A dismaying article from last week’s local newspaper, Moorabbin Leader, not published on their site:
Is three the new two?
Going for number three? It seems more Aussie parents are opting for a third child
Many families are answering former Treasurer Peter Costello’s call to have one for mum, one for dad and one for the country. According to demographer Dr Rebecca Kippen from Melbourne University’s School of Population Health, having three children may be back in fashion.
“Our fertility rates have been dropping consistently for decades, but in the past few years we have seen that decline stop,” Dr Kippen said. “The average is between 2.2 and 2.5 children,” she said. And Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the overall percentage of mothers giving birth to their third child increased from 12.2 per cent in 2007 to 14.1 per cent in 2009.
Dr Kippen said reasons for the “mini fertility boom” were an issue of great debate among demographers. “Has the baby bonus made a difference? Or is it because women who delayed having children in their 20s are now having them close together all at once in their 30s?”
For Mentone mum-of-three Stacey Ferguson, the image of a bustling household has always appealed. “My husband Justin and I are both from families with two children. Growing up we were both envious of friends with bigger families, it just seemed like a lot more fun and exciting,” Stacey said.
The couple got what they wanted and today have their hands full looking after Lachlan, 6, Kye, 3 and Tameika, 18 months. “After having two boys we were definitely keen to try for another,” Stacey said. “We would have been more than happy with three boys but trying for a girl was certainly a motivating factor.”
Stacey said jumping from two to three children meant a new car was needed, an education savings account was opened and it was harder to find one- on-one time with the kids. “We’re outnumbered now.” she laughs. “And of course we’re back to sleepless nights and nappies — but it’s all worth it.
“I love hearing the sound of laughter through the house as the three of them play together.”
Dr Kippen, co-author of the study “Taking Stock: Parents’ reasons for and against having a third child”, said parents considered the pros and cons when deciding whether to have a third child. Pros include trying for a different gender, wanting to replicate their own large family dynamic, or wanting a bigger family than they grew up in. Cons include the extra financial pressure, the need for a bigger house or car or the prospect of kids outnumbering parents.
Blackburn mother of two Giselle Jesse can certainly relate and is debating whether to go for number three. Giselle and husband Shaun are parents to Ethan, 4, and William, 2, and are “tempted” by the idea of a bigger family. “We never intended to have three children and trying for a girl is not really an issue because I’m quite a tomboy and relate well to the boys,” Giselle said. “But Shaun and I both had large age gaps between us and our siblings and we would have loved having playmates close to us in age.” Giselle said having three children would add an extra dynamic to the family unit and reduce the chance of favoritism. But she’s also concerned about being able to give each child enough attention and the extra financial pressure on the family. “And of course the idea of getting up in the night to feed a newborn isn’t thrilling — but I’m not getting that much sleep now so maybe one more won’t make much difference.”
Please reconsider? The world is already 0verpopulated, large families are unnecessary in Australia as most children will survive to adulthood, and they are environmentally irresponsible. Transporting them and other activities can be a logistical nightmare. Children in large families tend to get “lost in the crowd” as they get less individual attention. I was one of two children in my family, and found that quite satisfactory! My maternal grandmother came from a family of 13, and that was a major reason she had only 2 children (Mum and my uncle) – she saw the toll a large family took on her mother.
Letter sent in (not yet published):
With the world already overpopulated, the apparent trend for Australian women to have 3 or more children is dismaying. There seems to be no consideration of the environmental impact of each extra child in the parents’ decision. One more does make a difference!