Why So Many Summer/Fall Babies?

The creation of a baby boom.


Are we having a baby boom? It seems like everyone we know is having babies within the next couple months. It shouldn't come as any surprise really. More babies are born in August and September than any other month of the year. This year, however, seems to be particularly productive. Is that because we just happen to know a lot of people who are in a baby-making stage of life or is it because last winter was one of the worst we've ever experienced?

It's no mystery that when the weather turns nasty, people get cozy. The power goes out and we light the candles, stoke the fireplace and spark up the romance. The heating bill gets out of control and we huddle under blankets, looking for alternate sources of warmth. Those long winter nights and festive holiday spirits toss people together in all kinds of creative ways. Nine months later - boom – August/September babies.

We see baby booms nine months after big elections, natural and manmade disasters too. In fact baby booms might be created more by current events than anything else. People comfort each other passionately during times of stress. There were a historic number of babies born nine months after 9/11 and they weren't the first generation to come out of wartime. The Baby Boomers are a record-breaking generation spawned in response to World War II. Lots of babies are conceived right before soldiers are deployed (perhaps in part so they'll leave a little part of themselves behind) and right after they come home and reunite with their wives.

What happened last fall and winter that pushed people into each other's arms?

- People got caught in tremendous storms that snowed in huge sections of the US and caused massive floods in Brazil, Venezuela and Australia.

- In December, a teenager in Wisconsin killed 23 of his fellow high school students. In January, Gabrielle Gifford was shot along with 16 others. These horrific tragedies inspired the country to recognize how fragile and interconnected our lives are.

- Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement and Sandra Bullock and Jesse James announced their split.

Here are a few of our favorite baby-making stories:

Anna was furious with her husband, Danny, because he'd forgotten to pay the gas bill and their heat was shut off. He'd forgotten the month before too, but managed to get a payment in right under the wire. This time, however, Danny hadn't taken care of the bill until it was too late. Anna couldn't understand why he was slacking on this important responsibility and they'd argued throughout one very cold night. It was during this argument, however, that they said a few things they'd never said before. Anna learned that Danny was trying to stagger bills because he thought he was about to be laid off. He was scared because jobs were scarce and he didn't know what to do. Danny learned that Anna interpreted his slacking on the bills as not caring about her needs. They talked. They listened. They understood each other in new ways. One thing led to another and...Anna is due in September.

Claire and Justin had the best Christmas ever. Most years they travelled back and forth to spend Christmas Eve with her family and Christmas day with his. Not once in five years of marriage had they ever spent Christmas doing their own thing. Last year, however, they ditched the family obligations, borrowed a friend's cabin and went skiing, just the two of them. When they returned to the cabin at night, they decorated a little pine tree just off their porch with ribbon, made a pan of lasagna, opened a bottle of wine and...Claire is due in September. Their moms aren't mad anymore that they blew off the family gatherings.

Rita and Rico didn't think they'd ever have children. Nearing 40, they'd done a few rounds of infertility treatments. None had worked out and it had depleted their savings. They'd talked about adoption, but decided instead, they'd save some money first. During the next couple years they shifted their focus away from babies and became live-in caregivers for Rita's much loved, but very fragile 80-year-old father. His health was poor and his mind was slipping and in a way, he filled a void in their life. Rita's dad died in their home last fall and on that night she and Rico cried themselves to sleep. It wasn't all crying though. Rita had her baby last week. It was a boy and they named him after her father.

When the world outside is sad, cold, hostile, stressful or chaotic, people respond with heat and tenderness at home. When it's time to party, to rejoice in the changing of the season and celebrate family and friends, we let the good times roll all the way into the bedroom. That's how babies get started with tears and laughter, tragedy and celebration, cold weather and warm, rosy glows.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to labornurse@fitpregnancy.com and it may be answered in a future blog post.

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