When COVID hit us in 2020, people predicted a new baby boom. After all, with so many people forced to stay home together, wouldn’t they be having more sex? Wouldn’t people emerge from lockdown preggers or showing off new babies?
So far, it hasn’t turned out that way. Birth rates actually declined for a while. The surge may still be coming, but maybe not. Things are different from when we had baby booms after the Great Depression and World War II. Pandemic or not, people are already having fewer babies in many parts of the world. Although couples may have been spending more time together in 2020 and 2021, perhaps working remotely on their laptops side by side at home and maybe even having more sex than usual (did you?), there are lots of reasons why they might keep using the birth control, including:
- Fear of illness. What if they got COVID while pregnant? What if they got very sick and died?
- Lack of access to medical care. Remember when you couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment unless you were dying, when you had to jump through many hoops to get in the door of a clinic or hospital, when non-emergency procedures were canceled or postponed?
- Fertility treatment centers closed or greatly curtailing their work
- Financial upheaval, people losing their jobs, businesses closing, nobody sure what would happen
- Adoption agencies closing or limiting services
- Bad news every day: illness, climate change, mass shootings, war–why bring a child into such a frightening world?
- Watching friends and relatives with children struggle with lack of childcare and remote schooling
- The difficulty of dating during a pandemic
The isolation period has pretty much ended, although we know it could come again. Things have reopened, but COVID is far from over. In fact, there’s a new booster shot coming soon. More people I know have gotten the disease lately than did before, although fewer are being hospitalized and dying.
You know all of this. What I want to ask is how it affected the baby discussions at your house. Did you and your partner talk about changing your plans to have or not have babies? Or did COVID make no difference at all? Did the troubles of the last few years just cement your partner’s refusal to procreate? Do you know anyone having pandemic babies?
Let’s talk about it in the comments. I really want to hear what you have to say.
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