Social pressure to have children questioned


Women who choose not to have babies perceive more social pressure to become a mother than other women. Nevertheless, they have less distress about their decision than women who are childless from infertility or for other reasons according to a new national study.

Reasons for remaining childfree pivotal

The data emerges from a national survey of nearly 1200 American women of reproductive age with no children. They identified their reasons for not having children as medical or situational barriers delaying pregnancy or choosing to be childfree. The studied aimed to find out if the different reasons for not having children contributed to different types of concerns about their situation.

Some women need to be mothers

“Motherhood is so highly connected with adult femininity in the United States that many women feel that they need to be mothers,” explained Julia McQuillan, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist and lead author of the study. “Yet we also found that there are women who have low or no distress about not being mothers, even if their friends and family want them to have children.”

Some women don’t value motherhood at all

Regarding the stress related to not having children, the amount correlated to the reason for staying childless. For women who did not care about becoming mothers, their stress remained low. The opposite was true for women who valued and desired motherhood.

Generalizations about childfree women cannot be made

“This highlights that not all women without children are the same. While some are devastated, others are content and finding fulfillment through other avenues such as leisure or career pursuits,” said McQuillan.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, The Journal of Marriage and Family


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