Comment by carol williams — May 8, 2011 @ 11:12 am
I don’t usually comment on reviews of my book because there will always be people who love it, hate it and couldn’t care less about it, and that’s fine. However, I just want to clarify that despite the media focus, I am not in the pro-baby camp and neither is my book 30-Something and The Clock is Ticking. I did my best to write about all aspects of motherhood and while I certainly spoke to many women who waited too long and grieved for not having babies, I also spoke to women who were happy being childfree and also women who actually regretted having children. I do not believe that having children is the right decision for all women. And I’m certainly not advocating having children early. When I personally faced the motherhood question I was struck by how ignorant I was about my own fertility and about what motherhood was really like – what I’d gain, what I’d lose and what I would regret. The premise of my book is that as modern women we should not leave such important decisions to chance and social pressure. We should be just as informed and as active in this decisions as we are about all the decisions in our life such as our education, careers, personal and spiritual development etc.
Thanks Kasey – I know the media tend to skew stories toward the drastic, and to reduce multi-strand arguments to misrepresentative sound bytes, and I did note that your book seems to look more complexly than many at the dynamics of contemporary women’s lives and decisions around fertility. It was the statements you made in your Irish TV interview however (“it’s really hard to get pregnant in your thirties”), and the statistics you referred to, that in tandem with your title led me to the takeaway that your book echoes Sylvia Hewlett’s in misrepresenting the dangers of infertility to most women in their 30s. It’s difficult to get a balanced message across in a sentence or two, but you might add “for some women” to the beginning of the quote next time, and quote statistics that more fully and clearly represent the actual likelihood of successful pregnancy across the 30s and early 40s, not just data on the chance per month.
I completely agree that women should be informed about their fertility as they make life shaping decisions – which means both knowing that waiting may lead to infertility, and knowing what the actual incidences of infertility are — for example, that 89% of women are fertile without intervention at 35, and that two thirds of women are at 39. No guarantees where an individual will fall in those proportions, but people need to be able to decide for themselves when to start their families, given the complexities of work and partnering, based on full information.
I look forward to seeing your full text when it comes out in the US. If you have a chance to read READY, my book on related material, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.