The More the Merrier

Name something besides celebrity status that the following couples have in common: Rhea Durham and Mark Wahlberg, Tory Spelling and Dean McDermott, and Victoria and David Beckham. Bingo! They each have a brood of 4 kids. Whatsup with large families?

A Big Brood

I just got another birth announcement from a lovely couple in my practice. Love hearing the news every time it happens. But this couple is a tad different. They had 5 children and then he had a vasectomy. Five years later, they wanted more children and he had a vasectomy reversal by his vasectomist, but it failed. He saw me and I repeated the procedure and it worked. And apparently it has worked quite well…the announcement they sent was for their 4th child…after the reversal!

Super Size

In a “two-kid country” like ours, super sized families are a source of fascination–and always have been. Witness new reality shows like “19 Kids and Counting” and “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” or older shows like “Eight is Enough” or “The Brady Bunch.” And don’t forget that classic movie “Cheaper by the Dozen.” I’m sure you’re too young to remember, but did you know that after WWII, in the 1950s, American women had an average of 4 kids? It’s also been known for years that big broods run in families: women who have lots of sibs tend to have lots of kids. Honestly, large families are as American as apple pie.

Megafamily Truths

Knowing how incredibly fun loving and laid back the parents of large families can be, I spent some time researching how they make it work. Here’s what I found:

  • “Parenthood goes more smoothly with experience: Going from no kids to one kid is the hardest transition. By the time the fourth came around, it was like, ‘Welcome to the family.’”
  • “Everywhere I look I see someone I love.”
  • “Spending time with kids happens, but hovering does not.”
  • “Children are a kind of wealth, just not the kind of wealth our society tends to focus on.”
  • “Other people have things, we have children.”
  • “You don’t have to be wealthy to raise lots of kids — you just have to redefine what’s really necessary.”
  • “Smaller house, older cars, and fewer fancy vacations. Lots of camping.”
  • “Large families are some of the greenest families.” Hand me downs are big.”
  • “Lifestyles are expensive, kids are not.”

As I have witnessed through half their family building spree, my couple-that-could (and did) are happier and more fulfilled than ever. Maybe there really is peace in chaos. And maybe there is stability in disorder. And beauty, and fulfillment. Lesson learned.

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Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor

View posts by Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor
Dr. Paul Turek is an internationally known thought leader in men’s reproductive and sexual health care and research. A fellowship trained, board-certified physician by the American Board of Urology (ABU), he has received numerous honors and awards for his work and is an active member in professional associations worldwide. His recent lectures, publications and book titles can be found in his curriculum vitae.

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