One Quarantine Future We Don't Have to Plan For

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Nobody really knows anything right now about what the future will look like after COVID-19. That includes the near term (will my favorite restaurants reopen?) and the long term (will my city still be the place that I loved before?). We are reasonably sure of one thing, though: There's almost certainly no coronavirus baby boom on the horizon.

That's the conclusion in Italy, at least, which was one of the earliest and hardest-hit nations in early 2020. A team of researchers from the University of Florence has just published a study revealing what nearly 1,500 Italians have taken from their experience with the pandemic; nearly 82 percent said they did not intend to conceive during lockdown. Almost 4 in 10 respondents had been planning on having children soon, but chose not to under the current circumstances. Nearly 60 percent were worried just about the health effects of pregnancy, birth, and early childcare during an outbreak of uncertain duration, but also of the economic effects of the larger shutdown.

In the United States, similar numbers would be no surprise. While those who can work from home are reporting increased happiness (in certain demographics), Americans overall have poor access to paid parental leave, while childcare can be one of a family's biggest ongoing costs. Getting moms to stay in their jobs isn't easy, through no fault of their own, and with the economy on such shaky ground already, it's no wonder future parents might choose to wait this one out.