Have a Baby! Win Money and Prizes! (Whaaaat?)

4585009947_0d8db2c05d_sIn my book —The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree— I tell a story about the time when my (by then, married) ex tried to talk me into having a baby with him by offering me lots of money, a live-in nanny, and a new apartment.  (Spoiler alert:  I didn’t do it.)

It was a crazy proposition, that was attractive for a brief moment. Fortunately, I came to my senses really quickly.  I didn’t want a kid (especially with a married guy) and even an appealing offer that would enhance my lifestyle couldn’t talk me into it.

So, I was amused to read an article in New York Magazine about countries around the world that are “incentivizing” their folks to have more babies.  In the United States, the fertility rate is at a 90-year low, which means that Americans are not producing enough offspring to maintain the current population.  This is true for many other countries, as well.

Some of these countries now have some pretty creative programs in place to 850convince their residents to “get busy” and make more babies.  Here are a few of my favorites:

*  Russia’s Ulyanovsk region has declared September 12 the Day of Conception. People are given a day off work for the express purpose of having sex.  If a baby is produced, the couple becomes eligible to win cash prizes, a car, or a new refrigerator.

*  A state-sponsored newspaper in Singapore printed an article with tips on how to have sex in the backseat of your car, including driving directions to “dark, secluded, romantic spots” to do it in.

*  The government of Taiwan is organizing speed-dating events to encourage people to find their true love and procreate.  Iran is doing something similar with its government-sanctioned matchmaking websites and dating centers.

*  In South Korea, the third Wednesday of every month is Family Day. By order of the Ministry of Health, offices must close by 7pm so workers and “go home and multiply.”

But I think they’re missing the real story here, which is why is the fertility rate decreasing? Apparently, women everywhere are learning what I’ve known for a long time: kids aren’t for everyone, and I wonder if a new kitchen appliance is enough to motivate?

BABY_CAR2I’m not sure people ought to be convinced to have more babies.  To me, if you have to think about it and you need motivating, maybe you don’t really want a baby.  Nevertheless, I’m thinking “let’s have a little fun with this.” What  innovative and fun ways might the U.S.  come up with to get more people to make babies?  What would it take to convince you to have a baby –either your first or another, if you’re already a mother?




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12 Responses to Have a Baby! Win Money and Prizes! (Whaaaat?)

  1. hdonovan says:

    A lobotomy.

  2. sarahemily says:

    In one of my favorite sci-fi book series, they have “uterine replicators” so the babies are grown outside of the woman’s body in these big tanks, of sorts… The woman gets to go do her thing and then go pick up the baby 9 months later when it’s ready. This would *definitely* be one of the pre-requisites for me to even consider having a child. But honestly, even with that and all the riches in the world, I wouldn’t want to have a child unless I wanted to have a child, ya know?

  3. Goddiva says:

    Let’s see: the Goddesses must create the perfect male ( for me) to my specifications. I will require millionaire status. A house big enough that allows me to tune out the sound of a crying child. I require a cute chubby well behaved baby who will grow to either meet or exceed my expectations. I am honest enough w/ myself to know I am not the kind of person who “loves you anyway”. A plastic surgery fund, guaranteed no stretch marks, no saggy boobs (Breastfeed?! I’d rather have a my lady parts removed w/ a dull pocket knife!!). My vajayjay WILL NOT turn into something to be determined by scientists. Two nannies. A parent stand in for PTA meetings & children activities Puhleeze, I’ve got shit to do and places I’d rather be. The parent stand in can have the contractions….hell do the delivery. Can you tell I do not have or want children? Yep, the government think eradicating terrorism is hard they haven’t tried to convince this
    woman to breed NOW that’s a losing battle.

  4. Nissa says:

    Maybe if they paid for a full time nanny, maid and cook for 18 years and let me pick who the daddy would be. I’m thinking George Clooney, Colin Firth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp would be very, very busy.

  5. Dana says:

    I have two 17 year-olds. I’d have to have a huge incentive to breed again, but I’d do it for: $2 million, 2 nannys, 2 chefs, 1 physical trainer, and 2 chauffeurs.

  6. Megan says:

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone bring this up yet. The world is on a course for eventual over-population. If humanity continues to multiply, we will eventually run out of room and resources on this planet. Mind you, that’s going to take hundreds of years – but what’s a few hundred years in the history of the world? The more we multiply now, the more will be around to multiply later when the resources are strained. Perhaps we should consider the fact that evolution is lending us a hand here.

  7. Noca says:

    Author Robert Heinlein predicted this in his Howard Families series, but there it was paying people with naturally longed lived relatives to get busy and make babies who would also be longed lived. After not too many generations of this we have people living 300+ years. Sadly the long lived people who came out of this experiment were still poor at managing our natural resources and the earth was destroyed. Hopefully he’s wrong about the last part there.

  8. Leah says:

    I am the second of three. There are two family legends about why I have a little brother (aside from the story of his actual conception, which is also funny). The first is that my mom went to a Hadassah (Jewish ladies’) luncheon where the speaker said the Jewish people weren’t reproducing fast enough to replace those that had been lost in the Holocaust (as a grad student, I heard the same thing from the mouth of a professor and wondered if it had been the same guy). The second is that my mom wanted two and my dad wanted three, so my mom asked my dad to stop traveling. My dad said he couldn’t do that and still support the family, so my mom asked for a TV for the kitchen. I’m glad she caved, since my little brother is one of my favorite people in the whole world, but when I heard that story I couldn’t believe that the tiny TV been enough to convince her to bring another person into the world!

  9. Ms.Sasser says:

    That is insane! What about all the children who are already here being abused and in foster homes?!%$!

    • Goddiva says:

      Ms. Sasser,

      I work in social services & I’ve got stories that will make you want to gather masses of people to start a counter movement. Women who don’t want children are questionned constantly yet those who breed are congratulated regardless if they are drug addicted, mentally ill, physically abusive, chronically unemployed prostitutes who have an attraction to and constantly procreate w/ woman beating, drug dealing pedophiles. It may seem like an exaggeration but this is a reality of the population I work w/ but what’s more common are those people who treat their kids like an outdated fashion trend or they are more concerned w/ being friendsand are not parenting but are “Peerenting”

  10. Janine says:

    You joke about winning money to breed? Australia has had something called a “baby bonus” for a few years now – a series of payments adding up to more than US$5000 per baby, even stillborn babies. Does it work? You betcha it does. Money gifts always work, but then our country can barely afford that option, let alone other less affluent nations, and it’s child-free taxpayers like me who are coughing up for it, grudgingly. I always owe big-time at tax time, despite my modest income.

    Those other ideas are far more sexy. Go Forth And Multiply Day. I have a lot of days I feel like declaring that… today’s one of ’em!

    You definitely made the right decision, Eleanore. In addition, are these tantalizing promises written up in a contract? Unlikely. And what a trustworthy guy…not! I had a guy keen on getting me up the duff too and weirdly, I found out he too was married. Is this a male ego thing? I find it bizarre, but then he was bizarre. Also Italian. However, since I couldn’t even depend on the clown turning up or messaging me to say he couldn’t, I could hardly rely on him to help support a child. And what was that other thing? Oh yeah, I didn’t actually WANT a child.

    I don’t buy the whole thing about plummeting birthrates being a huge issue. Hello, immigration! I guess governments figure that paying bonuses or offering incentives is cheaper than keeping poor under-educated migrants on welfare, but really, if we’re all that desperate to fill in the blanks, allow more migrants. In our case, that’s typically Asian migrants – the Asian population has exploded here to the point where it’s now ridiculous to characterise the typical Aussie as white caucasian. Our future is in fact Eurasian. Many are well educated, skilled migrants, so let more in. Solution.

    Myself and 2 of my siblings did not breed, but my younger sisters are more than making up for that. One has 5 kids (that’s $25,000, thank you very much!) and another has 1, 1 on the way, and still counting. No need to panic, world.

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