Ah, autumn, season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and … a fucktonne of new babies. As Keats might have said if he’d been friends with my friends. I am not kidding. Forget spring being the time when new life bursts forth, September is baby boomtime. In the last few weeks, four good friends have added to their families, and there are another three due imminently, not to mention the handful of acquaintances whose new offspring find their way into my social media feeds.
My life is currently a never-ending cycle of liking new baby pictures on Facebook, buying and sending “Congratulations on your new baby!” cards, buying and sending gifts for new babies, and furiously noting down dates of birth and names of new babies to ensure that I don’t look like a thoughtless, uncaring friend when, at Christmas, I see them all en masse and have to remember who’s who, and who’s whose. (It was fine when they only had one each, but now I have friends who have four children – that’s a LOT of names to remember.)
I was musing to a friend how weird it was that it’s always this time of year – September two years was exactly the same, a bundle / litter / phalanx (there was no consensus about the collective noun for a group of babies when I looked it up) of new babies.
“Well you know why, don’t you?” she said. “Everyone wants a September baby because they’re the oldest in their school year, thus cleverest and sportiest and all that sort of thing.” I was agape. Partly because I didn’t even think this was a thing. But apparently it is. Because of the way that school years cut off, a September baby is highly desirable, a summer baby, quite the opposite.
In fact on one friend’s new baby pic on Facebook, among the usual “Congratulations, he’s gorgeous” posts were two others: “Clever girl, you avoided the dreaded late August baby trap” and “Well done, oldest in his class!” REALLY?
Apparently so. Malcolm Gladwell flagged it in his books – he would though, wouldn’t he – and other studies have found August babies to be less likely to go to university blah blah blah. Frankly I’m not really sure I believe any of it – not that I don’t think it’s a factor, but is it more important than birth order, or how your parents raise you or whatever? As aunt to a terribly advanced August baby (no really she is, verified by independent sources, not just me), I find it hard to believe the month she was born is going to hold her back.
All that aside, who the actual fuck are these insanely organised people who have such forethought and control over their reproductive organs and fertility that they can PLAN a September baby? And equally who are the loons who lament having a summer baby – seriously people, a little perspective please.
Should one of my frozen oocytes ever become a pregnancy, I’d be over the fucking moon no matter what my due date. Although I would rather it wasn’t born at Christmas, for its sake and mine – and of course the fact that it might be mistaken for Jesus, it being pretty much a virgin birth and all that (nope, no news yet on potential fathers for said oocytes).
Which brings me, rather neatly, to a more prosaic reason for the current baby boom, as proposed by my friend Dr M: “I just think that everyone gets on it at Christmas when the nights are drawing in, they’re off work and drinking.” Fair point. Well made.