47 answers

Did You Decide on Number of Children Before Getting Married/engaged?

A couple of recent questions regarding disagreements on the number of children to have got me thinking...isn't this something that couples decide BEFORE they settle on a future together? I don't mean to beat up on the moms who asked the questions, because obviously not everyone has this all settled, but if you didn't get explicit agreement on this before deciding to commit to your husband/SO, why not? If you could have a do over, is this something that you would make sure was set in stone before deciding to get married?

I know that everyone can have a change of heart, or things don't go as planned (fertility issues, surprise pregnancies, etc.) and in those cases you just have to deal with your reality and not belabor what you had originally planned on, so original plans aren't always set in stone but they at least give a starting point of agreement. So did most of us go into marriage/commitment with this matter settled or is it really common to assume that you both agree and then hope for the best?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

These responses are fascinating, thank you for sharing! I'm shocked at the number who agreed on none and happily are parents. I knew two couples who agreed on none and when one spouse from each couple changed his or her mind, the marriages broke up. I don't know any couple who agreed on none and then had kids and are happy. I'm also surprised at the number who didn't discuss it at all...guess it was meant to be for you! To the few who found out later that they were being "yessed" by their future husbands, I can relate. My husband was sincere in our discussions about some things (kids, religion, working, where to live) but there are a couple of major areas in which he totally underestimated how much I meant what I said. He just figured that he would tell me what I wanted to hear and that eventually, I would see the wisdom of his ways and come around to agree with him. Much to his disappointment, that hasn't and won't happen. Keep the responses coming, this is very interesting to read!

Featured Answers

We didn't necessarily agree on a number. But we did discuss the fact that we both did want to have children. I can't imagine that people would get married w/o having the "do you want kids" conversation. And if you are really adamant on a certain number, I would think that you would bring that up before marriage too. To us, the number was not a big deal, more just the fact that we both did want to have kids.

2 moms found this helpful

No, my husband and I never put a number on how many kids we wanted. How do you even know beforehand anyways? I would probably have 4 kids if it werent for my miserable pregnancies, so we decided two would be fine. But ooops, im pregnant with my 3rd. Even if you "said" you wanted x many kids, doesnt mean its going to happen anyways.

2 moms found this helpful

We knew we wanted two kids but I really wanted to have a girl (I am being very honest here) so my husband agreed if we had two boys we would try a third time for a girl. I had a girl first so it was a non issue but I don't think either one of us thought we would want to raise 4 children. So if I had three boys I would have been happy and just thought that was meant to be. My husband did not care either way if we had boys or girls.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

We both said none....... but just welcomed our 3rd. We didnt know how much love we had till we had our children.

3 moms found this helpful

My husband and I did discuss children before marriage or engagement. We also agreed that we both wanted 3 kids. We have 3 kids and have been married 10 years.

2 moms found this helpful

I think most people do (and should in my opinion) talk about this, but yes, it can change. I don't think it changes b/c people agree and hope for the best as you said, but more like reality sets in. When you deal with th reality of children it changes things in your life and marriage. Personally I think it's more imporant to be on the same page as to whether or not you want children at all than to exactly how many you're going to have, alltough a ballpark figure is good.

2 moms found this helpful

No, my husband and I never put a number on how many kids we wanted. How do you even know beforehand anyways? I would probably have 4 kids if it werent for my miserable pregnancies, so we decided two would be fine. But ooops, im pregnant with my 3rd. Even if you "said" you wanted x many kids, doesnt mean its going to happen anyways.

2 moms found this helpful

We didn't necessarily agree on a number. But we did discuss the fact that we both did want to have children. I can't imagine that people would get married w/o having the "do you want kids" conversation. And if you are really adamant on a certain number, I would think that you would bring that up before marriage too. To us, the number was not a big deal, more just the fact that we both did want to have kids.

2 moms found this helpful

We decided on a generality. As in we both wanted kids and our numbers were flexible so we could play it by ear.

I've dated men who were absolutely adamant that they wanted zero children, so they were fun to date, but I didn't string them along or think I could change them (they might change their mind in 10 or 20 years, but where they were at when I was dating them... so I respected that and we kept it "light"). I've also dated men who want *very* large families (6-10) and I was *tentatively* okay with that, but not completely on board because that involves a lot of logistics and luck. The ones that I truely fell in love with, however were not SET on the exact number of children. Small family, large family, they had their preference... but they also were very "roll with it" kinds of men. As in they'd LOVE to have "x" but would be okay with "y" instead.

Up until my husband. My husband, come to find, has out and out lied to me from the beginning. About EVERYTHING from how many children he would like (he said 2 or more but would be okay with just one, but meant 0) to where he wanted to live (house in a vibrant area -artsy or college town- or in the country, but meant condo in the city)... he ONLY ever told me what he "thought I wanted to hear" in order to "keep" me. So now, of course, I'm probably a little suspect of EVERY conversation regarding future plans with people.

2 moms found this helpful

We definitely discussed it and it was also discussed (Pastor indicated this was very important) during pre-marriage counseling, which our church did with all engaged couples. He would have been good with one (he's an only) and I was definite on two, which he agreed on. We just had our third, a little big surprise considering my oldest are 16 and 13! But that is because he was a chicken liver for too many years :-P I have a friend though who when she became pregnant for the 3rd time (2nd had a miscarriage), her husband didn't want the baby (didn't want 2nd either) and they aborted. Apparently it was a deal breaker for him, but for me, I would have walked out of the marriage and had the baby.

2 moms found this helpful

We did not agree on anything in advance. It's not our way. We also don't plan vacations way in advance. That was part of what we had in common. My husband never wanted kids but loves having 3 now. Most couples I know went with the flow if they were in love and didn't map it all out first. They met, they fell in love, they stayed together or not, or got married or not, or had kids or not.

It's sort of weird, especially when you're young, to start dating and ask the other person how many kids they want. Most men would say none. I think the couples who meet and fall in love and also JUST SO HAPPEN to have the exact same family planning ideas and can reach an agreement in advance are very lucky.

Some people I know (who got married later when they finally did know their plan) tried like heck to follow their little blueprints but fertility issues scoffed at them.

One of my friends dumped Mr. Right because he didn't match up to her future equations for kids (he didn't refuse her plan, just wouldn't pretend to be able to predict the future at age 25 with an entry level job which she took as wishy washy and lacking potential). She ended up with Mr. Jerk who wanted the same amount of kids. He's a horrible dad. Mr Right ended up having the same amount of kids as her. Both the planners and the non planners had major surprises. Sure, if your soul mate agrees with your plan, great, but the primary relationship is just two people, and often the rest ends up sort of ...variable.

2 moms found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.