September is the most popular birth month in Australia, according to new research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It confirms what many of us perhaps suspected; that the cheer of Christmas and New Year is also a fertile time for our country. They are the most popular conception dates.
The ABS analysis of births from 2007-2016 reveals that, of the four most common birthdays, three are in September (Sep 17, 23 and 24, which tied with Oct 1). As a rough measure, if you count back 38 weeks, we arrive at the Christmas holidays – Australia’s most popular period for making babies.
“These trends are similar in New Zealand, England and Wales, and the United States,” Beidar Cho, the ABS Director of Demography, said.
“More babies are likely to be conceived around the Christmas/New Year holidays, resulting in more babies born in September and October. Fewer babies are born on public holidays – possibly a result of doctors scheduling deliveries on non-public holidays.”
The least common birthdays are Christmas Day and February 29, which only occurs in leap years.
If we’re to believe the data, and we’ve no reason not to, then it would be safe to say that the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period is also a prolific time for unplanned pregnancies. Amidst the food and wine and fireworks, women fall pregnant and find themselves staring at a pregnancy test in February or March, at two lines and a year already thrown off kilter.
If Australia collected reliable abortion data, perhaps we’d find that there’s a surge of terminations in March and April, that of the 72,000+ abortions in Australia each year, many are clustered in these months. It wouldn’t surprise us. And South Australian figures do confirm a peak in March.
If you look at the number of births in Australia in 2016 (311,000) compared with the estimated number of abortions each year (72,000-75,000, based on SA and WA figures), then for every four pregnancies there is one abortion. And we’d say that’s a conservative figure.
On those three highest ranking September birth dates, 26,491 people born in 2007-2016 share birthdays; they were conceived in the Christmas-NY festivities. By my calculations, another 6,622 were denied a birthday, just for those three days. Their lives were cut short within the womb because the pregnancy was unplanned, inconvenient, too expensive, too ruinous to careers, a risk to the mother’s health, and a myriad other reasons.
What do we do with this information?
Let’s practice safe sex for a start.
Let’s keep our eyes open to the subtleties of friends in need.
Let’s not get so buried in the bustle of preparing and partying and even relaxing, that we fail to see the person in our midst who needs a truthful word, support, love.
Let’s throw some light into the darkness, reveal that even the most unplanned-for, unexpected things in life can be a blessing in disguise. The catalyst for meaningful change and an exciting new direction.
Let’s ensure that all those uniquely marvellous lives that had their beginnings in the joy of Christmas and New Year’s holidays are carried gently into 2018, so that they too can experience this crazy ol’ world.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!