Joanna Najfeld, Polskie Radio, August 13, 2007
Statistics show a significant upward trend in the number of babies being born in Poland. The generation born in the early 1980s baby boom start their families and a lot of couples over 30 decide to have babies too.
Demographers confirm it. In 2006, for the first time in ten years, Poland had a positive natural growth. 374 thousand babies were born, 10% more than the year before. All the statistics seem to suggest that 2007 will be even better. Gynecologist Ewa S´lizien´—Kuczapska works in one of the major Warsaw hospitals.
‘We can see really there is an increase in births. We have never before had so many ladies pregnant. There are many young women, but also more mature ones, also with different health problems, in vitro clients and of course some of the women decide to have more than one or two. They already have four or five children and they still want to have more.’
Two main groups account for the rise in births in Poland. One is the people born during the baby boom of the early 1980s. This young man got married a year ago when he and his fiance were 21. Today they are awaiting a baby:
‘I think waiting forever does not make sense. We have each other, we have jobs to support the two of us, so we can afford a baby. This is natural and we are very happy.’
The other group responsible for the baby boom are those over 30 years old. They decide on having a baby now, when they have already built their professional careers. Magda was an active career woman. Then, at 30 years old she gave birth to Kalinka and then to Maja and Marcel. Now, at 35, she is pregnant with the fourth child.
‘After my studies, the most important thing was to get a job and to earn money. I started my professional career in a big multinational firm as a junior and up to the manager. When I was almost 30, we decided to have a child. This completely changed my way of seeing the world around. When my first child was born, we decided to have another one, because it was a miracle, something amazing. We understood that career, money . . nothing is as important as the family—love that we can give and love that we receive back. After my second child we decided that I quit this job. And it was a very hard decision because I earned 2/3 of the family budget. We decided to quit this and have a bigger family. This was really the most important decision in my life and I’ve never regretted this decision. Now we’ve got three children and we are expecting another one. Definitely we’re not done, we haven’t said the last word.’
Although she started late, Magda is a happy mother of 4, but as doctor Ewa S´lizien´—Kuczapska points out, from the medical point of view, postponing the first pregnancy too long may not always be the best idea.
‘So many young people are afraid of pregnancy at the beginning and they take pills. They never even know that they can have an infertility problem in the future. When they find that finally they are ready to have a family, sometimes it is late. Maximum fertility is between 25 years old. After 35 years old, the fertility is really going down. Those patients can have complications. Hypertension, eclampsia, diabetis, hypotrophia . . . many problems of this kind which are not so easy to solve.’
Anna Siewruk of the Workshops of Sociological Analysis points to some other factors that make the current Polish baby boom possible:
‘We observe economic growth in Poland, the number of jobless people decreases, it is now much easier to obtain a bank loan for your own apartment. We can also speak about psychological factors. The woman sees that her female friends get pregnant and are doing fine. She goes “If they can do it, I can do it too.” There is one interesting observation from big cities in Poland. Students get pregnant more often. And these pregnancies are not accidental, but very conscious. These young students hope that when they finish their studies, they will be more credible than women with no kids, no family. The employer may be willing to choose a woman with a stable family situation who managed to study and have a baby at the same time.’
It has also been noted, that gone are the days of fancy soap opera names for newborns. Polish parents today tend to choose more traditional names for their children, such as Ann, Mary, Magdalene, Peter, Paul or Thomas.