Motherhood may be contagious among friends

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A new study reveals that motherhood appears to be contagious among friends, and women are more likely to want children at the same time as their friends. The research, published in the American Sociological Review, mentions that a woman’s decision to have a child is not independent of her surroundings. Ultimately, pressure is being blamed for the common trend of multiple female friends being pregnant at the same time.

Society’s pressure to have children

The study tracked more than 1,000 women, and researchers discovered that society’s pressure to have children played a role in the women’s decisions. The pressure usually came from friends and family, but many women created their own stress by constantly comparing their lives to their friends. If their close friends were starting to have children, they felt the need to follow the pattern because of anxiety about being left behind.

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Benefits of friends having children at the same time

Researchers found that motherhood may be contagious, but it does provide some benefits for friends who decide to have children at the same time. First, they can share their experiences and provide help during challenging times. Second, they can instantly create play groups and study groups among trustworthy people to ease the stress of parenthood. Additionally, they can support each other through pregnancies and childrearing without jeopardizing their friendships.

The current research focused on social networks and their impact on a woman’s decision to have children, so the study was not concerned with hormones or other molecules. Some scientists have suggested that pregnancy hormones may influence other women, and this type of research continues to be at the forefront of understanding human fertility. Nevertheless, the impact of friendship cannot be ignored on women who are considering the option of having children for the first time or are growing their families.

Image: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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