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How Many Children Should You Have?

Baby fever, anyone?

BY Agnes Amondi

Jan 28, 2023, 09:10 PM

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As I continue to dig into the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data examining the sexual behaviours of women and its impact, this time I am writing a follow-up article to - "What The declining Birth Rates Say About Women".

Whilst I am one of the people that celebrate the falling fertility rate, this also got me wondering about something else. How many children should you have? 

Even in the age of contraception, which has significantly contributed to the falling fertility rates across the world, this is a debate that's yet to be settled.

And whilst the argument will probably be that there isn't any real answer to this question, there are factors that should be considered before you decide to bring another human into the world.

What You Should Consider Before Having Kids. 

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Firstly, your financial position. Children are an economic expense and many people never want to look at it this way. Sure, they are a blessing and a bundle of joy but at the end of the day, if you don't have the economic ability to take care of them, it spells doom not just for them but for you as well.

Secondly, your career. It goes without saying that women's careers take a hit should they decide to start a family. Are you ready for this? Remember, some women even leave the workforce entirely after giving birth because of different issues that might come up afterwards.

Thirdly, are you emotionally ready? You've heard the saying that the woman who walks into the labour ward is completely different to the one who comes out? Whilst we always expect the best, we should also prepare for the unforeseen. 

These are not by any means the only things to think about. That said, we return to our subject matter. How many kids should you have?

How Many Do You Want?

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Answering a question with a question is not what anyone wishes for but for this, it boils down to your desires. I don't know if this is something you have noticed but working parents tend to have fewer children than non-working parents. The argument is that the former’s mind is occupied with other things and the latter, not so much. 

True or otherwise, there are women who want one and others want above the average, 3.4. For reasons best known to them. 

When Your Family Makes Demands.

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We live in a modern yet traditional society. Despite the higher status that many women attain now, this is an area that’s not really talked about as much as it should. I’d love to lock this down to the African context as we are familiar with it.

Families believe that children belong to them and as search, they feel like they also have a say in how many kids you and your spouse should have. Should you listen to them? I think this is a decision you should make independently with your better half. I say this by acknowledging the torturous pressure some face and eventually giving in. 

Your Background.

This might be a silent determinant. I’ve heard many people who’ve been brought up in large families say they prefer to have a small family while those from smaller families want the opposite. With this, it is basically a matter of longing for what you think you missed out on. 

For those who had a sibling or were only children, perhaps they are yearning for the loud house and believe their children will provide that. Those who come from larger homes, wish they could have their own room or an environment where they don’t have to fight for resources and thus a smaller family. 

What Experts Say.

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Whilst there isn’t any definitive research that goes into this, parents’ experiences across the globe help give direction to this conversation.

Parents with only children worry that they might spoil their offspring as he or she gets undivided attention. Those with two feel like that’s the ideal number as the children learn traits that might not readily be taught in an only-child family. 

When you step up from two to three kids, some parents admit that the change is significant as the family starts to feel big. Past three, this definitely comes with huge demands not just to the parents but also children. 


Is there a right number? We’ll throw it back to you to decide.

Read More: How Many Sexual Partners Should You Have?