Over the past three decades, skyrocketing numbers of women have chosen to start their families in their late thirties and early forties. Women now have the option to define for themselves when they are ready for a family, rather than sticking to a schedule set by social convention. In Ready, Elizabeth Gregory tracks the burgeoning trend of new later motherhood and demonstrates that waiting to have children has made many women better mothers thanks to increased self-awareness, greater financial power, and an ability to focus more on their families. Drawing on statistical evidence and in-depth interviews with more than 100 moms, Ready shatters the alarmist myths surrounding later motherhood. Without ignoring the complexities older women may face in their quest to have children, Gregory delivers surprising and welcome news that revolutionizes the way we think about motherhood.
The 2012 paperback adds a new Preface bringing the data and analysis up to the moment: encompassing discussion of the recessionary birth rate drop among younger women and its longterm effect on the later motherhood trend, the intersections between the War on Women's Reproductive Choice and the US's family-unfriendly policies with the trend to delaying kids, the dynamics of fertility scaremongering, and the competing pro-natalist and anti-natalist pressures on American women today. The Preface also introduces new data from a range of researchers on the positive effects of delay on women's wages, long-term happiness, and political clout. This book examines the full range of pressures shaping women's fertility decisions today, and begins from the assumption that women's choices make sense, for them and for their families.
|Edition description:||First Trade Paper Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Elizabeth Gregory earned her Ph.D. from Yale University, and is Director of the Women's Studies Program and Professor of English at the University of Houston.
Table of Contents
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
What People are Saying About This
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. (Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood and If You've Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything)
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. (Steven Mintz, author of Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood)
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. (Adam Pertman, author of Adoption Nation)