26 July 2005

Family Size

I've been following some comments over at M* about the decline in Utah's fertility rate. It's altogether too easy to come up with pat answers to why this is the case- Matt Evans is doing an excellent job at coming up with these types of answers.

I honestly can't think of any women I've known who have chosen to have less than 8 or 10 children who have made the decision purely out of selfishness. Julie came up with 5 different reasons why a couple might not have more children or might choose to have fewer children overall. I'd add two more from women I've known personally- the wife doesn't want any more or she feels like she emotionally can't handle them.

According to Matt, my family is selfish. We're skipping of to travel for a year instead of having more children. In fact, we've been deliberately not adding to our family for the past two years. We couldn't have more children for the two years before that. And now our youngest be at least six (and quite possibly older still) before we have another child, if we are able to. We have our reasons for waiting and I am perfectly comfortable with them. While I don't feel like I've been personally judged very often, it always bugs me a bit when I hear people make categorical statements like Matt's.

Certainly there are better reasons that others to limit your family size. Fear can play a big part, and it's not good to make decision based on fear. But I prefer to think people know what they're doing, and that it's none of my business. The only people that I know well enough to judge are my husband and me.

And you can't really whine at me about poaching because no one's going to come here to continue the discussion and leave M*.

4 comments:

  1. Well said, Amira. I found a lot of that discussion disturbing and even offensive.

    There are any number of reasons that account for smaller families. Whether it's medical issues, infertility, or simply knowing your own limits, I'm not going to judge someone else. These things are none of my business.

    On the other side, I hate the idea of trying to defend our small family. I don't want to lay out the details of my life to satisfy someone else's curiousity.

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  2. Er, make that curiosity.

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  3. It's not the number of children you have that determines whether or not you get into the celestial kingdom. I'd like to really convince my in-laws of that. Thankfully, they quit bugging me about having kids after I had my first. Heaven knows what they'd do if they had a daughter-in-law who couldn't have children at all.

    We really ought to stop judging others by the number of children they do or don't have.

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  4. In my neighborhood, lower middle class, everybody is so poor I've never heard anybody criticized for having a lot of kids or less kids. It doesn't seem to be an issue anybody thinks about.

    I just have so much admiration for anybody who chooses to go through hard labor the second time, let alone ten times.

    My husband's mother had three kids, his sisters each had two children, when I wanted a baby with him (he'd had two children with each of his two former wives), his family really came down hard on me. They totally disapproved. I stuck to my guns, we had one child, we were older, and didn't have others. But my husband has five children. His family thinks he's sort of a peasant.

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