Here’s some news to cheer those back-to-work blues. Today is National Baby-Making Day, the single day of the year when the most babies in the UK are conceived. This makes no sense at all because today is empirically awful.
However, the maths don’t lie. The most popular birthday is 26 September, the average length of a pregnancy is 38 weeks, and 38 weeks before 26 September is... tonight. At 10:36pm, according to research by ChannelMum, 71% of couples attempting to conceive will be having sex.
Statistics are statistics and you can’t argue with objective facts, but anyone who feels horned-up today is an absurd, deranged, potentially dangerous individual. January, especially early January, is surely more about gritting your teeth and putting one foot in front of the other than it is about passion and excitement.
Your insides still aren’t right from spending the past week ploughing through all that leftover cheese from your overexcited Big Christmas Shop. You forced a whole Stilton down your throat at lunchtime on New Year’s Eve in misguided preparation for Veganuary and your insides are still baffled. You’re now consumed with regret at signing up for it... and Dry January, too.
Why did you decide to do both of them (and spend all of December showing off about it)? Why alter so much of your life at once? Why not stagger these things? What the hell were you thinking? What a dreadful, cursed fool you were. A fool who’s now depressed and ravaged with fever-dreams of alcoholic Bovril or a big pint of Kronenbourg with a sausage bobbing in it.
The festive period is over, you’re broke and exhausted, and there’s a tree in your house that doesn’t belong there, an eight-foot problem you’ll have to deal with. At some point. Payday is light years away, your bins are overflowing with the detritus of a celebration that feels like it happened last century, and January and February stretch ahead of you like Narnia, where it’s always winter but never Christmas.
None of this screams “erotic”. If you’re even awake at 10:36 tonight, never mind consumed with desire, you deserve a badge.
Maybe that’s it though. The reality of baby-making is often more about “right, let’s do this” than being swept off your feet. For a lot of families, conceiving is far from easy. Perhaps that same spirit of “grit your teeth and get it done” that we apply to our first day back at work also applies in the bedroom.
A September birth is desirable for a lot of parents, as it makes your child one of the oldest in the school year, which can be a big advantage. If you’re trying to conceive based on that calculation, you’ve given the whole thing a lot of thought with enough scheduling involved that the entire endeavour is more about entries in spreadsheets than petals on bedsheets.
Between planning everything to the nth degree, reading weird folklore that sounds like nonsense but seem worth a try – wearing socks, sleeping in green sheets and eating McDonald’s fries after sex have all been claimed to aid conception – not to mention the ever-popular cycling-in-the-air gravity assist, this may not be the most romantic sexual experience in your relationship.
Good luck, then, to everyone that manages to have sex on this rotten, rotten day, and who can cast the drudgery of early January out of their minds long enough to unite for a few fleeting minutes in order to bring life into the world.
Go forth and multiply.