Many posts on this forum discuss family size in relation to NFP use or ABC use. The common response to questions of size is to pray & try to follow God’s call. While this response is in keeping with the Catholic faith, I would like to examine the more practical and / or subjective human & family issues involved.
To start this thread I consider the following:
My family: Wife & I 47 yrs old. 3 children D-20, S-16, D-11. (all planned)
My siblings: I am #1 of 8, 6 living we have 11 children among us.
My parents: Mid 70’s, Dad # 3 of 14 children 11 still living, Mom # 3 of 9 children 7 still living. They & their siblings have 83 children (my first cousins)
DW is #9 of 9 but neither of her parent come from large families. Her siblings have 22 children.
When we were engaged the Priest asked us if we had talked about children, we said no but both responded that we wanted them. Soon after we had the discussion and my DW said she wanted 6 children, being a negotiator & unsure what I wanted (4 or less) I said 2. Then qualified it by saying start with that and see how we feel and where we go with it. That made sense to her and it was the end of the discussion. We also agreed to wait 3-4 years +/- since we were planning a major move, and a major investment & lifestyle change (farming) in that time frame.
Being the financial part of the relationship, I advocated to space the kid out so that they weren’t in college at the same time which we did. After all, if you are only going to have 2 or 3 whats the rush.
After #3 DW at 37 said she was all done. She no longer wanted 6, 3 was just right.
In our situation, money is not an issue. Since we only have 3 children we can afford to send them to the finest private (Catholic) college’s and they have whatever they need & most of what they want. This is not the way we grew up. We always had what we needed but little of what we wanted!. We worked hard to afford the wants & some of the needs as well as funded much of our own education.
Since the total extended family size is small & our children are considerably older they my sib’s kid & younger then DW’s their is little interaction with them.
In retrospect I think a larger family would have provided many benefits to the children as well as us, the parents!
Starting earlier would have been difficult for us, but not impossible, as would of having more in between…