OPINION

What will the world be like for post-COVID babies?

What will the world be like for post-COVID babies?

COVID-19 has already brought us the toilet paper famine, followed by the cake mix shortage, a grounding to reflect on our poor behaviour, natural disasters and now, it seems, babies.

During the latest weird stage of this weird year, they are coming in waves. I know this is subjective. The jury is still out on whether we are going to see a boom or bust following the COVID year and beyond.

We are being urged by the federal treasurer to go forth and multiply to help us out of the current decline.

It is difficult to see how bringing more people into a heavily populated planet is a long-term solution.

Our world is already groaning with our optimism in its capacity to continue to supply.

I'm not knocking new parents or those with multiple offspring.

Having only one myself that I underwent about five IVF rounds to procure, I am in awe of those who can not only produce one, but a crop.

The latest round of babies are being born to a normal the rest of us have yet to grasp.

How many will accept that facemasks are as big a part of our lives as sunhats?

How many will believe public life has always been lived 1.5m apart?

How many will learn to walk, unsure if they are allowed to touch the person they are waddling towards?

In two years' time, some children may have no idea their relatives exist in real life outside Zoom.

I can remember a similar situation when I took our daughter to see The Wiggles when she was two.

She was knocked clean over with comic amazement that these characters could walk, talk and dance outside the television.

Things like overseas holidays, music festivals and crowded football games will be the stuff of legend.

They will wonder what all the extra chairs in their world are for - why so many at the movies when they can't be used?

What's the deal at church when you can't sit on part of the pews?

Then again maybe, just maybe, their normal will be closer to ours.

After all, babies born during the drought that never looked to end have become used to the sight and sound of rain.

Maybe we can take our lead from them.

The adaptability of a child is a wonderful thing.

Maybe it can show us that the new normal is just as normal as the old normal, that we should be seizing this chance to leave behind the things we did that weren't so great.

As that new mum or dad sits with their baby in the part of the night other people forget, they might be guiding a generation toward a normal that could just work out OK, if we just take a lead from those tiny people - no matter how many or how few of them there might be.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah, New South Wales.