How Many Kids Do You Want?

Just the other day hubby and I had a conversation about the fact that Scarlett will be two years old this Summer (and you know I’ll be planning one very adorable birthday bash!) Time flies. Now that Scarlett is really a toddler, I’ve slowly come down off of the post-labor terror and have started to rationally think about having more kids and what that would mean for our family.

Before hubby and I ever got pregnant with our sweet little girl, we had our hearts set on having a big family. Hubby is one of three, and I’m one of four. Both of us loved growing up in loud, full homes, and truly, I could never see it any other way. That is, until we had one. Being a mom is the best, most rewarding, most exhausting experience of my life, and I feel truly honored to be someone’s mom (especially my sweet, shy, curly-haired someone.) But being a mom is also an incredibly tough job. Countless articles on the web, shared mom war stories, and our own parents’ tales will attest to that.

For months after having Scarlett I was set on not having any more kids – at least not naturally (adoption has and always will be on my radar.) I’ve actually drafted a post and come back to it at least a hundred times about why I might not want to physically have more kids, but I’ve yet to have the courage to hit “publish.”

I'm curious, how many kids do you want to have? Did that number change after you had your first? Your second? (Newborn Baby Family Photo Shoot)

But at around the year mark of having Scarlett, I started to come around; much to the relief of my husband, who upon seeing Scarlett’s face for the first time in the hospital room 20 months ago, knew he’d want at least a dozen more just like her. It’s funny how biology works in that way. Labor and delivery is not for the faint of heart, and most of my mom friends lightheartedly joke about how tough it all is, though the current just beneath the surface is a fear so much bigger than we let on. We are warriors, after all. Society kind of expects it to be that way. Truly, how long has it taken for people to even begin to recognize postpartum depression as a legitimate and dangerous disease with consequences that affect families?

All that aside, I’m coming around. Of course the dream to have a great big family is still there. Goodness knows, I’m terrified. I’m hoping labor and a possible c-section go better the second time around, but I can’t say that I’m not scared. Still, lately, I see friends’ growing baby bumps and new babies, and my heart goes all goopy and suddenly I’m picturing a sibling for Scarlett.

I'm curious, how many kids do you want to have? Did that number change after you had your first? Your second? (Newborn Baby Family Photo Shoot)

So much goes into deciding how many kids to have.

Age matters. Now that I’ve hit my thirties, doctors float around terms like “advanced maternal age” when in the past I suggested I might want to go so far as to have four or even five kids (gasp!) I’m still young enough to safely have kids without all of the increased risk factors, but by a possible third or fourth child, I might not be. Apparently, this is becoming an increasing problem as millennials are putting off having kids to go to graduate school, marrying later, etc. (Hubby and I have been together a long, long time, but we both got advanced degrees – an MD and PhD for him and a JD for me, and then waited four years into our marriage before we had Scarlett.) I never thought I’d be doing the math on spacing out potential unborn children, but here I am, counting the years, and feeling just a little bit OLD.

An issue of timing and spacing. I also want Scarlett to reach certain milestones before delving into the world of a second kid. Is that silly? I mean, how nice would it be to have only ONE child in diapers at a time? Or my first sleeping in a big girl bed to avoid the need for two cribs? And maybe I’d like to accomplish things in my own career before taking on the monumental task of a second child. I know, I’m obnoxiously Type-A when it comes to making plans, but I just can’t help myself. Naturally, everyone has differing opinions on spacing, but I like the idea of taking our time.

Then there’s a little thing called sleep deprivation. Nothing leaves you crying in your cereal bowl like a three-month old on an every-three-hour feeding schedule, morning, noon, and night.

Having a new baby is tough on a marriage. Maybe this is one of the less talked about bonuses of a newborn (because all anyone really ever jokes about are dirty diapers and sleepless nights), but it’s the truth. In those first few months, when your body is feeling battered and bruised – both physically and emotionally – it’s tough to remember how much you love the person you made that baby with. Marriage suffers a lot of resentment and frustration and neglect; and though thankfully, hubby and I got back to laughter a few months later, the first handful of months are so hard.

Having kids is expensive. So much more expensive than I ever could have imagined. The balance between wanting to work and trying to find affordable care for my daughter is hard enough, and I only have one. I can’t even imagine what it might be like to have nanny care and two or three kids in daycare at the same time. Obviously, there’s value to me working, using my brain, and feeling like I contribute to our household and society; but when does the cost of care for the kids go above what I could ever possibly earn?

I'm curious, how many kids do you want to have? Did that number change after you had your first? Your second? (Newborn Baby Family Photo Shoot)

Then of course I look at pictures of our baby girl from many moons ago, so small and perfect, and my hormones are like, “Yeah, having a dozen more of us is an AWESOME idea.” Stupid hormones.

So I’m curious, how many kids do you want to have? Did that number change after you had your first? Your second? For those of you still aiming for a bigger family (3 kids or more), how did you make the decision? Are you and your partner on the same page about how many kids you want?

Photography by Stephanie Anders Photography (You can see more from our Newborn + Family Photo Shoot here.)



  1. mel

    Such a great post!!! I always wanted 4 kids but now that I’m 31 and still don’t have any kids…I’m not sure anymore. I am just so set in my ways and I know parenthood is the toughest job ever. Now I’m totally happy with 1!

    Mel |

    • Lexi

      So glad you liked it! It’s always hard to decide to publish the more personal posts, so I love hearing they matter at least a little. 🙂

  2. Tarah

    I bounced around a lot on what I wanted. Up until my 20’s, I was positive I didn’t want children at all. Then I did a complete 180 and wanted 5. I’m the oldest of four and come from a big extended family on both sides. I wanted that.

    As I got closer to actually having kids, I decided three would be a perfect number. My husband only wanted two, there was no changing his mind.

    We had our two boys back to back, they’re almost exactly 18 months apart. When I was pregnant with our second, I was 100% done being pregnant. It was just very taxing on my body, it was hard to chase a toddler around while all you want to do is fall on the couch and sleep for hours.

    Then I had our youngest and suddenly I wanted another again. I was back to wanting three kids. That urge lasted until my husband had to go on a work trip for two weeks, leaving me solo with a 1.5 year old and a 3 month old. After surviving that, I was solidly back on “two and through” ground. haha!

    It was a bit crazy having them so close together when they were younger, but I love how it’s working out as they get older. They love to play together, they’re on the same page as far as interests and milestones.

    We’re also at a good age in our family where we can start to take vacations and trips, do the fun stuff together, things that were much harder to do with a baby in tow.

    Each family has their own path and that path is right for you, regardless of what anyone else says or suggests.

    • Lexi

      It’s so true; it’s such a fluid decision. At each stage you think you want something different. Even now, when my husband has night float at the hospital for a week straight, I think, oh my goodness, one is plenty! I’ve heard a lot of great things about having two close in age, but that seems like a monumental task to me right now!

  3. Meagan

    Hubby and I will be married 4 years in June and we still aren’t sure if we want any kids at all. We’re trying to grow our law practice and are currently working on LLM degrees. I’ll be 30 next year, so we still have a little more time. I flip flop between none and two, but no more than two — that way Hubby and I can divide and conquer.

  4. Heidi

    I love the honesty of this post! Seriously, it’s one of my favorites that you’ve written. And it’s no joke. I absolutely love being a mom but it is the hardest job I have ever had by far! I always wanted three or four children but I knew after two I was at my limit. Having a lot of family around in a giant support system makes such a difference too. When you’re on your own it is much harder to manage it all. But at the end of the day I always know there is no more certain love than what we feel for our kids.

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