WCCEH Seminar: Why delayed motherhood? Women’s decisions, 1910s-2010s
A talk by Emeritus Professor, Rima Apple, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Older women becoming first-time mothers is a popular theme in contemporary media in articles that range from sensationalized stories about miraculous births to warnings about the difficulties women of a certain age have in attaining biological motherhood. Some view the possibility of child bearing later in life as a blessing of modern medicine; others bemoan women who postpone maternity. As timely as this issue is, it is not new. For much of the century, some physicians reassuringly counseled that the single most important factor for women to consider was health, not age; others stressed more that fertility declined with age. But in addition to their “biological clock,” women delaying childbearing were influenced by changing social, cultural, economic, and technological factors. This paper focuses the phenomenon of delayed motherhood over the past century, discussing the advice women were given and how their personal experiences shaped their decision-making.
Followed by a short talk by Professor Anna Murray, University of Exeter Medical School on the genetics of reproductive ageing.
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