Are you suddenly really wanting a[nother] baby, and not exactly sure where those feelings are coming from? Researchers call it “baby fever.”
They’re not quite sure yet whether it’s distinct from your biological clock. Of course, the biological clock is a purely physical, hormonal drive, while “baby fever” may be influenced by societal factors.
The concept is a little hard to pin down, says Gary Brase, who teaches psychology at Kansas State. “Baby fever is normal, it varies a lot, and people don’t have to feel it.”
To find out more, Brase and his team of researches conducted some studies!!
Study #1: Who is more likely to really want to have a baby, and rank that highest on their list? Women or men?
Well, at the risk of being stereotypical, you’re probably not too shocked to learn that the answer is, women!
But this doesn’t mean that men don’t get it! Because, Brase’s next step was to ask parents how having their first baby affected their baby fever.
These next results are a little more interesting…Women tended to answer that this itch for a baby went away after having one…while most MEN answered that they got baby fever AFTER their first baby!! (Maybe it has something to do with not having to give birth… 😉)
Anyway, speaking of who wants babies, Study #2: What influences some people to have the urge to nurture, while others don’t? And what causes a SUDDEN ONSET of baby fever?
Well, in yet another surprising twist, it turned out that people’s desire to fill a societal role was not an influence!
Brase (and his wife!) surveyed women in college to see how much they believed in filling traditional gender roles. Then, they asked the women whether they wanted kids.
The husband and wife duo expected that more traditional women were more likely to be the ones to want children…but actually, it turned out that most everyone wanted children, regardless of their beliefs about womanhood and gender roles. Maybe that actually isn’t so surprising. Most women do find themselves wanting to have kids and plus, being a mother doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice other goals!!
So then, the big question: What makes some people want to have babies and others not? (If the influence of society and culture isn’t the main reason?)
Brase ended up going with “adaptational theory”…which is his fancy way of saying, it depends on a woman’s experiences with babies! If you’ve had negative experiences with babies (say if you were around a LOT of baby crying as a kid or teen…colicky sibling, maybe?) you are less likely to want one of your own!! But if you’ve recently seen or held a smiling, cooing baby, then you’re way more likely to get “baby fever”!
Not exactly a groundbreaking discovery, but I found it interesting that negative vs. positive experiences can affect how nurturing a woman (or man!) is later in life.
Steve & I are officially HALFWAY through our pregnancy!🎉🙏🏻❤️🤰🏻First and foremost – thank you to everyone who has…
For me, my experience with potentially not being able to have children motivated the feelings of “baby fever”…So that type of experience can definitely be factored in as well and result in some pretty difficult emotions. But the immense gratitude I felt when my “fever” was broken by a healthy, successful pregnancy made it all worth it!!
Summary: Yes, women are more likely to have baby fever and it’s biological. But also, your experiences and upbringing play a big part…certainly a bigger part than how “traditional” you are. Oh, and don’t count your husband out from catching the fever, either! 😉