DO YOU WISH YOU HAD more chil­dren?

Mum-of-two and so­cial com­men­ta­tor An­gela Mol­lard guides you through the thrills and spills of par­ent­hood

New Idea - - New Kids -

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.

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