The Clock

Feb. 10th, 2012 02:27 am
sarcasticwriter: (Egg)
[personal profile] sarcasticwriter
Random clusters of fertility talk - a bit of The View that was playing while I was setting my VCR, Melissa Rivers getting fertility shots on Joan Knows Best, Adam Carolla discussing how he and his wife needed fertility treatments, and how Dr. Drew and his wife needed treatments, too, a Livejournal friend who's trying to get pregnant, and another friend who isn't - has me thinking about the weird paradox the first world has created when it comes to childbearing. Many of the women who are most qualified to have babies - grown adults who are educated, emotionally stable, financially secure - aren't having an easy time getting pregnant. The very reason they'd make good parents is in conflict with their biology.

For all the developmental education I received in school, nobody ever mentioned that a woman is born with a set number of ovum, and once she runs out, she's out. Nobody ever mentioned that some women run out of ovum significantly earlier than is average, and that not everybody - not even most - can depend on having a baby at 40. While popular culture advises against getting married before 25 at the minimum, it never mentions that peak female fertility occurs in the early to mid 20s.

My Seattle peer group is full of mid-20 and early 30s folk who aren't in committed relationships, much less contemplating childbearing. When pressed, almost everybody says that they want kids - someday. Maybe in 10 years, or 15. Or 20. Certainly not in the next five years! And not with this current partner, but maybe the next. No matter what their age or their plan, everybody is confident they'll have kids when they want them. Just not for the next decade, or two.

I think a lot of my responsible, ideal-parent peers aren't going to have kids.

That's disastrous, because the wrong people are having kids young. People who are too irresponsible to use birth control correctly, people who think a baby will fill their emotional void, people in the thrall of powerful religious compulsion; these are the people our society doesn't want having babies, and they're the ones producing most of them.

The worst part is, there's no solution. Intelligent people are going to put off having children until they're financially and emotionally stable, and dumb, irresponsible people are going to continue pumping out babies they can't properly educate, nurture, or support.

I don't know what that's going to mean for our society 20, 30, 50 years from now, especially if our economy continues to decline. Maybe we'll see a shift in the acceptable age difference of couples: as men become financially secure only as their female peers are aging out of fertility, they'll begin courting (and successfully winning) much younger female partners. This might even be more likely if the economic climate is significantly more hostile than today. I can't imagine that will be good for feminism; a wave of young women eschewing economic independence for the financial security offered by older men in exchange for childbearing. Might as well walk right out onto the plains and start hunting gazelle with spears, and, at that point, what was modern civilization for?

Hm. This is much too big a subject for a Livejournal entry.


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