases my risk for breast and ovarian cancer; my doctors recommended that I have my ovaries and tubes removed right away. I no longer had a choice in how big my biological family would be.

And in fact, despite all the recent advances in birth control and fertility treatments and reproductive technologies, many of us don't get that choice. Yet giving up the dream of the family you couldn't have can open you up to the unique wonder of the one you've built. "We're a triangle, Mommy," my son says constantly. And if one day my husband and I wake up wanting another child to love, we'll become a square — once we figure out the best way to make that happen. Here, eight women share how they planned and prayed and stumbled their way into the family they love.

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