By Grace McEvoy
Nineteen sixty-one, the year of my birth, is considered by some to be the last year of the baby boom. That puts me in the generation that grew up with many cousins and siblings but in my case, not one niece or nephew. Socially, things changed quickly as I came of age and I made adjustments over time regarding where I stood on the question of having children. The generation prior to mine didn’t ponder this so, in fact there was nothing to consider since most people assumed they would marry and have a family.
With thanks to those who came before us, women of my generation had birth control and legal abortion. Over time divorce became easier and professional options expanded. Women could get credit, own property and seriously consider life outside of a conventional nuclear family as an option. In the nineteen seventies the economy changed such that women had to work to contribute financially and with this came a desire for more freedom and autonomy. The Equal Rights Amendment was being debated as I came of age and while it did not pass, there is no doubt that women have gained equity in the U.S. since that time, in part, because of the ERA.
One consequence of these changes for me was ambivalence about the idea of becoming a mother, not only because it was now a choice but also, because of some of the political and social messages I was sorting through. My personal choice was a political conversation and felt like a statement regardless of what I chose to do. I took a long time to decide if I wanted to be a mother and like many women my age, waited until the last minute. Continue Reading