DO YOU WISH YOU HAD more children?
Mum-of-two and social commentator Angela Mollard guides you through the thrills and spills of parenthood
It’s the conundrum faced by so many families: how many kids do we have? While the birthrate in Australia has dropped to 1.8 children, research suggests most people have fewer kids than they’d like.
According to Pew Research, a third of European women aged 40 to 54 reported the number of children they have is lower than their personal ideal. Similarly, 87 per cent of men reported their own ideal family would include two or more children – a figure higher than the birthrate. It’s the same in the US, where 40 per cent of women say they have fewer children than their ideal.
While women rarely voice regrets about the children they have, many have spoken out about their sadness at not having more.
Earlier this year, Nicole Kidman revealed how she wished she’d had ‘two or three more’ children. ‘I love, love children,’ she said. ‘I love raising children... they make me feel good. I love being around, the ups and downs, watching them grow – the things they say and teach.’ Nicole, who has two children from her marriage to Tom Cruise and two daughters with husband Keith Urban, noted that her sister Antonia has six children. But she also revealed that Keith was content: ‘My husband says: “That is the wanting mind, Nicole. Shut it down.”’ So why is there such a gap between the number of children we have and the number we’d like to have? Pew Research believes both fertility and economic factors are to blame for the delays in
childbearing, and the lack of a suitable partner is also a contributing issue.
‘Starting childbearing at a late age means there are fewer years for a woman to meet her fertility ideals, plus it increases the risk of age-related infertility,’ reveals the report.
Researchers also noted that fertility increased at times of economic boom and decreased during recessions.
But Belinda Luscombe, editor-at-large of Time magazine, also pointed out having more kids may be something we desire only in theory, as parents run out of both energy and courage.
‘Having more children might be one of those ideas – like owning a boat – that’s lovely in theory, but practically just too difficult. We don’t want to have more kids, we just want to have had more kids,’ she says.
I suspect she’s spot on!
Nicole and Keith adore their girls, Sunday Rose, nine, and Faith, six.