For most families in China, a major change to the national family planning policy is dramatically altering their lives.
The central government's recent decision at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee will allow families to have two children if one of the parents is an only child. Prior to the amendment, couples could only have two children if both of the parents were the only child in their families.
Cheng Wei, a 29-year-old woman from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, was on a business trip to Beijing when news about the government's decision broke last month.
An accountant at a private company in Hangzhou for the past three years, Cheng said she seldom keeps track of political news. It was her husband, Liu Jian, who called about the announcement.
"What does this mean?" asked the mother, who has a 3-year-old daughter, over the phone.
"It means we have a choice to make," answered her husband.
Cheng is the only child in her family and Liu has two older brothers. Having two children has never been an option for the couple.
"I have never seriously thought about this because it seems too difficult in the past, though I do want to have two children," Cheng said.
A family discussion was soon held in Cheng's home, during which "all the family members became excited about having a newborn," she said.
"My parents are very willing to help raise the kids because they are still in good health," she said. "And they've helped raise my daughter, so they've got experience."
Cheng is one of many families who are considering another child. The National Health and Family Planning Commission predicts that the amendment will result in 1.5 to 2 million newborns.
But a Dec 19 survey from the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences shows that in Beijing, about 51.5 per cent of families prefer to have only one child, while 38.3 per cent of those surveyed want to have two children.