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In this upbeat, sometimes self-congratulatory book, University of Houston professor Gregory looks at the benefits of waiting until later in life to have children. Recent front-page studies citing a rise in infertility have instilled a sense of emergency in women who put off having children until they have established careers and chosen the right father-or perhaps eschewed the need for one. Gregory's palliative, informative study of 113 mothers between the ages of 35 and 56 (she doesn't share where they live, one failing of this work) reveals the rational motivations on the part of these mostly well-educated, professional women for waiting, as well as their varying success in getting pregnant. Married moms, single moms, gay moms, moms who had a baby by nature or with the help of technology or adoption-Gregory shares her happy discovery that most of these "new later moms" felt positive about their choices. Some of the reasons they cite in interviews include bringing more financial power and education to the nest, creating a strong family focus and the likelihood of a stable, "peer" marriage, enjoying a longer life expectancy and a general sense of self-confidence younger mothers may lack. Helpfully, Gregory debunks a lot of the hysterical statistics surrounding infertility and dispenses the wealth of pregnancy and adoption offerings with equanimity and good cheer. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
WashingtonPost Book World
“Gregory ... has a serious point, and she marshals both anecdotal and statistical evidence to make it. Today's 40-year-old first-time mother not only has plenty of company; she also possesses confidence, professional experience and occupational clout that translate into either leverage on the job market or a happier time out of it, whichever choice that mother makes.”
Adam Pertman, author of Adoption Nation
“Elizabeth Gregory sheds light on an aspect of the contemporary family experience that has not been examined in great detail until now: the new later motherhood phenomenon. Many of the families Elizabeth Gregory examines are formed the old-fashioned way, but a growing number are the result of adoption and reproductive technologies. Finally, we have a wonderful book that provides us with a thoughtful and thorough examination of motherhood and family life in the 21st century.”
Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood and If You’ve Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything
“Elizabeth Gregory has discovered the real truth behind all the false alarms over delayed motherhood: that older mothers tend to be very happy with their decision to have children later in life. A positive, optimistic message for women: you can wait until you are ready to be a good parent.”
Steven Mintz, author of Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood
“With clarity, compassion, and common sense, Elizabeth Gregory takes us on a captivating tour of the changing landscape of 21st-century motherhood. She offers a forceful and compelling challenge to those who view contemporary motherhood in ferociously negative terms, as an unholy blend of smother love, over-parenting, and unremitting anxiety and guilt. An insightful and extraordinarily informative look at how today’s highly accomplished women balance the conflicting demands of prolonged professional training, high-pressure careers, and the yearning to raise children.”
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species "In this beautifully written and well researched book, Elizabeth Gregory explores contemporary transformations in what it means to be a mother, chronicling the exponential growth in the number of women over 35 seeking to conceive or adopt children. Without ignoring the risks, Gregory reviews the advantages to mothers of living on their own terms and the benefits to children of being reared by more experienced, settled and committed individuals, as well as the various options open to women who postpone child-rearing.”
Preface to the Paperback Edition xi
Introduction: Ready? 1
1 Waiting: The Backstory 15
• Working Mom, Circa 1922
• The Nexus of Change
• Birth Control-"The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Children"?
• Education: "The Neglected Education of My Fellow Creatures Is the Grand Source of the Misery I Deplore"
2 Ready: Willing and Able 37
3 Moms in the Workplace: The Benefits of Age 53
• Higher Wages
• The Clout Effect
• The Benefits of Age
• The Trickle Up
• Work/Life Balance and the Flextime Movement
• What Is Part Time?
• Small-Business Moms
• Making Work Choices around Family
4 Moms at Home: When Is a Job Not a Job? 97
• What Is a Stay-at-Home Mom?
• The Stay-at-Home New Later Mom: What's the Difference?
• Deciding to Stay Home
• Changing Gears
• Stay-at-Home Moms and the Clut Effect
• Revaluing Women's Work
5 All in the Family: Changing the Ways We Live and Love 129
• The New Traditionalists
• Peer Marriage
• The Older Woman
• Gay Moms
• Divorce, New Later Motherhood Style
• New Later Single Moms
• Only Children
6 Sarah Laughed: Who's Fertile and How 171
• Ball of Confusion
• What Are My Odds?
• Where Did We Get Those Odds?
• What about Fertility Tech?
• Counting Up: Who's Fertile Later?
• Non-Age-Based Infertility
• Is Infertility on the Rise?
• Proactive Fertility
• Miscarriage and Multiples
• Fertility Ethics
• How Old Is Too Old?
• Future Tech
7 Adoption: Expanding the Borders of Family 211
• The Adoption Options
• Domestic Foster Care
• Transracial Adoption
• Private Adoption
• International Adoption
• Gay Adoption
8 Fifty Is the New Thirty? Health, Looks, Evolution, and the New Line of Later Moms 239
• Longer Life Expectancy
• Health Issues
• Looking Good
• Sandwiched: Between Elder Care and Kid Care
• Sandwiched? The Next Generation
• Evolution Now: Grand/Mothering
Epilogue: Readiness Matters 257
Appendix A Who's in the Study 267
Appendix B Work Status Data 269
For Further Reading 275