Family fortunes

According to a recent LivingwithKids survey, a whopping 1 in 6 British couples have put their baby plans on hold as a result of the recession, which could lead to a 'baby bust' as birth rates fall.  

Recently I was talking to psychologist Corinne Sweet about the effect of the credit crunch on relationships.  'One of the biggest problems for couples is that you have to put big plans on hold,' she told me. 'It takes away your freedom. So if if you were going to move house, for example, you may have to stay put, and if you were going to try for a baby, you may have decided not to.'

There's no denying that raising babies – and children – can be expensive. But I'm sure we all know families with very little money who are as happy as The Brady Bunch, and others who are fairly well off but so dysfunctional they make the Mitchells look like the Waltons.

Maybe it's no coincidence, then, that the survey also revealed that 4 per cent of British couples are actually bringing their baby plans forward as a result of the credit crunch. As Corinne points out, 'don't forget our parents and grandparents lived through recessions. And in a longer term it may actually improve our relationships, because it gets us back to basics and reminds us what's real.'

written by Liz Jarvis