Read this article about two paths to marital happiness - either have no kids at all or have a whole bunch of them. Doing something in between apparently does not bode well for a couple's happiness. This is how the plight of folks such as myself is described :
Attempting to balance being an autonomous individual and a social animal produces a kind of incoherence that leads to misery. You're constantly confused and being pushed in different directions. You can't even explain to people who you are.
I find that to be a harsh indictment. In the modern world where a village is often lacking to help with the raising of our children, bringing up four or more of them is no walk in the park. One has to assume that one or both parents have to go to work to put food on the table -in either case, the time and energy required to raise the children is seriously diminished. I am not sure how a perpetually over-worked, at-capacity couple can have a great marriage - where would they find the time to nurture their relationship ?
The distinction between an autonomous individual and a social individual does not make sense either. To be a social animal (a parent) an adult has to be an autonomous individual first - they have to be functional and competent independently before they can take responsibility for any number of offspring. I am not sure that it is actually possible to be one or the other. As for the incoherence leading to misery - it could be argued that a social animal without a well developed autonomous individuality could be even more so and fall apart under the demands of parenting four or more children