Of nans and nannies ? why the menopause can teach us lessons about childcare

Sometimes on headline unwittingly serves as emphasis the point of another. So it was this week with ?Menopause exists so grandma can care for children? and ?Late for work, don?t mention the nanny?.

According to research on the menopause carried out in the Gambia and led by Professor Tom Kirkwood from the University of Newcastle, if a mother has a grandmother to hand, it greatly increases the chances of her child surviving to age two. The menopause, in effect, creates a generation of women who are still capable of caring for their children?s children, while preventing them from putting their own lives at risk by having a baby themselves. A neat evolutionary trick.

The Times, September 22 2007

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