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How Many Kids Should You Have?

A BIG BROOD

"No one believed me when I said I wanted six kids!"
Lisa and Pete Fuqua, San Jose, CA

Lisa's story: From the day I married Pete, we talked about having a lot of kids, and six just felt like the right number for us. Pete is one of six, and I'm one of three, and we both wanted to have a big, fun family where the kids take care of one another — not just now but when they're older. When people ask me how I do it, I always say that they didn't all arrive at once. But each time I had a baby, I'd see a pregnant woman and feel like I needed another. Before long, we had four girls. When I had Joe, my fifth child, people automatically thought our family would be complete because I finally had a boy. But we still wanted one more. We never found out the sex of any of our kids before they were born — it truly was always about just having a baby, and we didn't really care what we got. After Joe, I had two miscarriages, which only intensified my longing for one more child. But now that we have six kids, we're officially done.

A family as large as ours does have to make sacrifices, such as limiting extracurricular activities because scheduling is such a challenge for us. For example, right now, all the girls play softball, but Maria would rather do gymnastics. Unfortunately, it's physically impossible to shuttle all the kids to different activities, so she's stuck playing softball. But there are also tons of benefits to having so many kids. It's great that they play together all the time, so I don't have to spend hours scheduling and shuttling them to and from playdates.

Sometimes people ask me annoying questions, like "How can you afford to have all these kids?" Our response is always the same: "How can you afford not to?" Having a big family gives us a feeling of togetherness like no other. Every night, the kids pile into Pete's and my bed and we all snuggle together, watch a TV show or movie, or talk about the day. There is truly nothing better than that at the end of a long day.

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