Having an only child is desirable from a wide range of viewpoints and
practicalities, but that doesn't make decisions about family size any
easier. Going from one child to two (or two to three or more) is a
dilemma single parents and couples wrestle with, sometimes for years.

mother of a three-year-old child talked to me about whether or not she
really wants a second child. She is not an isolated case of men and
women who are asking the same question.

The husband of an almost 40 year-old wants to give their five-year-old a sibling.
His wife doesn't. She told me that she has weakened and agreed to see a
fertility specialist, but isn't sure she can cope with another child.

friend, age 34, has been teetering on the second baby fence for four
years, but her resolve is being undone by pressure from her family to
have another. She hesitates knowing her job (and promotions) will be in
jeopardy if she takes another maternity leave.

Although each
situation is unique, the profound confusion surrounding the question of
having more children is similar. Some people begin with a very
practical approach and ask themselves questions like these: What will
we give up in time, money, freedom, intimacy, and job advancement with
another child in the household? How thin will we be able to stretch our
financial resources?

Logic vs. Emotion

Many decisions we make
appear to be rational ones: where to vacation; what to wear; how much
to exercise, what car to buy. We weigh the pluses and minuses and make
a choice or so we believe. But, there's more going on that affects
choice. "When someone makes a decision, the brain
is awash in feeling, driven by its inexplicable passions. Even when a
person tries to be reasonable and restrained, these emotional impulses
secretly influence judgment," writes Jonah Lehrer in his book, How We Decide.

is the emotional component more evident that when deciding whether or
not to bring another baby into the world. A good portion of logic and
practicality goes out the window. Whether conscious or not, feelings
about how you were parented, how you related to your siblings, what
friends are doing (and saying), the media portrayal of family, your career or job, the stability of your marriage, and your dreams get factored into this private debate.

Support for Stopping at One

You may be very clear, even emphatic, about how many children you
want…or don't want. You are positive you want two children; there's
no shaking your confidence until you experience parenting one child.
Suddenly, it doesn't seem so easy to welcome another. On the emotional
side, you wonder how another child will affect the relationship with
the child you have. But then, too often you hear, "He needs a brother
or sister." You begin to waffle.

Before finalizing your
decision, consider this stunning support for stopping at one.
Hans-Peter Kohler, sociology professor at the University of
Pennsylvania, found that people with children are happier-happier than
those without children. The Pew Research Center framed it this way, "As a source of adult happiness
and fulfillment, children occupy a pedestal matched only by spouses and
situated well above that of jobs, career, friends, hobbies and other

But, Kohler also discovered that second and third
children don't increase parents' happiness. His study of 35,000 adult
identical twins in Denmark showed that more children make mothers less
happy. On the other hand, "additional children beyond the first child
have no effect for males [in relation to happiness]."

without hard evidence, we know intuitively that children add strain in
most marriages. Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard,
reviewed studies on martial satisfaction and reported in his book, Stumbling on Happiness, that marital satisfaction improves once the last child leaves home.

Given the stresses of modern marriage, job pressures, the cost of raising children, and Kohler's happiness findings, the increase in one-child families
is understandable. Yet so many people have more children. How did you
decide to add to your family? Or, to stop after your first child?


Source: Psychology Today – http://tinyurl.com/y8jtpnw