Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness by Melanie Notkin | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness

Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness

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by Melanie Notkin

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More American women are childless than ever before—nearly half those of childbearing age don’t have children. While our society often assumes these women are “childfree by choice,” that’s not always true. In reality, many of them expected to marry and have children, but it simply hasn’t happened. Wrongly judged as picky or


More American women are childless than ever before—nearly half those of childbearing age don’t have children. While our society often assumes these women are “childfree by choice,” that’s not always true. In reality, many of them expected to marry and have children, but it simply hasn’t happened. Wrongly judged as picky or career-obsessed, they make up the “Otherhood,” a growing demographic that has gone without definition or visibility until now.

In Otherhood, author Melanie Notkin reveals her own story as well as the honest, poignant, humorous, and occasionally heartbreaking stories of women in her generation—women who expected love, marriage, and parenthood, but instead found themselves facing a different reality. She addresses the reasons for this shift, the social and emotional impact it has on our collective culture, and how the “new normal” will affect our society in the decades to come.

Notkin aims to reassure women that they are not alone and encourages them to find happiness and fulfillment no matter what the future holds. A groundbreaking exploration of an essential contemporary issue, Otherhood inspires thought-provoking conversation and gets at the heart of our cultural assumptions about single women and childlessness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Notkin (Savvy Auntie) coined the term "otherhood" to describe "our misunderstood group of women doing our best to live full and meaningful lives despite the frustrations of some of our most cherished longings": love, marriage, and children. She notes that "the rise of childless women may be one of the most overlooked and underappreciated social issues of our time." As a high-powered, attractive New Yorker who, along with many female friends, achieved success through talent, hard work, and perseverance, she sets out to answer how she and girlfriends in their mid-30s and older are, despite efforts and expectations, still single and why they are "scrutinized so unsympathetically, harassed for sticking by our convictions and invalidated as just plain less than everyone else." Part sociological study, part memoir, the book explores issues including men's reluctance to plan a date, commit, or marry women their own age; egg-freezing trends; the joys and agonies of relationships with others' children; modern matchmakers; and Notkin's own resolution as she enters "the other side of fertility." Heartfelt and frank, the book may be a comfort to other unintentionally single, childless women and a disturbing revelation to their friends, families, and colleagues, although the affluent Manhattan-centricity of the author's cohort may alienate less-privileged readers. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Life doesn’t always unfold the way we expect. In this thought-provoking, honest, and often hilarious exploration of 'otherhood,' Melanie Notkin describes the pleasures and pain of coming to grips with the life she actually has—a childfull life, without children of her own. An essential read for anyone interested in what it’s like to be a woman today."
Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of Happier at Home and The Happiness Project

“In Otherhood, Melanie Notkin gives a fresh voice to a largely unseen, misunderstood part of the population: the unmarried, childless female. After you read this book, you’ll discover she isn’t who you thought she was.”
Stacy London, Style Expert

“In a poignant reported memoir, Otherhood gives voice to a growing, but often hidden segment of society: women who are still waiting for love, marriage and children. With honest humor, Notkin gives the beautiful, bright, talented, single women something no one else does: hope.”
Amy Klein, New York Times Motherlode “Fertility Diary” columnist

“Families aren’t what they used to be, but here Melanie Notkin shows that they’ve recombined, not fallen apart. Otherhood is powerful, not only because it charts an important role for modern women in an age of singles and solos, but also because it’s sharp, witty, and insightful. A terrific read.”
Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone

“Melanie Notkin has tapped into the deep need we all have for a new language of love. Otherhood is the perfect book for these times—honest, romping, vulnerable, uplifting. Read it now, because everyone will be talking about it soon.”
Bruce Feiler, New York Times columnist and bestselling author of The Secrets of Happy Families

“Heartbreaking, insightful and ultimately affirming, Otherhood is Notkin’s anguished but undefeated post-feminist battle cry on behalf of childless women of a certain age who refuse to settle for a lesser love.”
Jonathan Tropper, bestselling author of This Is Where I Leave You

“In Otherhood, Melanie Notkin brilliantly reveals feminism’s dirty little secret: the most fabulous women today are not finding love, marriage, or the baby carriage. They are creating—in a way The Feminine Mystique did not predict—a new, equally extraordinary kind of happiness.”
Karen Lehrman Bloch, author of The Lipstick Proviso: Women, Sex & Power in the Real World

“In Otherhood, Melanie Notkin, takes the reader on an intimate and insightful journey of what it’s like to be single, never married and childless when apparently no one thinks you should be. She courageously invites us into her intimate world, experiences, and feelings, in a way most close friends wouldn’t even do. And in doing so, she beautifully highlights the importance of being authentic and true to yourself, even if your dreams and wishes don’t come on cue.”
Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and TV commentator

“Melanie Notkin’s Otherhood is empowering and enlightening for a generation of modern women who don’t want to settle in order to settle down. This book will resonate not only with single women but also with those who love them.”
Andrea Syrtash, author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing) and Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband)

"Otherhood is a timely book offering up valuable guidance on how to feel appreciated and supported while being self-reliant. Melanie Notkin’s genuine love for her reader shines through each page. Notkin is a powerful leader for all women as they enter into 'otherhood.'"
Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times bestselling author of May Cause Miracles

"Any woman who has ever felt bad about not being 'on track' will find hope and inspiration in Notkin’s readable, compelling book. The experience is like chatting with an old college friend who hands you a mug of tea and kindly reminds you to stop bitching already and get busy creating and celebrating an authentic awesome life."
Sarah Elizabeth Richards, author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It

Kirkus Reviews
A frank, hopeful look inside the world of single, childless women facing the end of their fertility. With an increasing number of American women having a first child at a later age, the Census Bureau has labeled the trend "the delayer boom." However, many are confronting the likelihood they will never have biological children. Huffington Post contributor Notkin (Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids, 2011) suggests recognizing these women as "the otherhood." Single and in her early 40s, the author speaks for a generation of women who expected to have the social, economic and political equality their mothers did not. They also expected "the romantic wholeness of marriage and family," but the right man never came along or they were in long-term relationships that didn't work out. She describes complaints older women have with men who can't plan proper dates or who want a younger woman to settle down with. Far from the dowdy old maids and spinsters of yore, today's mature single women don't need to settle for a man they don't love to support them. They have active social lives, successful jobs, and nieces and nephews to love. However, remarks by even well-meaning friends and family members can make them feel "less than" or at fault for not being mothers. In heartbreaking stories, Notkin reveals why "circumstantial infertility" can be as devastating as biological infertility. While many women are empowered by the ability to freeze their eggs or have children on their own, those choices are expensive and frightening for others. Rather than whining about her experiences, Notkin offers funny, instructive vignettes to bring attention to a largely misunderstood and overlooked demographic. A fun, sexy examination of why more women are remaining childless longer and what that means for their lives and society.

Product Details

Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Melanie Notkin is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, spokesperson, marketer, and the leading voice of the nearly 50 percent of American women who are childless. Notkin is the founder and creator of the popular Savvy Auntie® lifestyle brand—a celebration of modern, cosmopolitan aunthood. Notkin’s book on the subject, Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Notkin’s writing has appeared in The New York Times and she is a contributor to the Huffington Post and PsychologyToday.com. She lives in New York City.

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Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I found this book, it was revolutionary. As a proud aunt and a single woman in NYC, this book reassured me that I wasn't the only one who felt "off-schedule," or "behind" everyone else. Motherhood and womanhood are so tangled up within each other that those of us who aren't mothers, or who aren't mothers *yet*, find ourselves adrift. No more. We have the Otherhood.
Vanessa78 More than 1 year ago
I read "Otherhood" in one sitting after learning about Melanie Notkin from a dear friend as well as reading her posts on Huffington Post. I then was honored to hear her speak.  This book is well-written and researched, hilarious, poignant, and courageous. It speaks about a subject not talked about but almost 1/2 of American women can relate to. The way Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique touched my mom's generation is how Otherhood speaks to my generation and as she shows the next generation as well! Thank you, Melanie Notkin! I highly recommend this book - whether for yourself, your sister, your girlfriend, your aunt, your colleague, your mentor, your neighbor, or your friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an actual "professional" woman (childless by choice), I find this book to be trite and insulting. Generally, it is narcissistic rubbish used to empower the author's fellow bimbos. Zero stars here. For a smart read on aunthood, being single in your 40s, and childlessness, please read Kate Bolick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first learned about Melanie Notkin's "Savvy Auntie" company about 2 years ago. Since then, I've been following her success and learned more about her. When I first learned she was writing a new book, I could not have been more excited or proud. I pre-ordered "Otherhood" in November 2013 and it arrived yesterday. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. I finished it in less than 24 hours! Melanie has captured the essence of my life with her book, and has made me realize that - in a world where being a mom is expected of woman my age - as a single, childless woman I am not alone. I'm 36 years old, have not found a husband, and have no desire to have a child on my own as many have suggested I do. But I do have several children in my life who are so important to me. With her anecdotal style of writing, I found Notkin's book to be completely and absolutely relatable. As she described sitting around a table with her girlfriends talking about their choices in life and decisions they were facing, I felt like I was sitting there with them. Melanie has accepted the fact that she might not ever be a mother, and she is okay with that. After reading her book, my heart is more at peace as I face the same reality. I highly recommend "Otherhood" to any woman who is trying to make peace with such a situation. This book reaffirms the truth that as a woman in today's day and age, there is so much more to life than being a wife and mother. We have family, our friends (who often become our family), and a career we are passionate about. Our hearts can be filled in other ways than we might have once planned. This book gives me the assurance that whatever happens is the right thing for me, and that I can feel good about the relationships I really DO have, rather than the ones I do NOT have. Thank you Melanie Notkin!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not even worth taking a dump on.