I'm not sure anyone (except certain "experts") was very surprised when the news broke back in May that U.S. fertility rates had (yet again) fell to record lows for the second straight year after steadily declining for the past several decades.
As a nation, we haven't been this not-pregnant since 1987.
Here's the thing, it doesn't take a lot of critical thinking to get to the bottom of this pregnancy drought.
Women are more educated than they've ever been. Many are marrying later in life (if they choose to marry at all), putting off having babies in favor of establishing a career and entering the work force.
But then there's also the thing about childcare and how freaking expensive it is. And when you factor in the lack of paid parental leave and overall glaring lack of support for families and working parents as a whole, it's no wonder people are hitting the brakes on babymaking.
A recent survey (highlighted HERE) conducted by the New York Times included 1,858 men and women ages 20 to 45. "Of the people who said they had or expected to have fewer children than they considered ideal, a whopping 64 percent said it was because “childcare is too expensive.” It was the No. 1 reason.
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It’s no secret to working families that childcare is now prohibitively expensive. In 33 states, infant care is more expensive than college tuition. Paying to put two kids through daycare is simply out of the question. Thus the average working mom is faced with the following dilemma: Quit her job—and potentially derail her career prospects—to stay home with two kids. Or just have one.
For many working moms, the answer—though sometimes disappointing and painful—is obvious."
Research shows over and over again how companies thrive when women are in leadership positions.
We NEED women in the workforce. We need their ideas and their efforts the same way our country needs a strong economy to survive and thrive, and we need families and yes, even babies too.
If adding to your family is something you want to do, you shouldn't have to be forced out of your career and livelihood to make it happen. Childcare subsidies and paid family leave are methods other countries with rising numbers of women in the work force have used to help offset the impact of having a baby with great success. Logic stands to reason that if it works for them, it sure as hell should work for us!
Motherhood in 21st century America shouldn't have to be an either/or situation. We CAN have the best of both worlds, women in the workforce and moms with babies too. Those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive.
I get it. Other countries get it. It's time America gets it too.