Pushing off Motherhood until it's Too Late


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I’m a big fan of international adoption. I even have a sister-in-law named Maia Weisberg who was adopted from China!

But this week’s important Washington Post article on rising rates of international adoption among Jewish families also discusses a terrifying trend- 54% of Jewish women in their early 30s are childless in comparison with 28% in general American society.

It turns out that a significant percentage of Jewish women are pushing off marriage and motherhood in order to pursue career and advanced degrees, but when they finally want to have children, their bodies aren’t able. Heartbreaking.

Read the article and leave your reactions in the comment section below…
(A huge thanks to Shoshana for sending me this article!)
International adoptions change face of American Judaism


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  1. There may be a correlation but maybe not. Maybe Jewish Woman are just not patient enough. We want it now and since we have the education and financial means (according to the article it states the drive for education and careers) we jump to adoption as we know we will have our child at the end of the process.

    I was told I might conceive on my own, so I gave it 6 months (not too long but it felt it at the time) and nothing. Went for the fertility option and we were blessed the first time. Well with that result I jumped in for the 2nd time two years later and wasn’t as easy or lucky. A few tries and a lot of lost hope and expenses but we finally conceived our 2nd child. That was it for us…Until I found out I was pregnant, on our own, when I was almost 40 years old and my youngest was just turning 5 years old! Maybe someone should have taught me not to mess with G-d’s plan! Have faith and believe!

    I know many stories aren’t happy outcomes but is the correlation age or is it expectations, stress, and other factors that we cannot measure??

  2. As a BT who married in her mid-thirties, I can identify with the delayed motherhood issue. Though I was blessed with children in short order, I certainly had friends of similar age who married around the same time, and encountered great difficulty in starting their families.

    Whether a woman bears her own children or adopts them, surely the real issue, from a Jewish point of view, is how she raises them. Is a child adopted from China or Guatemala, and converted via Reform or Reconstruction, Jewish? Will the adopted children of the Reconstructionist rabbi quoted at the end of the WP article be able to marry Orthodox Jews when they grow up, should they so desire?

    As for the trend among (secular) American Jewish women to delay childbearing due to education and career focus — it’s certainly interesting to reflect on how they differ from their non-Jewish peers. I have two (secular) female cousins in the US close to me in age (40-ish) who have each chosen to bear only one child. Both are affluent. Though one has a demanding career, the other has not worked a day out of the home in about 13 years, since her only daughter was born. I tend to think that non-Jewish women of similar affluence would nearly always choose to have at least two children.
    Though my cousins would probably deny this, I see in their decision a kind of insecurity, rooted in the abandonment of Jewish tradition that characterized their parents’ lifestyle. They themselves don’t know what sort of values or heritage they should be transmitting to their children … so they respond by not having too many of them. Non-Jews don’t seem to share this particular form of insecurity, they just limit childbearing to 2-3 kids for convenience/financial reasons.

    Just a theory.

  3. Sometimes I feel like this “leaving it too late” is a hysteria which doesn’t always have a basis. Most women are well able to conceive in their early to mid -30s and can have several children yet. And there is a growing trend of infertility overall, not just because of age which probably explains most if not all of the cases of 35-year-old women not conceiving. I feel like there is a lot of pressure and blame. I don’t think many women “choose” to delay motherhood, it’s just hard for a younger woman to find a husband who wants to marry that young or a husband at all often. Why that is is another discussion but I really think this pressure on women to “marry young or you won’t have kids” is very unhealthy.

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