This week Andrea Leadsom, a strong contender for British Prime Minister and a prominent supporter of the attachment between parents and their babies, surprised parliament by talking about babies’ brains at the Conservative party’s leadership meeting.  

Good on her – if the United Kingdom is not prepared to support its economy through increased immigration, it better get busy supporting families to have some babies of their own.  Leadsom is right to argue that the effects will be felt years into the future – think crime statistics, the number of well-educated workers available to fuel the future economy, and the number of nice young people willing to look after you well when you get old. 

Leadsom has said that being a mother “means you have a very real stake in the future of our country” and in her speech admitted that her real passion in politics is her desire for social justice. She went on to say that she believes “the period from conception to age two” is the key to achieving this. 

The former banker, now energy minister, is a prominent advocate of the idea that the human capacity to form relationships and thrive in life is rooted in the earliest stages of development. Giving some insight into the origin of her interest in this cause, Leadsom herself suffered from postnatal depression when her first child was born and her mother was a midwife and a trustee of the first parent-infant partnership project in Oxford.

Leadsom has commented that “the real issue is a fundamental public lack of acknowledgment of the importance of the earliest relationship,” Countless others also insist that mothers forced back into full time work would love to have the opportunity to spend more time at home with their babies, rather than seemingly being offered ever increasing numbers of day care hours.  

Currently in Britain there is a parliamentary group focused on the first 1,001 days of life which was launched in October 2013, but more could be done by society in general to recognise the immense importance of the close connection with his or her mother and father in the earliest stages of a baby’s life, and the role of parents in general.  It is encouraging to see Andrea Leadsom hopefully leading the way.

Shannon Roberts

Shannon Roberts is co-editor of MercatorNet's blog on population issues, Demography is Destiny. While she has a background as a barrister, writing has been a life-long passion and she has contributed...