Monday, February 03, 2014

Half of U.S. Pregnancies are Unintentional: Think Family Size Decision People!

Your Family Size decision is the most important decision of your marriage. I have told hundreds of couples in my 36 years as a marriage therapist, that there is no more vital decision in the hands of every couple than, when to start a family and how many children to have. I stress vital decision because other marital decisions, such as where to live, are in the hands of every couple, but don’t rank nearly as high as the family size decision.

Employment, proximity of extended family, and fertility are also essential to a marriage, but they are not decisions that are firmly in the hands of each couple. Today’s Blog Post coincides with the release of Guttmacher Institute data showing that over 50% of the 6.6 million pregnancies each year in the U.S. are unintended. I plead with couples, please wake up and smell the data!

My principal concern: Dozens of noteworthy research studies have shown that marital satisfaction declines with each child because of the enormous cost of each child, emotionally and financially. That being the case, I don’t want couples to have children…for no reason. I believe that the whimsical approach to this crucial decision has significantly contributed to the agonizing 50% divorce rate in the U.S.

Don’t be haphazard about this decision….make your family size decision with confidence and determination. And what is the ideal family size for you? As many or as few…as long as you think it through. Couples should not spend time contemplating the ideal number of children; they should ask themselves one key question: Is now the best time in our lives, from a personal, health, and marital perspective, to have a(nother) child? 

Advice Bullet Points:

>Don’t have another child for gender balance: you may not get the gender you hoped for.

>Don’t have another child to mirror your family of origin: that was then; this is now.

>Don’t make up for lost time by having rapid-fire children: have a minimum 2 year space between children.

>Don’t have another child to hang onto your Nanny: some couples do it----I kid you not.