One of our daughters was born with a full head of hair. At a very young age, she would tug on her tresses and yell from the self-inflicted pain. In the eyes of two doting parents, it was sad, though not without a tinge of humor.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that the number of women seeking medical intervention to get pregnant is increasing. Almost a quarter of childless women in the 40-44 age group sought services to help them conceive. While the survey was conducted from June 2006 to June 2010, my guess is that the statistics are trending even higher today.
The largest bump in seeking medical aid is that of women between the ages of 35 and 44. Would you be surprised to find that many of them are white, well-educated and have above average incomes?
At the same time statistics for 2008 show that 746,530 women girls younger than twenty got pregnant. Some pregnancies ended in in miscarriages, many were terminated through abortion, while almost 450,000 of these ended in live in births. I think it safe to assume that even recognizing that some of the babies born were released for adoption, and a small minority was born to married women with committed and loving husbands, the overwhelming majority is starting life with great handicaps. Their mothers are ill equipped to provide for their physical or psychological needs and the baby’s presence portends a more difficult time for these girls in overcoming their own lives’ handicaps. Would you be surprised to find that many of these mothers are African-Americans, don’t have high school diplomas, and have below average incomes?
The members of these two groups probably rarely meet. Yet they have a great deal in common. Certainly not all, but many of them were swept up in cultural trends. They are victims of misguided public policies, foolish social mores and a breach of sadly, uncommon, common sense. The entertainment industry peddled lies to them, the educational system betrayed them (whether at an Ivy League University or at an inner city school), psychologists and sociologists misled them and politicians used them for personal gain.
The challenges these women face in trying to mother a healthy family are worlds apart. Yet, tragically, the steps that led to facing overwhelming obstacles in doing so were largely self-inflicted. Unlike our daughter who finally made the connection between pulling her hair and the resulting pain, their problems won’t easily disappear.
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Christen, I appreciate the point you are making and certainly know many women myself who only got married in their thirties. However, many, though certainly not all, of those didn’t focus on getting married in their early twenties. Marriage simply was demeaned as something to focus on when you are young, in addition to unrealistic expectations for the ‘perfect’ man. I haven’t read the book by the “Princeton mom” who urges college women to look for mates (and I don’t know that I would agree with her) but her point is certainly true that marriage is discouraged at ages when it used to take place.
I would be cautious about grouping all the older women into a group being sold a bill of goods. Many of us simply didn’t meet the right person until we were older. I don’t know a single woman who is seeking fertility treatment in their 30s and 40s who is doing it because they made a career choice not to have children earlier in their lives. I’m sure that some people have made that choice. I just don’t know any of them myself.
Thanks once again, Ms. Susan, for your Musing! The roots of these tragedies are by no means new. They have been around for a long, long time. Conservatives complain today about the one-sided subservience of the Mass Media to the Leftist Dialectic and the current propagation of this slanted dialectic by the prevailing Regime. But the media have long been complicit in the tragedy you describe.
Well can I recall the messages sent out on popular music stations broadcasting the Top 40 Hits in the 1960’s. There was a subliminal message even back then, that in order to be a Man, one had to have a date this weekend, and on this date one simply had to “score.” No thought of hardship to the poor girl, how her future might be compromised or how her life might be ruined by the consequences of a one-night stand. I am no expert on today’s ‘pop-counter-culture,’ yet I suspect that the situation has not changed, indeed has deteriorated. Add to that some counter-cultures of groups to which you allude, that sanction or even encourage violence toward women and overt criminality, mocking all ‘traditional’ societal values.
But at the heart of all repentance and restitution is the Golden Rule, that propagated by Judaism, by Christ and by Hillel: treat all men just as you yourself would want to be treated. Did I fail to mention that ‘all men’ includes also women, who usually represent over half of the human race?
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