Dh and I have 5 children. Our 4th is special needs with cerebral palsey. she requires a lot of work and attention. It’s almost like having more children, as she runs up our bills more than the other 4 put together, especially our health insurance.
But, we wish we could have more! There was a time in our grandparents and great grandparents times when 4 to 6 children were the norm and families of 2 or 1 were not.
I had heard and read several places and have found it to be true. Costs from one child to two children may double, but then it does not increase severely after that. Three children seems to be the hardest for most families to handle, even though at the time one or two seemed so hard. Once you hit three, you are out-numbered. After that, the older children are more independent and able to do a lot on their own. They can also help with younger children, and it only gets easier! My house is actually cleaner now, than when we were a newlywed couple, and especially cleaner than when we had one or two kids! My kids are expected to help in the house work, and I rarely mop or sweep my floors, they keep their rooms clean, and we all help with the laundry, dinner, and other meals.
I have used cloth diapers for nearly 10 years, and have always washed them myself. These have saved us thousands. On vacations (yes, we can still afford them), we use disposables. You learn to simplify life to afford children. It all depends on what you are willing to give up. We gave up going out to movies two years ago, bougth a large, widescreen, HD tv for our family room and wait for the movies to come out on DVD, or to cable. Then we pop our own pop corn (air popped, less salt, better for you), and whatever other snacks we want. We watch American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and other fun shows on this TV as a family, and have saved so much time and money. This was a HUGE cut in our finances, as we used to see movies with our kids at least once to three times a week! And buy snacks! We would go to the drive-in during summers, but not everyone has one by them. We’ve cut that out, now, too, as the comfort issue with a special needs toddler, and an infant crawling all over us.
We learned smart grocery shopping (generics, Aldi, cheap stores, shopping sales, planning the menu, not eating out!), we are sticking to a budget, and following Dave Ramsey.
We wish we could have more, but do not regret the ones we have at all! In fact, older couples walk up to me all the time and comment that it is so nice to see a large family (yes, I often take my kids everywhere, even to the grocery store). They often comment that no one ever says, “I wish I didn’t have this many kids”, but some do say, I wish I had had more or I wish I had had more time to have more”.
I am 37. I had my first at 28, my last at 36… I am heart broken not to have more, but I have a hard time through the pregnancies. We are highly considering adopting or, more likely, foster care (to spread more love and joy to children who need it).
As far as finances, God finds a way if you follow him, and you learn to manage. Mainly because, once you have that child, you don’t have much choice, in all honesty, so you make due and it all works out. WE have found we enjoy staying home, more and more, and hanging out as a family. We used to eat out at least twice a week, which stopped well over a year ago. Now, we MIGHT get take out once a month, maybe! And have gone out for lunch once or twice this past year, while the kids were in school, usually take out, as well.
It all boils down to priorities and where you see yourself in a couple of years. You can easily space it out, as well. You are soooo very young on the child bearing scale, for today’s times! Seriously!
As far as your husband… my dh and I are 37 with our 5 and still loving it. My dad started late for his time. He was 30 when he started children in the 1960/70′s. Most started way before that. He was able to keep up with us, enjoy us, and have a great time. Plus, now my sister and I started later with our kids, yet he still manages to enjoy them, keep up with them, and love it, but he gets to send them home, too!!!! He is nearly 70 and enjoying it big time!
Children and marriage keep you young, it’s medically and scientifically proven! The more kids you have, as a woman, the healthier you are later in life, honestly! The majic number surprisingly is 5. After giving birth and breast feeding 5 choildren, the percentages and odds for so many cancers and reproductive diseases goes down to nearly nil. Yet, very few doctors will tell their patients, because no one has that many kids now a days nor wants to (so not true). I’d rather have 5 kids, than have to take meds later in life, or develope cancer or what have you. ANd I know it’s a low risk, but I like making my odds even lower! And passing those low odds on to my many children!
Babbling! I’m sorry! I guess I’m really passionate about having a family.
Spacing is also a fun thing. I ran into a woman at the mall once who admired my family and I started to admire her young infant. We talked and found out she had three sets of two, enjoying being a mom for awhile, then having more. She had two teens, to gradeschoolers, and two in diapers. Since then, I have seen other similar families. It’s a clever way to handle it all and have all you want! I knew a girl from my high school who had two an when they were tweens, she had two more and had a blast with each set, yet time to have a career and build a future, then have children and stay home again.
Pray and ask God what is right. We actually felt we’d have two or three. AFter the 2nd was born, I had this strong need –almost a calling– for a 3rd, then I was fine with stopping. After the 3rd, we planned on stopping, but then when she was born, we were having so much fun being parents and all the different personalities, we figured why not just let what happens, happen? “leave it up to God?!” So, here we are… And wishing we could have so many more, and had started earlier when we first got married, at 23!
Anyhow, that’s so much more than my .02 cents worth, but I’ve had my say, and I’ll step off my soap box! Pray, you’ll find the answer right for you. But, you’ll never regret having more, if it’s in your heart, I guarantee it, I know many women who are heart breaking over having only one or two and missing those days… I’m pretty okay with the next stage in my life of raising them all and looking after my special needs daughter. I can’t wait to start on this new adventure!
Babbling, yet, again! God Bless, best wishes, and enjoy the little ones!