Monday, September 17, 2007

Cool parent culture of Prenzlauer

Although the whole of Germany might be struggling with low fertility rates, Berlin, especially Prenzlauerberg an old east Berlin neighborhood known for its alternative lifestyle isn't having any problems in that area.
It has been noted that this area is having a "baby boom", and if you just keep an eye out you do not have to be a statistician or a sociologist to figure that this is indeed true. Even if Berlin is known to have no manufacturing in the city, there is atleast one thing they know how to produce- babies.

Just take a seat in one of the nice trendy cafes and look at the people passing by. Most of them will either be pregnant, with a child or two, or indeed shagging to have one- which my upstairs neighbor apparently is doing every morning.
One of the many maternity clothes shops in Prenzlauerberg- named "Sexy Mama"

Due to that this place is an alternative scene area with hipsters, the parents are not "parent-like". They are hop and groovy like your average single 30ish late 20ish people. It seems as is there has been some fashion fad to have babies as accessories. Ofcourse the children are all dressed in proper alternative fashion- and the baby stores make sure this trend persist. The other thing is there is a specific age group here. The parents are around the ages of late 20s to mid-late 30s. The children are from 0 to 6~7ish. It's hard to find kids above this age and mostly they are 1~2 years old. It seems as if this place was filled with alternative youngsters around the age of mid twenties in the 1990s which grew up, hooked up with each other and now producing second generation cool hipsters. I must say there are several daddies with babies sitting in ice cream parlours which look more like cool cafes for adults rather than having the colurful silly look that are for children that I personally would not have mind hooking up with- with or without baggage.

I've noticed several parents with their buggies proudly strutting with their off springs. I feel like seeing ducks in spring where they strut with their ducklings lined up behind them. They have a way in which in seems "look at what I have achieved. my beautiful-stylish baby"..

A photo shop in Prenzelberg- as you can see there are mostly family photos and also some photos of women pregnant, with tattoos, etc..

So in this respect I myself not having a child and/or pregnant actually feel like the outsider here, where in the rest of the world it is that the parents- now with the little creature they created - usually get excluded from the culture life. Here I feel like I have to press my belly out a bit just to not stand out and look like there is a bun in the oven.. and well let me tell you I really don't even have to try hard for this- it comes more or less natural.

Whichever the case, Prenzlauer Berg makes it seem parenting is just another stage in life which doesn't mean you loose your individuality your previous life style. Its just that it includes a little being with it. This is exactly how it is here. People still go to bars, cafes sub cultural meetings etc just with their children now.

Ofcourse having said this, I still do believe there are sacrifices to be made into parenthood, I mean it essentially mean that you would not have the time and or the energy to do other things that you could've would've done earlier. Such as joining a dance company. If you are one of those people who do not have much aspirations in other things that consume a large amount of your time and energy this may be the option for you.

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