The East Coast was once again hit with a major snowstorm this week, and do you know what that means?
The Paternity Court dockets will be filled to the rim with all new cases come November and into December.
Hey, it happens – supposedly. At least that is what the word has been for years around maternity wards: Major disruptive events like blizzards and blackouts cause a spike in birth rates nine months later.
And when you kind of think about it, it would make logical sense. Picture it: It’s Wednesday evening in Philadelphia. The weather man, a short curly-haired Jewish guy in a bow tie, nervously stammers his way through weather maps and projections, which call from anywhere between eight inches to as much as over a foot of snow. You sit on your couch, shaking your head in disgust. The last snowstorm, which was only a few days ago, was a commuter’s nightmare and made you late to work. And the city has yet to plow or salt your block from the first foot of snow. Needless to say, you are not going into work tomorrow. Then the telephone rings.
It’s [insert his name here, but for the sake of this example, let’s call him Serge Ibaka…]. He’s calling to check in on you and inquires about your plans during the potential house-barricading storm. You shrug and tell Serge that season two of House of Cards on Netflix is on deck. He says cool and offers to bring Chinese food, a bottle of the Goose, as well as those little mint-flavored wafer cookies you like. You think about it for a second, weighing the pros and cons of his invitation. There is no doubt that Serge, who has just broken up with his girlfriend – some chick who thinks she can sing like Beyoncé – is likely on the rebound. Lord knows, you don’t want that kind of drama in your life. However, in the background, the bow tie-wearing weather man starts forecasting strong winds, thunder and lightening during the snowstorm. Last time that happened, the lights went out. No way are you trying to be in a dark house during a blizzard both cold and lonely. You decide to take the company.
Nine months later, the bottom of your feet are gripping the stirrups with all of your might as you push out, to the world, the next first draft pick and future MVP for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Of course, that is a fictionalized account. However, there is some evidence, which suggests that a baby boom does happen after major and disruptive events. According to one study in the British Medical Journal, birth rates in Barcelona have spiked by as much as 16 percent after favorite teams made championship winning goals. In 2011, hospitals all across Illinois reported a spike in birth nine months after a massive blizzard snowed in the entire state. Birth rates in Britain reached the highest levels in 20 years nine months after the January storms of 2010, which produced the UK’s heaviest snowfall in 50 years, according to the Daily Mail UK.
And last year, CNN reported that hospitals along Superstorm Sandy’s destructive path saw jumps in their birth rates in some hospitals by as much as 33 percent. All of this likely gives serious credibility to the idea that when Mother Nature comes knocking, the beds will be rocking. However, in that same article, CNN also confirms that other hospitals in areas affected by Sandy had not experienced any increases. Likewise, an expert, who has been studying birth rates for decades, told the news station that the evidence of a disruptive event and baby boom is still inconclusive.
Matter of fact, the New York Times reported in 2002 that despite expectations, the baby boom after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks failed to ever materialize. Nor did it happen in New Zealand, where birth rates in one earthquake-ravaged town actually dipped by almost nine percent. Experts there attributed the decrease in birth rates to quake stress. And despite popular consensus, the baby boom allegedly spurred on by the New York City blackout of 1965 (which is also cited as proof that calamity increase birth rates) is nothing more than urban legend.
Most experts attribute the popular troupe about such baby boom spikes to nothing more than romantic fantasy of what is likely to happen when two virile and consenting adults are trapped together against their will. I can definitely see that. But then again, today is Valentine’s Day, and with Philly still closed and the road still impassable, it will be interesting to see how this wintry hell we have been experiencing on the East Coast will fall in the baby boom debate. Oh, and for the record, if ever I get snowed in with Serge Ibaka, best believe that baby boom will be no figment of anyone’s imagination.