For about a year before I got pregnant, I had the fever. The baby fever, that is. And I had it bad. My ovaries would ache when I saw a baby. My eyes would moisten when I saw diaper commercials. I gravitated towards the baby clothes at Target, cooing over the little socks and shoes. My husband, who adored kids, thought I was positively nuts. But I wasn’t the only one with the fever — many of my friends had it, too.
Heck, there’s a specialized chat room acronym for the phenomenon: BOTB. That’s Babies On The Brain.
The question becomes: Is baby fever real? Is it biological? Is it socially-influenced? And do men get it, too?
In short: baby fever is real, and there are complex biological and social causes for it. And yes, men get it, too.
One Swedish study found that women are more likely to have babies if their coworkers have recently given birth. In fact, being ‘exposed’ to a child-bearing coworker increases the probability that a woman will get pregnant in the next 13-24 months (similar to the effect of lowering anticipated childcare costs by $10,000!). (Source)
This article on Salon.com pointed out that baby fever can also be caused by our culture’s general obsession with pregnancies, especially the way it is presented in gossip magazines.
A Finnish study found that 78.3% of women and 57.6% of men report experiencing baby fever. The author of the study, Anna Rotkirch, has this to say:
“The ‘default mode’ of the female body is to have experienced both nurturing and pregnancies by the early 20s… Longing for a baby can develop as a by-product of hormonal changes that evolved to prepare the woman for motherhood. Such changes could be induced by falling in love; the ‘nesting behavior’ related to settling down and starting to live with a partner; exposure to infants; and/or by the processes of aging.” (Source)
Interesting, to say the least. See, baby fever is real! And it’s not exclusive to women – men get it, too.