How Many Kids Should You Have?
By Lambeth Hochwald
Sometimes you build your family by choice, and sometimes by chance. These
eight couples share the stories of how 1, 2, 6...even 12...is 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.