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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
New York's 11 September baby boom
A couple embrace at the Wall of Prayers after the 11 September attack
Many New Yorkers have chosen to seize the day

One response to the terror attacks on America was to have a baby.

Born two weeks early, Paul Schmalzried is only two days old and one of the first of New York's new baby boomers.

He is being kept in for a few days for observation at the New York University hospital, a few blocks from the site of the former World Trade Centre.

Paul's father, also called Paul, and mother Claudia are anxious to take him home.

Paul senior, a firefighter at the station almost next door, lost four close colleagues when the Twin Towers collapsed .

After the disaster, he felt he had to have a child ''to leave my mark in this world''.


My whole life changed in that minute... It's time for me to be a mother

New mother Claudia Schmalzried

''Your outlook on life is so different after a disaster which hits so close to home'', Mr Schmalzried said.

The new mother, Claudia, added: "My whole life changed in that minute. We've been married seven years... so it's time for me to be a mother. You know if something happened to my husband - I don't have anybody. I don't have anything from him."

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of a New York baby boom - one yoga class for expectant mothers in Manhattan's fashionable Chelsea neighbourhood is fully booked.

Some clinics and city hospitals have waiting lists for ante-natal classes.

Big blessing

There are no official statistics yet, but plenty of babies are on the way with psychologists saying it is a natural reaction to last year's traumatic events.

At one clinic, Tuwanda Foster is due to give birth any day.

The twin towers blaze on 9/11
Baby booms after traumatic events are common

Technically she is not part of the baby boom - she didn't know she had just fallen pregnant when she watched the second hijacked jet fly over her head and hit the World Trade Centre on 11 September.

Now she believes it is an omen for her child.

''When I found out I had a lot of mixed emotions. Do I want to bring a baby into this world? I think it's just after the storm you see the light. And that's what my baby is - a big blessing.''

Hospital nurses have seen evidence of a baby boom too - more women coming in for scans and tests.

There was a similar boom that lasted for years after World War Two and researchers also documented one after Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina in 1989.


There's a very brisk rise in our population around here

Dr Giuseppe Del Priore of New York University

This one could last as long as a year, says New York University's head of obstetrics and gynaecology, Dr Giuseppe Del Priore.

''We certainly can see there's a rise in the number of people who are having a baby after the event,'' says Dr Del Priore.

''Will that be sustained for years to come? I think to a lesser extent than it was after World War Two. But there's a very brisk rise in our population around here - as much as a 25% increase over our lowest levels."

Shared feelings

Claudia and Paul Schmalzried may be the among the first parents of this baby boom but their feelings of hope for their child are certain to be shared by many others.

Claudia said: ''[The attack] was a sad act, it was a sad time but [Paul Jnr] will know he was conceived after that''.

Paul added: ''His life was inspired by the events of 9/11.''

See also:

31 May 02 | Americas
29 May 02 | Business
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