My mother was clear about what a “baby-boomer” was , why the boom happened and that I was part of it. I was born in 1946 at the beginning of a short period of a high birthdate with, according to Mum, a very specific cause. My Dad had returned from the war after being liberated from Japanese imprisonment on VJ Day. When he got back in September 1945 Mum was pleased to see him. I was born a little over a year later.
In the Labour ward where my mother gave birth there were eighteen other births the same week – it was a very busy time. Of the eighteen babies seventeen were boys. My Mum explained – “God” she said (she was a bit religious) “is replacing all the men lost in the war with boy babies. It happened in 1919 as well”. That was the real Baby Boom – it lasted at the most until 1950 and it’s obvious why it happened even if you find my Mum’s gender bias explanation a tad fanciful.
The birthrate in the 1950s and 1960s may have been healthy but it wasn’t the real “Baby Boom” of happy memory. There was a good reason for the spike in births in the late 1940s and those of us who were part of it find it rather moving. The recent horrendous war was over – no better way to celebrate the peace than to have a family. The later breeding patterns in the 1950s and thereafter may have been healthy but the real “Baby Boom” of happy memory was earlier.