If it seems like everyone around you is pregnant – maybe you’re even one of the pregnant ones! – you’re not crazy. More and more people are having kids, and many are having their third or fourth child. In 2007, American women gave birth to 4.3 million babies – that’s more than ever before! And of those 4.3 million, more than a quarter of those babies were born to women either on their third or fourth child. An article in Women’s Health points out this doesn’t mean we’re all rushing to ensure our buns are in the oven, or that family size is growing exponentially – in fact, the average number of children per American family is still close to two.
But this birthing trend can reveal some issues that are less than warm-and-fuzzy. The problem may actually start with those feel-good hormones people experience during pregnancy along with the attention from friends and family. But wanting to re-capture those feelings, even subconsciously, can make for an unhealthy outcome – and an unhealthy relationship with your baby.
According to psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, M. D, “Women who are obsessed with being pregnant are literally filling an emptiness inside of them, just as alcoholics and drug addicts use substances to fill a psychological void.” It makes sense: we all want to feel less lonely, and for many, babies help them do just that. And this “fix” can easily become a cycle – when an infant becomes a more independent toddler the mom may search to fill the void again by having a baby.
These “bumpaholic” behaviors can ao be traced back feelings of abandonment by their own parents, which in turn creates that desire to not be alone or lonely. We have a biochemical craving for connection, as I mention in my book Financial Infidelity, that spurs us on to want to connect with the important people in our lives. When those needs aren’t met by our parents, we can try to overcompensate for that as we become parents ourselves, by looking to create a large family. Or it can be a reflection of the abandonment people feel from their significant other, or from life in general. As our society becomes busier and busier we pull away more and more from the relationships that should be an integral part of our lives. Creating a baby with someone not only allows us to feel close to that person, but gives us someone to lavish our affection, emotion and energy on.
These are all dangerous reasons for bringing kids into the world! Just as alcoholics must examine their relationship to alcohol and what drives them into the destructive habit, so too must a mom looking for fulfillment through pregnancy look at her reasons for doing so.