5 Families Share How They Decided How Many Kids They Wanted to Have

Whether you chose to have one child or a big family, there is no wrong way to decide how many kids to have. There are endless ways to define what it means to be a "family," starting with the decision to have children or not. It's a personal choice, one that takes into consideration not only lifestyle factors, but how you were raised, what you want in life, and more. Then, if you do decide to have kids, how do you decide how many you want? For every family, the determination is different — so to try to better understand all of the different things people take into account when considering how many children to have, POPSUGAR talked with five families across the country, each with a different outlook on raising children. Read on to explore their stories and insights into how they decided what family looks like for them.

Why We Decided Not to Have Kids
Courtesy of Nicole and Andy Watkins

Why We Decided Not to Have Kids

When Andy Watkins, 38, and his future wife, Nicole, 33, met in Akron, OH, they were pretty sure almost instantly that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. About a year into dating, when they started talking about the prospect of having kids, they knew for sure.

For Nicole, having children was not in the cards and in Andy she had finally found a partner who supported that choice. "I felt relieved and was so happy once we finally talked about it!" Nicole said. "I was already so in love with him that when we started getting serious I told him if he didn't feel the same way, we should probably break up."

There was no question about what to do for Andy. "We just don't like children," he said. "I realize that's pretty straightforward. And while we have friends that have some cute kids, it's just not for us." Knowing they were on the same page on the baby issue, the two married in September 2013, and four years later they made their decision final when Andy had a vasectomy.

Andy and Nicole are confident in their choice, and when people intrusively ask them when they'll have kids, they deal with it simply and directly and move on. "There's nothing more to talk about on that issue!" Andy said.

Their families also eventually came around to the decision — with Nicole's taking a little longer. However, as Nicole said, "We are fulfilled in our lives, with our marriage, friends, and hobbies. We weren't going to have kids so everyone else could be happy." She added, with a laugh, "Plus, I like sleeping and money."

Aside from human children, though, Andy and Nicole are not without a pack of their own. "We do have two perfect fur babies, Gemma and Tank!" Andy said.

Why We Decided to Have 1 Kid
Courtesy of Natalie and Irving Meisler

Why We Decided to Have 1 Kid

For Natalie Meisler, 40, and her husband, Irving, 60, becoming parents together turned out to be the best surprise of all.

The couple, who split their time between Aspen, CO; Birmingham, AL; and Palm Desert, CA, married in 2014 with no plans of ever having children. Irving already had three grown children from a previous marriage, so Natalie was more than happy to get her maternal fix playing the role of cool stepmom. That is, until the two learned they were unexpectedly pregnant with Franny, who is now 2 1/2 years old. "It was one of the scariest and one of the most exciting times of my life," Natalie said.

And as of about two months ago, baby fever set in. They both feel the timing is about right for another child, but are a little worried about the energy a newborn would require. "Franny has so much energy. She is just go, go, go, go. It's a lot. I know every child is different, but I'm just kind of worried if we have another Franny . . . how crazy that would be!"

Beyond that, Natalie shared that she once had a miscarriage. "If I get pregnant again in my 40s, I'm concerned I could miscarry again, or experience other complications," she said. But right now, they're at an "I don't know" point — which is not a place she's willing to be in if and when she brings another child into this world.

"We take being parents very seriously, and we want to be there for Franny and be as close to 100 percent all the time," Natalie said. "It's not something we want to just jump into if we're unsure."

Why We Decided to Have 2 Kids
Courtesy Haydee and Cliff Graham

Why We Decided to Have 2 Kids

Over on the West Coast, it was timing and family history that decided things for Haydee Graham, 36, and her husband, Cliff, 41, of Redondo Beach, CA. With two boys — Jaden, 10, and Jordan, 3 — the Grahams called it.

According to Haydee, they decided to have a second child because they felt their oldest son needed a sibling. Cliff, however, shared a different perspective. "Jaden was six when we decided to try for another baby," Cliff said. "I'll never forget the day when Haydee said to me, 'I'm ready to have another kid.' She came home and said that Jaden didn't want to kiss her in front of his friends when he got to school. She thought she was losing her baby, so she wanted to have a second one." Haydee laughed at Cliff telling that story — she didn't disagree.

"After Jordan, we thought of having a third baby," Cliff said, but the risk of twins (twins run in his family) was enough to keep them from trying. Plus, a third newborn means extra effort, and the Grahams weren't ready to start sleepless nights and endless feedings all over again.

Both Haydee and Cliff felt like they had gained more perspective on what it takes to bring a new baby home than they had when they were just starting out. "I think when you're younger, you're a little bit more free-spirited," Cliff said. "You kind of throw your hands up in the air before you make decisions. You kind of wait until you're already in it and then maybe you might be like, 'Ah, maybe I bit off a little bit more than I can chew,'" Cliff said.

"With two, we're constantly playing 'tag, you're it,' and I can't imagine doing that with more kids," Haydee said.

Why We Decided to Have 3 Kids
Courtesy of Clayton and Emmy Roggy

Why We Decided to Have 3 Kids

Emmy Roggy, a 32-year-old restaurant general manager, and her husband Clayton, 29, who works in real estate in Rio Rancho, NM, are the proud parents of three children, two girls and one boy. Their son, Jameson, is 4 years old, and their older daughter, Blake, is 18 months old. Emmy gave birth to their youngest daughter, Brooklyn, just two days before talking with POPSUGAR about their decision to become a family of five.

"I was one of three children, and growing up, our house was crazy but fun," Emmy told POPSUGAR. "There was always someone to play with or somewhere to be. My husband and I live a busy lifestyle as well so a big family would continue that as we grow older."

Both Emmy and Clayton knew they wanted to have children before they met, but decided together that three was the right fit. "We always said we both wanted a big family with three or four kids, depending on if and when we ever got a girl," Emmy said. "Before our first daughter, my husband's family hadn't had a girl in 37 years!"

For now, the Roggys are done, though they're not opposed to one more child. "We're not doing anything final until I'm 35. At that point, we'll either go for one more or my husband will likely get a vasectomy."

Emmy shared that it was emotional knowing this was likely her last pregnancy and birth. "It was very sentimental," she said. "I loved being pregnant with all of our kids, and know I will miss it."

Clayton described the feeling as bittersweet. "I'm exited to move past the baby phase," he said, "but these are precious moments that I'll always remember." But both of the Roggys are looking forward to the crazy adventure of being outnumbered!

Why We Decided to Have 4 Kids
Courtesy Kellie and Ben James

Why We Decided to Have 4 Kids

For one blended family in Navarre, OH, the choice to parent four children was all about keeping things even.

Kellie James, 37, was already the mother of two boys — Mason, 14, and Michael, 12 — when she married her second husband, Ben James, 42, the CEO of a fabrication shop, in 2009. Together, the couple had two sons: Benjamin, 9, and Beau, 7.

Kelli and Ben talked about having kids right away once they got married, because they wanted the kids to be close in age. "I never would have thought I would have four kids. I mean, it's a lot! But Ben comes from a big family. He is one out of five siblings," she said. "We knew we wanted to have more than one but five was just too much for me." They also wanted to keep the family at an even number, and six was out of the question. "So we agreed four was perfect," Kellie said. "And now that it ended up being four boys I definitely wouldn't want to change that. I love being mom of boys!"

As for Kellie and Ben, having two children together in addition to the two Kellie already had was a purposeful choice, and that's the absolute max for them. After their youngest son was born, both Kellie and Ben had surgeries to prevent getting pregnant again.

"When I was younger, I never imagined myself having four kids," Kellie said. "Now I cant imagine my life any other way. I just think everything happens for a reason."