I am the eldest of four children, not counting the half-sister born after I had my two daughters. I don't not count her in my life, you understand, but I obviously didn't grow up with her, so I don't include her for the purposes of this discussion. I doubt she reads this anyway, but if she does...she's my sister. Nuff said.
Disclaimers aside, I know what it is to be a member of a large family. So does the DH...his family is the mirror image of mine, even down to the split level houses we grew up in. My memories of childhood were of doing with what we had. Dad was a teacher, Mom a cop. Essential jobs that serve the public, which, as we all know, means they didn't make much of anything. Money was tight, always, probably more so than I knew at the time. We often wore hand-me-downs, and were glad to get them. I occasionally didn't like not being able to buy stuff that my friends did, but for the most part, I didn't feel deprived. My parents were proud in the good sense, and taught us to value what we wanted, and to work for it. Yes, I know I sound like an old fart. Tough.
When I had my kids, I firmly believed in zero population growth, and still do. The people who can least provide for their children in this world, in terms of material goods and education, are the ones who often have the most children. I chose to have two children. I was lucky. I could have kids, carry them myself, they were healthy. And my then-husband and I could afford to raise them. I do understand that some folks have a lot of kids for reasons of faith, but even most religions allow you to work not to conceive. For others, birth control can usually be obtained for free and works pretty well (though not so great when my parents were trying it in the sixties!). But my beliefs aside, it's up to you how many kids you have. Just don't try to make your choice my burden.
Today I went to pick up some artifical plants. A lady wanted to be rid of them, put them on Freecycle. She made a point that she wouldn't take a picture of them because of her five kids. I thought they'd make good studio props, and told her I would be happy to have them. She was sick of them and happy to have them gone. All should be good, right? Right. Until. I went out to get them, and she said how tired of them she was, and I said they'd have a good home in our studio. She perked up immediately. She knew who we were when I said the studio name, asked where we were now, and she starts bleating, "Discounts! Discounts would be good! Five kids!" She sticks her head in the open hatchback to yell this stuff at the DH, who is seated behind the wheel. I was in equal parts dumbfounded and furious.
Why do people today think we should fund their family? My parents never did. I cannot tell you the number of times people ask us for a price break because they have a lot of rug rats. They have XX number of kids in dance, or playing soccer, and want us to discount their pictures because of the sheer volume of their family. Really? How did your choice to breed like rabbits and overpopulate the planet become MY problem? Do you ask McDonald's to sell you discount hamburgers to feed your tribe? Does Carter's have to give you cheaper baby clothes? And by the way, did the mortgage company give you a discount on your big McMansion (sure a lot bigger than MY house)? Have you considered buying less rather than expecting me to give your greedy self preferential treatment because you decided to have a horde?
Do my bills suddenly become less because you didn't keep those knees together, lady?
See? Mother really DID know best.