Amid a recession, the birth rate in the United States has been falling - but not for all women.
U.S. birth rates declined about 16 percent among women ages 15 to 24 between 2007 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Similarly, among women 25 to 29 rates went down more than 8 percent, and among women 30 to 39 rates decreased about 4 percent.
But, when it came to women aged 40 to 44, rates rose more than 6 percent during this time. These trends continue a pattern among women of starting their families later than their mothers did that's been underway for decades, according to Elizabeth Gregory, director of women's studies at the University of Houston and research fellow on the Council on Contemporary Families. In 1970 the average age at first birth was 21, today it's over 25.
Almost 40 percent of all U.S. babies in 2010 were born to women over 30, and almost 15 percent - 1 in 7 - were born to women 35 and over. One in four first births were to women 30 and over, and one in 12 were to women over 35.
Though women evidently see virtues in delay, that hasn't been the case with public perception. Instead of clear analysis, there's a lot of misinformation, both about why women are delaying and what the effects of fertility are for individual families and for society at large.
Gregory, author of "Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood," breaks down seven common myths about late motherhood...
Myth: Women who delay are selfish about their careers
Myth: Women who delay motherhood past 35 are unlikely to ever get pregnant
Myth: Women who get pregnant after 35 put their child at risk
Myth: Older moms risk not being around for their kids long term
Myth: Older moms don't enjoy parenthood as much as younger moms
Myth: Later moms are non-traditional
Myth: Later motherhood has negative consequences for society
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TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
Ready: Why Women Are Embracing The New Later Motherhood
by Elizabeth Gregory
-- Over the past three decades, skyrocketing numbers of women have chosen to start their families in their late thirties and early forties.
In 2005, ten times as many women had their first child between the ages of 35 and 39 as in 1975, and thirteen times as many had their first between 40 and 44.
Women now have the option to define for themselves when they’re ready for family, rather than sticking to a schedule set by social convention.
As a society, however, we have yet to come to terms with the phenomenon of later motherhood, and women who decide it makes sense for them to delay pregnancy often find themselves confronted with alarmist warnings about the dangers of waiting too long.
In Ready, Elizabeth Gregory tracks the burgeoning trend of new later motherhood and demonstrates that for many women today, waiting for family works best.
She provides compelling evidence of the benefits of having children later -- by birth or by adoption.
Hardcover: 320 pages - Click to order/for more info: Ready
Paperback: 336 pages - Click to order/for more info: Ready
-- Start reading Ready on your Kindle in under a minute!
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