Blogging NPR: Competitive Birthing

Blogging NPR: Competitive Birthing

Carrie McBride
Aug 17, 2007

Are babies the new Birkin Bag? Calling large families the hottest fashion trend among the wealthy, NPR reporter Tovia Smith talks with some affluent moms about the new way to compete with the Joneses.

Her report is mostly anecdotal conversations with mothers, but the perceived trend is backed up by census data showing that the number of higher-income families having three or more children has risen by nearly 30% in the past ten years, something demographic analyst Peter Francese calls "unprecedented...and completely counter to 100 years of history."

Reversing the historical trend of large families coming from the poor and uneducated classes, having a large family now requires a lot of money. Francese calls it "the ultimate luxury in America today."

So why are the affluent having such big broods? The story suggests a few possibilities. Momzillas author, Jill Kargman (about to have her third baby), suggests that career women who decide to be stay-at-home moms transfer their ambitions into "competitive birthing" and being perfect super moms. Other moms told NPR that having lots of children helps validate their decision to leave the workforce. Administrators at an exclusive pre-school remark that money and the help it can buy in terms of nannies, housekeepers, potty training consultants, etc. affords the rich the ability to have large families without preventing mothers from going to the gym or sacrificing a social life.

Nowhere in the piece are fathers mentioned - as if moms are making the decision to procreate all by themselves. Listen to the story here.

What do you make of all this? Just another contribution to mom-bashing or a trend you've noticed, too? Is 4 the new 2?

Talk amongst yourselves.

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