Why women don’t want, want and can’t have kids
Not everyone wants to have children – in fact according to some recent research conducted by Schering Plough, about 24% of women surveyed said they don’t want to have children.
For the 76% who do, this survey highlighted the barriers faced by women in 2009 that affect their decisions about children.
In this group, almost two thirds (62%) of Gen Y women, those aged 18 – 29, say they will delay having kids now as they are concerned about the cost.
Other key factors delaying the decision for Gen Y’s: almost half (49%) said their career is more important; one third are concerned about losing their freedom; while nearly one third (29%) said they haven’t found their “right partner”.
Common wisdom has it that for Gen X women, “career” is more important than children. Yet this survey shows this to be a myth, with only 17% of women aged 30-something saying “career” is the main reason for delaying having children.. The key factor for these women is “finding the right partner” (54%), half are concerned about the cost of having kids, and 24% are concerned about loss of freedom.
These findings point to the tough choices being made by women who have grown up with more freedom and options than any previous generation.
It suggests that these women are conscious that the burden and sacrifice of child-rearing still falls squarely on their shoulders, and perhaps they are also aware that they can’t rely on their partner being there forever, so the need for financial self-sufficiency is important if the relationship ends.
A lot has been said in recent times about feminism having let women down, when they find that their fertility has declined and they’ve left the decision to try to have children until too late.
A by-product of this modern dilemma may be that, whilst planning ahead for goals is encouraged, such as getting education for a career or saving up for a house or travel, it’s not so fashionable to plan ahead for having children.
It’s certainly not considered “cool” for 20-somethings to discuss, at a time when many will fall in love and start live-in relationships.
And yet this is the one life goal that really does have a time limit imposed upon us.
We need more research in order to understand what Mr Right looks like to these women, but it seems that many do not have confidence in their relationship being strong enough for having children. (We also need more research into the attitudes of young men on this important life decision.)
It’s also not widely understood that if you’re unsure about the quality of your relationship, you don’t just have to leave it to chance. Just because you’re “in love”, it doesn’t mean you will be able to build an effective partnership and live happily together.
Coaching on how you can work together and make your partnership strong is a smart investment early on. In contrast, gambling on your relationship may lead to regret over years being wasted on a relationship going nowhere, especially when the goal of having children has finally risen to the level of No.1 Priority.
Anne Hollonds, CEO, Relationships Australia NSW
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