According to Baby Center data from 2013, more babies are born in August than any other month. The second, third, and fourth most popular birthday months were July, October, and September, in that order. What can I say — we get cold, we make babies — it makes sense.
But August has a new distinction. Recent research out of the University of Washington establishes that August is also one of the two highest months for divorces in the US (March is the second highest).
In Simon & Garfunkel’s 1966 April Come She Will (also of The Graduatefame) masterfully and succinctly written by Paul Simon, we are walked through the months of the year. April is ripe and promising as are the warm and lusty spring and summer months that follow, until August. “August, die she must” I always thought this was about the end of the summer season, longer days, less bounty and frivolity — more structure and chilly winds blowing in.
But maybe not.
We lose so much in August
We lose our Identity:
From childless to parent (and according to this new research from married to single).
We lose our children:
We send them (with such trepidation) off to kindergarten, middle school, high school and later to college with increasingly higher bills and expectations — but the loss of our children to the expected and natural course of independence is a loss and a shift none-the-less.
We lose ourselves:
The pulse and precision of our work-self takes on a new, less familiar groove. The former competent master of our career gives way to a new creature. We are on our back, on the bottom of a learning curve, sometimes lonely and even lost — learning the early ropes of parenting. Old skills feel irrelevant, and while quickly mastered, there is so much to learn before the game changes (daily, weekly, monthly) right before our eyes.
I suppose that is right -August die she must.
And yes — YES — there is joy in so many of these moments — beginnings, remarkable firsts and discoveries — not only endings. With these August days, these new parent days, can also come optimistic new views, roles and perspectives — yet to be discovered, and new, unchartered terrain to explore. Days and nights filled the newness of it all -fragrant with sweet smells of baby, sweet with delicious, squeezable thighs and connected via a perfectly pudgy hand holding your single finger — amazing days indeed.
And then what? A return to the workplace. Or not. A confusing fifth trimester in which support in imperative and questions and doubt run rampant.
And still, I cannot help but wonder, are we set up to succeed as we lose and gain? Is the American workplace ready or even aware of how little it will take to create cultural shifts that offer true support? At the It’s Working Project — that is how we spend our days — considering how it can work well. We strive help the private sector successfully bring parents back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. We listen to parents as they share their experiences of back to work after baby in the US and we support the employer with simple, cost effective, easy to execute but high return strategies that work — making sure that we don’t loose the remarkable parents of our workforce as they journey into parenthood.
August, we are ready for you!