674: Natural Parenting
Title text: On one hand, every single one of my ancestors going back billions of years has managed to figure it out. On the other hand, that's the mother of all sampling biases.
This comic relates to the anxiety most couples experience after having a child. Some couples employ an approach called natural parenting or attachment parenting. This strategy for child-rearing normally entails providing whole foods and extended nursing but can also include birth without anesthetics, applying reusable cloth diapers, using herbal remedies instead of medicine, and other decisions intended to protect the environment and raise a baby to be physically and mentally healthy. Natural parenting approaches can vary greatly from parent to parent, with some being very extreme and possibly detrimental. Because of the awkwardness and stigma of breastfeeding as well as its traditionalism, attachment parenting can elicit powerful opinions from both its opponents and proponents. Various media and politicians have seized on this hot topic, as well as motherhood in general. Extreme natural parenting methods became the notorious cover story of TIME Magazine in May 2012.
However, the characters in this strip took natural parenting to mean doing "what comes naturally", i.e. having another baby.
One interpretation of the title-text is as note of the sentiments expressed by proponents of natural parenting, stating that traditional or instinctive methods have worked for thousands of years. It is also possible that the narrator means that parenting can't be too hard because historically everyone must have figured it out. Randall jokes that this is the "mother" of all sampling biases because his ancestors represent only the (possibly small) fraction who survived the instinctive or easily learned methods of parenthood, instead of the entire sample of people attempting to raise children.
- [A man and woman are standing with a baby in between them.]
- Man: Oh man, we made a baby.
- Woman: Don't panic. Don't panic.
- Baby: Baby!
- Man: Parenting can't be that hard. Let's just do what comes naturally.
- [Beat frame]
- [There are now two babies in between them.]
- Woman: Aw, crap.