never married, over forty, a little bitter


Then, last week, new data showed that in 2011 the U.S. birthrate fell to the lowest level ever recorded: 63.2 babies per 1,000 women of childbearing age.

Crucially, immigrant women, whose fecundity had been holding up the U.S. figures, opted out of the maternity ward in the greatest numbers. According to analysis done by the Pew Research Center, the birthrate for women born in the United States fell by 6 percent between 2007 and 2010. For foreign-born women in the United States, the drop was 14 percent. Among Mexican immigrant women, the rate plunged 23 percent…

This is where the question of fear versus sympathy comes in. For decades, feminists have been demanding that we come up with better ways for women to be both mothers and full members of modern society. That has often been dismissed as a “women’s issue.” So we have not addressed it – and now women are voting with their wombs.


First of all, three kids– good grief!  Second– five grand a month for day care!

Not sure her reasoning adds up here… I mean, she could have saved the money for a real wall during those childless years:

So I’m not complaining. But you know what I am doing? I’m wishing. I’m wishing we had started popping out those kids, oh, say, five years earlier than we did, so that maybe, by 40, my bedroom and my sons’ bedroom wouldn’t be separated by a fake wall.

I definitely feel like stress from overwork has taken its toll on me:

Sociologists have devoted many man-hours to demonstrating that older parents are richer, smarter, and more loving, on the whole, than younger ones. And yet the tragic irony of epigenetics is that the same wised-up, more mature parents have had longer to absorb air-borne pollution, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and herbicides. They may have endured more stress, be it from poverty or overwork or lack of social status. All those assaults on the cells that make sperm DNA can add epimutations to regular mutations.

For several reasons, though, I’m unsure the following is such a terrible thing.  For one thing, seeing one’s child get to his or her late thirties/ forties is getting to see them become an adult.  For another, that child may be ready by middle-age to collect his or her inheritance before he or she gets too old for it to make a big difference (hate to be blunt, but there it is):

A mother who is 35 when her child is born is more likely than not to have died by the time that child is 46. The one who is 45 may have bowed out of her child’s life when he’s 37. The odds are slightly worse for fathers: The 35-year-old new father can hope to live to see his child turn 42. The 45-year-old one has until the child is 33. 

the whole story

Americans are a proactive people. We like to believe that our destinies are wholly within our control, and that everyone gets exactly what she deserves. The “choice” myth is therefore very powerful in all kinds of ways, including in our conversations about women’s fertility. Indeed, it provides the self-identification for an entire movement — though some women who terminate pregnancies undoubtedly do so precisely because they feel they have no real choice. If postmodernism has taught us nothing else, it is that we should hold notions of human autonomy very lightly. Self-determination is a highly tempting narrative that, while sometimes accurate and often convenient, just doesn’t come close to telling the whole story.

polite conversation

I take it as a sign of health these days that when people start discussing how they met their husbands or their new babies, my immediate reaction is not one of sadness or even wistfulness but just a (hopefully concealed) “yawn.”

hollywood endings

I can hardly drag myself to Hollywood fare these days, and I’m afraid Silver Linings Playback would annoy me because of this:

Like Midnight In Paris, I’d argue that The Silver Linings Playbook is a mediocre and contrived romantic comedy that is getting overpraised at least somewhat because it’s told from a man’s point-of-view.  It’s no secret that we often place more reverence in male melodrama than female melodrama and how we view romantic comedies through the gender prism is arguably the best example of such.

But mostly because of this:

If I live another 80 years I’d be glad never to see another film where guy and girl play cocktease with each other until the last 10 minutes, after which we see them kiss and cuddle in a Christmas dinner living room scene surrounded by their equally contented, reformed, and satisfied friends and family.

I have a friend right now who is miserable (despite being financially blessed and a parent) because her first romantic relationships post-divorce haven’t worked out and her extended family is not fitting the above scenario quite so easily this holiday season.

It’s totally understandable why we have these expectations but man they seem to make people miserable, being so ill-matched to reality.