How many children are right for you?

Mums tell why their number of children is the right size family for them

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How many children you have is quite a personal matter. For some of us mums, it’s not even a choice that’s up to us to make, as our fertility levels decide for us! Here, mums talk about why they love the number of children they have…

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1.One child

Carol, 25, mum to Charlotte, 11 months, plans to not have more than one child…

“I always knew I only wanted one child. I thought, and still do, that one would be easier to cope with. When my brother and I were young we weren’t that nice to each other – just the usual teasing and stuff – so having a sibling isn’t necessarily better than being an only child.

“My husband, Matt, is in the army and away for long periods so one child is all I can deal with on my own. I don’t believe only children are any more spoilt than those with siblings – I think it depends on the parents. I hope Charlotte will enjoy having us to herself. All our attention can go on her and I think she’ll benefit from that.”

2. Two children

Gina, 35, mum to Paige, 3, and Erin, 1, feels having a sibling is important…

“It was a big decision for us to go from having one child to having two. We weighed up the pros and cons carefully.

“My husband, Max, and I are both one of two and felt we benefited from, and enjoyed having, a sibling. But there’s a gap of four years between Max and his sister and 12 years between me and my brother. We wanted our children to be closer in age as we felt they’d have more in common that way.”

“Having just two children is practical, as there’s one parent to each child! I guess if we won the lottery we might consider having another child. But barring that unlikely event, we’re happy as we are – a foursome.”

3. Three children

Sophie, 39, mum to Lewis, 4, Thomas, 2, and Morven, 10 weeks, says the jump from two to three children hasn’t been that hard…

“I had just one brother who was 11 years older than me. He left home when I was five, so I mainly grew up on my own. I always felt it would have been nice to have a sibling close to me in age.

“We had Lewis and Thomas close together but I wanted another – partly to try for a girl, but also because our family didn’t feel complete. With Morven I now feel that we are.”

“So far, the jump from two to three hasn’t been too difficult. Luckily, Morven’s a very easy baby. Having said that, being out and about with three can be a challenge but even though it’s pretty manic sometimes, it feels right.”

4. Four children

Becky, 36, mum to Adam, 13, Emma, 10, Megan, 3, and Katie, 5 months, says she likes the support and friendship that comes from larger families…

“We stopped at two children for quite some time but then got broody again and had two more! It was when my sister had a little girl and she was so sweet, so we decided to have another, Megan. That set the ball rolling and not long after that we had Katie.

“It works well for us because of the gap between the older two and the younger ones. The older ones help out and although they have their moments, they generally get on very well and are pretty close.

“I’m one of three siblings and Darren is one of four so we’re used to big families and both enjoyed the support and friendship we’ve got from them. I’m glad our children can benefit from the same thing.

“Having another two children changed my life quite a bit. I worked in insurance, but decided I wanted to be at home more, so I retrained as a childminder.

“We have a people carrier now so we can all go out together. We don’t have holidays abroad like we did when we had just the two children, but to be honest we’re not really bothered about that – we usually just hire a cottage in Scotland and have a great time.”

5. Five children

Christy, 26, mum to Connor, 9, Toby, 7, Charlie, 5, Bailey, 2, and Jonah, 16 weeks, has five children, and doesn’t rule out having a sixth baby…

“I have four sisters and a brother and always wanted a large family for myself. I think it’s great for the kids – they are never, ever lonely! They also learn things such as how to share with each other and how to be patient. 

“Logistically, it can be difficult. Getting out of the house can feel like a military operation – I have to be very organised and I write a lot of lists! And we can’t just pop round to someone’s house for coffee as not everyone wants five kids descending on them!

“Having five boys does get very noisy, too – but I’m used to it now, it just washes over me. Of course they fight, but they also love each other to bits and will always stand up for each other if one is being picked on in the playground. The older ones help the younger ones if they are stuck with something, too.

“We have a car we can all fit in and we go on holiday once a year. My husband, Tom, and I don’t go out together very often, and when we do we usually split the kids up between their grandparents for babysitting, but it’s a small price to pay.

“My one regret is that I don’t get to spend as much time with the boys individually – which is a shame, as I think it’s really important. But Tom and I both make the effort to do things alone with them whenever we can. Tom would definitely like us to have one more child and it’s certainly a possibility for the future – but Jonah’s too little for us to be thinking about that just yet!”

Mums’ stories

“I always had some one to play with”

“I found being one of four kids enjoyable – there was always someone around to play with and life was never boring! My younger sister is only 15 months younger so we’ve always been very close. As soon as I had my first child, I knew I wanted another to give him that companionship. I like the idea of a big family but I think three will be our maximum – any more and we’d just be too crowded!”

Lillian, 26, mum to Andrew, 4, and Lewis, 2

“I had no one to play with as an only child”

“I hated being an only child. All my friends had siblings and it seemed unfair that I had no one to play with at home. However, it did make me very confident – when we went on holiday or to the playground, I had to make friends. I think being an only child made me a sociable person. And while I wasn’t spoilt, we did have nice holidays and I got a lot of attention.

“Although my parents are still healthy, I worry about when they die. Even though I have a family, in some ways I’ll be left alone. I didn’t enjoy being a singleton and always planned to have a big family. I’m very happy to have three children. They’ll always have each other for company.”

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Susan, 32, mum to Patrick, 4, Poppy, 2, and Isla, 17 weeks

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