US Motherhood On the Rise, But Does That Foretell a Rise in Childlessness Later?
Not that you asked, but I actually trashed the idea of pursuing certain majors in college for the sole reason that a class in statistics was mandatory. I have Math Anxiety. Fractions give me hives.
So, I may get things a little twisted when it comes to tedious but important academic research. That's my disclaimer. Here's the situation:
January 11,2018. Headline #1: "Moms' age at birth linked to daughters' later childlessness". (Reuters)
Dr. Olga Basso of McGill University in Montreal, Canada led a team that pored through data on more than 43,000 American women born between 1930 and 1964. Their research showed that as as maternal age at delivery went up, so did the odds that daughters would be childless.
I get that. But here's the understatement to remember, wording by Reuters: "The main limitation of the study is that researchers didn’t know whether women’s childlessness was by choice and intentional."
So, there's no way to discern whether those daughters saw a tired, older mom and decided against kids for themselves. Or whether the older mothers led their daughters to assume that a later pregnancy would work for them, too.
Good news - other studies are underway exploring the effect of father’s age on childlessness, so perhaps they'll get around to looking at how much choice plays a role for NotMoms.
January 18, 2018. Headline #2: "They’re Waiting Longer, but U.S. Women Today More Likely to Have Children Than a Decade Ago" (Pew Research Center)
The first shocker in this story, for me, at least, was the pronouncement that more than half of never-married US women ages 40 to 44 are Moms. THAT is cultural change.
But Pew's big focus was the finding that women of all races are delaying motherhood. And, not only are women more likely to be mothers than in the past 10 years, they are having more children.
So, what have we learned?
If more women are having their children later in life, AND the daughters of Moms who birthed them later in life tend to be childless, is that a prediction of another bump up in the numbers of NotMoms in about 20 years or so? Is the uterine future of the little girl pictured above determined by her young, peppy mother?
The real question for me, Did I understand all those stats correctly? Because if I did, this is some deep stuff.