A growing population is a blessing so long as everyone joins in, argues Melanie McDonagh
By Melanie McDonagh
When I was born, I was, though I didn't know it at the time, part of the great Sixties baby boom. It was quite inescapable in Ireland. I was the sole only child in my class – everyone I knew came from families of around five. A proper big family had 12 children, which was the case with one friend of mine. When her grandmother was asked how many grandchildren there were now, she'd answer: "Twelve, at least last time I counted." It meant that, whenever you went to play in someone's house, you'd always find yourself being shushed up because you might wake the baby.
And you know what? It was good fun being around big families, even though those children were reared by mothers for whom family life was synonymous with hard labour. By definition, a society that has lots of children is fundamentally optimistic.