Is the Big Family Dwindling?

Posted 11-9-2012 at 09:49 AM by Krista

I come from a fairy big extended family. On my mother’s side, she is one of three children (as is her mother) and on my father’s side, he is one of six. My parents, primarily for financial reasons, only had two children. Oddly enough, out of six children my dad and aunt were the only ones to have children, so my grandmother has three grandchildren.

After I called her to tell her I was pregnant with our second child, she remarked mildly, “I guess you know what causes that, huh.”

On our last visit I asked her what she wanted for Christmas.

“I don’t know,” she said. “What do you want for Christmas?”

“Another baby,” I replied, smiling.

“Now why would you want that?” she asked, seeming partly rebuking, partly mystified.

Her attitude surprises me. Thus far, I have two children to her six. Why would she be surprised if I want one more? Perhaps it is because she did not live in the times of birth control, but even so, I find it strange that she comes across anti-large family. She is not alone, by any means. I have encountered many people who are the mother of many, and discourage others from following their lead. I think it’s sad, to say the least.

You don’t see as many families with over two children these days, and for plenty of people one is enough. Of course, to counterbalance that there are plenty of people that have multiple children and are continuing to expand their families, and are quite happy with the results. I guess it just goes to show that each and every family is unique.


Filed Under: General


12 Responses to “Is the Big Family Dwindling?”

  1. hooah_momma on November 9th, 2012 10:08 am

    Good article and good point mama! I think our culture is a little bit “anti-children.” People are shocked if you have children immediately after getting married, instead of waiting several years. You’re supposed to “live your life,” get a degree, or two, travel, etc, and THEN have children, because apparently they suck the life out of you and you’ll never be able to do those things after children. …I think that is false, but that is the general feeling out there, and I think we’re so used to it that we kind of take it for granted and fall in step with it when it comes to deciding to have children.

  2. christinewith4 on November 9th, 2012 3:26 pm

    from my experience, if you have more than 2 kids, people assume they all have different dads and you are on welfare… :-/

    I got this when I was married and ESPECIALLY now that I am a single mom of 4. As soon as people hear I have 4 children, they next question is: “are their dadS involved at all?”

    I ALWAYS feel like as soon as I say I have 4 kids, that I need to then immediately explain the HOW and WHY… :-(

  3. whitneywalters on November 9th, 2012 7:00 pm

    I have four children, I want one more.
    I come from a large extended family. My mom came from a family of five and my dad from a family of seven. My parents had three.
    My parents could care less how many children I have. My Grandma ( moms side ) said I should stop after two because of the world we live in. Granted she adores her great grand children but she had her own little remark each time I was pregnant.
    My husband comes from a small family and his parents will probably have a stroke if I get pregnant again.
    Where I live there are a lot of large families. A lady I know has 13, most people I know have at least three.
    Out of my friends, I have the most right now but their families are still growing.

  4. badhayrday on November 10th, 2012 4:45 am

    I have 4 children 5yr and under and I really hope to one day have more. I grew up with 1 sister and my husband had 1 brother but our extended family is very large. We think having a big family is a blessing. I am constantly hurt or discouraged though by comments from my family and even strangers for that matter, about how we “have enough” or “now you have 2 of each you can stop”. When I called my Granny to tell her I was pregnant with our 4th she actually said “Oh no, what are you going to do?”. Is it because she is from a huge family but the were really poor so they struggled? It seems like our society sees children as more of a financial burden than a blessing. We know children are expensive but you don’t have to be rich to take good care of them and have a happy life. We don’t have as much as a lot of other people we know but our kids have everything they need and are happy and we will be completely debt free in 2yr (woop woop). I told DH I want to celebrate our financial freedom with another baby:) I can’t wait!

  5. mommadeeof4 on November 10th, 2012 6:46 am

    We have 4 children ages 4 months-5 years and we want more as well! We talk about having 6 but honestly, we are still young (i am 26) so I am not quite sure if we will stop at 6! Aside from some rude family members we have to deal with, even complete strangers feel the need to voice their opinions as if they have any say in how many children we have. We get the questions like “Are you done” “How many do you want?” and all that which i really hate but then there are the few people we come into contact with that say how nice it is to see a large family since it is getting more and more uncommon. I think the rudest comment I got recently was a woman telling me that it is 2012 and birth control is ok in the Catholic Church (which correct me if i am wrong but i don’t think that is their beliefs?)! So, she assumed we were Catholic (we happen to not belong to any religion) and she assumed our reason for having a large family was because I feared going on birth control?! She couldn’t fathom why else we would have 4 kids and she convinced herself they must have all been the result of me simply not using birthcontrol! How ridiculous! My husband and I love eachother, our children and our life so we just need to ignore anyone who has negative comments about how we choose to live :)

  6. Poohb10454 on November 10th, 2012 8:42 am

    I have 6 children ages 8 months to 15. I’m not sure that we are done. We may have another. I get less comments now that 3 of the 6 are in school, and usually only have 3 with me while running errands. Although, when I do have everyone, I certainly get stares and comments. It really is just out of the norm these days.

  7. homeschoolingmomto6 on November 10th, 2012 9:54 am

    We have 8 children and are hoping for more. I love having a large family. After #5 we pretty much quit getting so many comments as people thought we were crazy anyway, but family will make the most hurtful comments. After we had our seventh my grandmother who has seven said that seven was enough we needed to stop. I just take it with a grain of salt. We used to sing in a nursing home and I never heard one elderly person say they wish they had had less children, but you would not believe how many I heard say, “I wish I had had more.” Children are such a blessing! We don’t have a lot, but we are debt free. God provides our every true need. There is food on our table and clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. We love being together and enjoying one another. We have struggles, we are not perfect parents, but we are learning and growing right along with the children. Keep up the good work!

    In Christ,

  8. clothlover8 on November 10th, 2012 7:37 pm

    I have 8 children, I’d love more but medical issues means it probably wont happen. I think lots of people are a bit anti- large families. I wonder if people are a bit scared of what they themselves would see as a struggle? If people can’t imagine how they, themselves would look after a lot of kids or afford it then they don’t see how anyone else can? But I think there are some people who are just really good at managing a large family,they love kids. There are so many special things about being a part of a large family!

  9. Krista on November 10th, 2012 9:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing ladies! And yes, I think the finances are a huge part of it. :) People dont believe that we can truly love so many children and provide adequately for each of them.

  10. Donthaveaclue on November 10th, 2012 10:22 pm

    I have friends and family who have lots of kids and people are rude to them all the time. My one friend is a stay at home mom of 6 and people make all sorts of comments to her. I don’t see the problem with it she stays home, her husband works hard and they are thrifty so they kids don’t ever do without. I have a major problem with people who have a lot of kids and don’t care for them but if you are taking care of your kids its nobody elses business how many you have. I only have one with another on the way. I think there are benefits to both large and small families but most parents nowadays aren’t willing to put any effort into taking care of their kids so its prob best for them to have less (or none). I would say the average parent I know is too lazy to change their babies diapers regularly and I even know a couple who only bathe their daughter weekly but their son (because he can shower himself and it doesn’t take effort on their part) they require him to shower daily. I stay at home too and do everything with my little one and Im excited to have another but I don’t want to have more than I can take excellent care of which is why I didn’t have babies back to back like my husband wanted. I would love even more babies if I wasn’t such a worrier. I worry about EVERYTHING and I think 2 is prob all I can handle to worry about until these guys are much bigger anyways.

  11. keithmommy on November 11th, 2012 3:23 pm

    So far we have 7 children, and I do think that large families are dwindling. I think it is sad. When I am in public, my older children are noticing that people are staring at us. Most people my age and younger that make comments usually say something like, “you have your hands full”. But several times elderly people will come up to us and say that they came from a large family, and it is so refreshing to see a large family because it is so rare nowadays.

  12. Krista on November 11th, 2012 10:16 pm

    I hear that–you have your hands full–from people alot and I just have two. I just think people can’t imagine dealing with it. While I only have two my girls are super close in age so people tend to comment when they find out. Thank you so much for reading and sharing!

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