Has it ever occurred to you to question why the average UK family has 2.4 children? **
I used to believe that most families “chose” to stop at 2 (because conception is such a simple, plannable business), and that people like me who could easily be persuaded into a family of about 7 probably pushed the average up a bit.
Now I know the facts. That amusing 0.4 of a child isn’t anything to do with the vagaries of mathematical averaging. It’s actually a third child who, after the energy and ingenuity required to produce the second, never gained quite enough momentum to become a reality (it had to be 0.4 because 0.5 of a child could have been rounded up into a whole one).
We have some serious evolving still to do before we get the reproductive thing right. There is something intrinsically wrong with a system that makes toddlers so utterably adorable that you desperately want another against all reasonable logic (tantrums? potty training? childbirth…again?) but then makes the average child a sort of human black hole, where time and energy are sucked in at a rate which makes the mechanics of baby making far beyond the parents. There’s more than one reason for secondary infertility.
I’d like to suggest an alternative point-based system – 0.1 of a child for every time you both manage to spend 2 hours in bed without an accompanying child or early start for work. Bonus points for any time spent in bed before midnight or after 5am. Ideally you would want to be able to build up your points separately and then spend them together, a bit like Nectar points. Maybe generous friends and family could contribute their points if they didn’t need them? It would probably still take most parents an average of 18 months to conceive another child, but charting your progress would no longer take thermometers and guess work.
All in favour….?
** I have no idea whether the 2.4 children statistic still stands, but I won’t be letting that get in the way of a good theory