Monday, June 27, 2011

A Rare Breed

Big families aren't common, that pretty standard knowledge.  Thats why we get stared at, comments made and why whole reality tv shows are filmed around us.  We are an oddity.  But what most people don't realize is that big families were always a rare breed. A common myth people believe is that if everyone were to give up birth control people would be popping out babies like rabbits.  That every woman would have dozens of kids.  That simply is not the case, it never has been the case.  Take for example the New York Times page, if you were to input our family you would see families like mine make up .0028% of the population (or 3,158  families) in the US today.  In 1900 families of 11 accounted for .1235% of the population.  Back before the pill and before abortion on demand.  Back before Women's Lib and the Baby Boom. 

So how is it possible that in the absence of birth control people weren't having huge families? Part of it was that there really was never an absence of birth control. It might not be as neat and tidy as taking a pill, getting a shot or a trip to the drug store, but there was birth control.  The other part is that its a myth.  Most women will not pop out baby after baby if she does not use birth control.  Sure, more women will have big families compared to what we have today, not that many more. Some women are more prone to Lactational Amenorrhea than others.  Some couples just don't have relations as often as other couples, and long separations for military deployment, traveling for work or just travel can hinder conceiving.  Stress and illness can disrupt fertility not to mention interest.  Even under the perfect conditions you are not guaranteed a pregnancy. 

So while I would love to think that in some point in time my family would be celebrated and accepted I have to realize that is probably not the case.  But I really hate that people use my family as an example of why they shouldn't give up their birth control.  As if every family would be like ours. 

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