I once read a novel in which one of the characters, a mother, explained to her daughter that she never felt her family was finished and, therefore, felt compelled to have a second daughter. She said something to the extent of "You just know when your family is complete. Until then, someone's missing."
This puzzled me and has stuck with me years later. Does that happen? Do other moms just know that they need another child?
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I know all the reasons that people decide to start a family. Biological clocks, pushy in-laws, the hunger to hold a child that’s a magical combination of you and your partner… all of these reasons, plus the love you can have for a family you haven't started yet, make sense to me. My husband and I love kids and knew that we wanted several of them, which we did pretty quickly after we got married. But what I have always found interesting is how people decide they're done. Will I know when my family is complete? Here are some reasons why other people stop having children:
Finances. It's no secret that children are expensive. I once wrote an article about the true costs of raising a child, and it made me appreciate the fact that each of my offspring is a tax deduction. Occasionally, I mourn the vacations I'd be able to afford if only I wasn't raising kids, but the thought is always fleeting. No travel would be glamorous enough for me to be willing to trade having my children to come home to. Lots of parents I know have one child because they want to be able to afford to give them the best of everything: private schools... designer threads... Finances are a logical enough reason to reach for the permanent birth control. When Family Grows Faster Than Your Bank Account
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Divorce. While this is a sad reason to stop procreating, it's a truth that with so many marriages ending in divorce, people stop having children because they no longer have a traditional family to bring them into. I love, however, that so many divorced folks remarry and create the blended families that are a huge part of our American culture. It's a sweet thought to me, too, that single divorcees may never know what bonus children are lurking in their futures; stepchildren can be a surprise blessing that extends their family unit into the large group they always wanted.
Health. Sometimes, no matter your Duggar-ish aspirations, nature puts an abrupt end to thoughts of additional biological children. My heart always hurts for people who struggle with infertility, especially because it seems a topic that many people don't realize is incredibly personal and sensitive. And adoption isn't for everyone, so I can grasp how infertility would signify the end of the growth of your family. Planning For Kids Is Futile