Posts Tagged: Childless Results 4
Women cannot win.
If we have children, we are criticized about the way we raise them, how many of them we have and who they turn out to be. If we don’t have them, we are pathologized, essentialized and told that we don’t know what we want. Most insidious, I think, is when these painful attacks comes from other women. In her recent Sisterhood piece, “Why Being ‘Childless by Choice’ Often Reflects Jewish Disengagement,” Debra Nussbaum Cohen contemplates the ability of Jewish women who elect not to have children to be active members of Jewish communities.
The personal is political, said feminist writer Carol Hanisch back in 1969, and while reading Renee Ghert-Zand’s recent blog post on childbearing, I couldn’t help but think that procreation is political, as well.
That’s especially true when it comes to Jewish parenting; anyone who is Jewishly engaged is aware of the cultural/religious imperative to have children.
Somehow, I am not surprised that just as I find myself at what has for me been the hardest stage of parenting (working mom with three boys, ages 9, 14 and 16), studies are showing that fewer women are choosing to be mothers.
A recently released Pew Research Center study shows that a quarter of American women in my age and demographic group (40-44 , with an advanced academic degree) are childless. While that percentage is down from 31% in 1994, there is evidence that choice, and not just infertility, is involved.