Thursday, February 9, 2012

How did you get that size?

Welcome to the first Family Size Blog Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the Family Size Blog Carnival hosted by Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling and Patti at Jazzy Mama. Today our participants share their decisions on family size and whether or not to grow their families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Most (3 out of 4) of my family growth spurts were... by chance? I wouldn't call them "accidents." I got knocked up at 16 years old. I gave her up (to my mother) within the first year.

Sharing a Bite17yo me, sharing a bite with my firstborn

I later married. I had been married for 5 years when we conceived "Daddy's little booboo." He loved to say that "I was pokin' fun. I didn't know she was gonna take me seriously!" And then there was "You practice long enough, eventually you're bound to get it right!" I'd had baby fever for awhile, so I was thrilled to be pregnant, even though it was unplanned. Though to the bitter end, my ex-husband insisted I got pregnant on purpose. Not true.

Second Child25yo me, with my second child

I continued to have baby fever through our daughter's infancy. I did eventually get pregnant again, but by then we were not wanting another child. My ex-husband totally supported my choice to terminate the pregnancy.

Fast forward several years. I left that family setting and started dating my current husband. We also accidentally conceived a child. My then-boyfriend refused to argue one way or the other regarding termination vs. keeping the baby, insisting it was my choice. I was very torn and we were pretty new into our relationship.

I weighed pros and cons for days, but I kept coming back to the same issue. I felt like I wanted to have this baby. Shortly after deciding to keep that child, I had a threatened miscarriage. She made it, though, and was a very healthy baby girl! We got married when I was 8 months pregnant. Still, I was in my mid-thirties and pregnancy had been a lot harder on my now-older body. We decided we were done. Permanent birth control alluded us temporarily, though.

Tyler holding newborn SashaMy 2nd & 3rd Children
Tyler & Sasha

After about a year, though, we agreed... we wanted to try for one more baby. He had always wanted a son and we both wanted our daughter to have a sibling close to her age. We were thrilled to welcome our son in December 2011!

Sasha loves SpencerMy 3rd & 4th Children
Big Sister Sasha loves Baby Brother Spencer

During our pregnancy, we finally did take permanent measures to ensure that our family size would not change again. I'm nearing the big 4-0 and just don't think I should be enduring any more pregnancies. I'm a bit sad about it since I love the process, including birth. But neither of us wants one more baby in the mix. We have our hands full with a 13yo, 2yo and a newborn! That said, we haven't gotten our "all clear" test after his vasectomy yet... so one more isn't impossible.

I'm liking this size family. Previously I'd only dealt with my kids in an only-child sort of arrangement. We have an older child to help with the toddler on occasion. (They especially love doing baths.) And it is sweet to see the toddler love on the newborn. And the newborn... ah, if only I could have newborn after newborn! It is such a sweet phase.

If, however, we happen to wind up with one more before his vasectomy "takes," we know we'd love that child, too. I just think my body wouldn't like to be pregnant again without a break first! A woman needs a chance to heal... especially a woman my age.

What size is your family? Why?


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Visit City Kids Homeschooling and Jazzy Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Family Size Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants below:

  • The Perfect Family The family at Living Peacefully With Children isn't perfect, but the size is just right for them...at least for now.
  • Family Size Carnival Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses how she loves the extremes of being happily child-free for life to being a mom of several. And on knowing when her family is just the right size.
  • Is Adoption for Me? Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares why she would consider adoption as the socially responsible way to have a large family.
  • Getting Used to Having Kids Lauren at Hobo Mama went from "probably one, maybe two" to wanting a handful, but not without some major struggles and soul searching along the way.
  • Magic Number For a while, Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales has wondered what the magic number will be for their family, but now thinks she's finally settled on an answer.
  • How Did You Get That Size Jorje explains how she "chose" her family size and why they aren't planning to grow again on Momma Jorje.com.
  • Family Size On A Per Kid Basis Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how plans change as families grow.
  • More Babies: How, When, Why Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about when, how, and why she might get a sibling.
  • Family Size Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she has no idea what size her family will end up being; though she used to be sure, a few factors have recently come up to change everything.
  • Thy Will Be Done CatholicMommy hasn't decided how many children she'll have. And she never will. Because, you know, she's Catholic.
  • Sanity and Health Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about sanity and health considerations when deciding on her family's size.
  • Love Comes In All Sizes Melissa at White Noise and Mothers of Change shares her family's journey to becoming a family of six!
  • Family Size Liz at Homeschooling in Buffalo discusses how this carnival occurs less than two weeks after "closing up shop" by way of vasectomy.
  • Family Size Blog Carnival Billy, a single mother by choice, writes about the size of her family at My Pathway to Motherhood.
  • Creating Your Perfect Family Size Dr. Alan Singer shares insights from his new book, Creating Your Perfect Family Size.
  • Our Family Size You might not be surprised to learn that Patti at Jazzy Mama can't find any reasons NOT to have more babies.
  • Economics of Family Size Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling uses an economic cost-benefit analysis to determine her family's optimal size.

18 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I don't think I should burden you here with the story of why I have 5 kids. Perhaps I will take your question as a nudge to write a blog post of my own so that you can choose how much you want to try to digest! :D

    You've got beautiful kids, and a fascinating story to go with them. Well done, Mama.

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    1. Thank you. Please feel free to write all you want here in my comments (I am known for leaving long comments). I'm glad if this carnival inspired your own blog post, though!

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  2. Thank you so much for participating in this blog carnival! I loved reading your story and seeing the pictures of your beautiful family. And congratulations on the recent arrival of your littlest one!

    Thanks again for sharing!

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling
    http://cityhomeschooling.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank YOU! Especially for hosting a new and interesting carnival! I look forward to seeing what you do with the topic in coming months.

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  3. I love the pictures of the big sisters snuggling the newborns. Too precious.

    You raise an interesting point about parenting one child at a time versus parenting a family of close siblings. I have often considered whether or not it has benefited my children to be close in age. Myself, I grew up with siblings 6yrs older and 4 years younger and none of us have ever enjoyed a close relationship. On the other hand, we weren't doing things on top of each other, either! Now, with 4 kids aged 7 and under, I still don't know which way is best, and I guess it doesn't matter as long as they are all loved.

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    1. In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips. :-)

      My teen was raised (through her young years, anyway) as an only child. I feel like I've nearly started with a fresh slate with the younger kids, except they have Tyler to idolize.

      I had step siblings (since birth, basically) 3 years in both directions. We were close when we were young, but not in adulthood at all. My blood brother is 7 years older than me and we've never been close.

      I guess with a large enough gap, a kid doesn't have tagalong siblings. I don't know, I'm sure there are lots of reasons to have them close together as well as reasons to have them spaced further. I don't know that I would have planned to have mine this way, but I'm happy with what I've got. :-)

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  4. Aaaw, the newborn phase is just perfect isn't it? I mean, except with the no-sleep ;)

    I like your attitude of what life may bring you will accept, thats my thought process too :)

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    1. My newborn sleeps better than my toddler!!

      And thank you! You gotta take what life throws at ya anyhow, right? What else are you gonna do? :-D

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  5. Very interesting story Jorje! Your kiddos are beautiful! If you don't mind me asking, does your first daughter know you are her mother? I know a few women who have done the same thing and their experiences differ, some are close with their biological mother and others are more like sisters. I find all this very fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you! My oldest was told our story when she was about 5yo - but without identifying any of the characters (including her own). When the story was over, my mother (telling the story) asked who she thought that little girl was. Being a very clever girl, she knew.

      I totally agreed with my mother that it was important to tell her at a young age. I've had friends that found out as adults that their sibling was really their mother. They've been pretty jacked up about it. I can understand where a person might feel horrible about sibling behavior toward their mother!

      My firstborn and I had moments when we were close, but generally we have not been. When she was very young (elementary age), she seemed to idolize me.

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  6. Such a beautiful family. :) You have an awesome attitude Jorje - and absolutely adorable little ones!

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  7. What a loving family for those kids! Well done! :-)

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  8. I think your story is fascinating, Jorje. I've always thought so. This is silly, but Sam & I always assumed we'd have a "whoops" baby, seeing as we were married nine years before our first was born. But our birth control was too darn good, lol. I always knew it was possible, though, and we were willing to take what we got. We almost thought we might have a fertility problem, because how on earth had we avoided getting pregnant all those years? Ha ha.

    It's so interesting to think about the spacing of your kids, too, and how now the last two will have a sibling close in age. My little "whoops" brother was born when I was 9, so it definitely was like another sibling set. I was his resident babysitter and doted on him.

    I'm glad Spencer and Sasha are getting along so well! I've always enjoyed seeing Tyler with Sasha.

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  9. I agree with Lauren, Jorje! Your story is fascinating. I had an oops baby too... Best surprises ever!

    Love the photos! =) Beautiful family.

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  10. What an interesting story!
    Love the pictures :-).

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  11. My family size is not by choice at all - I have endometriosis and it took five years and IVF to have our daughter. We'd love for her to have siblings, but since I'm still nursing her at age 15 months, I don't want to wean in order to use the powerful fertility drugs I'd need for IVF. I enjoy nursing her, she loves it and all the yummy breastfeeding hormones are keeping the endometriosis in check, so I'm healthier than ever. A 'freebie' (non-IVF baby) would be great but given my medical history, I can't count on a freebie. Our family size depends on the endometriosis and our bank balance to see if we can afford another round of IVF.

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    1. That is a wonderful choice you're making for your daughter. I wish you peace regarding weaning as I know it can be a heart breaker no matter who leads that march.

      How many children do you hope to have? I hope you're able to reach your dreams in that regard. Are you familiar with Up, Down & Natural? She actually posted an IVF post just today.

      I've had others close to me deal with IVF, too. I can only imagine the long road and how hopeless it can seem at times. Congratulations on your daughter!

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