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She enjoys jewellery making, design and cinema—and she really loves children, enough to devote her life to teaching drama and French in primary school.But Delisle knew as a teenager she couldn’t have kids, a fact she was in denial about for years, she says.Most women start out expecting to have children, she says, citing a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that found 80 per cent of single women are childless, but that 81 per cent of group said they hope or plan to have children.
I know no woman who has done that.” Social infertility—or “circumstantial infertility” to use Notkin’s term—forces women to recalibrate expectations in ways not discussed publicly, she says: “At 25, a woman expects to have children, at 35 she hopes to, and at 45 she says she’s happy she doesn’t.” Women don’t broadcast wanting a child for fear of being lectured that they shouldn’t wait, Notkin says.
But they’re well aware of the tick-tock, she says: “Every 28 days offers a reminder.” The upshot is that women are being forced to make a tactical decision in their 30s: resort to solo motherhood, partner with someone simply to procreate, freeze their eggs or rely on IVF. How many women have the resources to keep working while paying child care on a single salary—or to not work at all?
“Now I know it was probably way too late by then anyway.” Social infertility is such a new concept that data is scarce.
A 2013 study out of Australia’s Deakin University published in the reports there has been a “general failure to examine women’s reasons for childlessness beyond [medical] infertility.” It found that more than half of the surveyed women without children listed having never been in the “right” relationship, being in a relationship where the partner did not want to have children—what some bloggers call “infertility by marriage”—or never having wanted children as the reason.
It’s a big problem for women born in the ’70s, says Day, who experienced social infertility herself: she married at 23 and tried to get pregnant in her late 20s; her 16-year marriage ended when she was 39 and considering IVF.
“I couldn’t find a suitable person to do IVF with,” she says.Catherine-Emmanuelle Delisle does not seem, at first glance, like a social firebrand.The 37-year-old schoolteacher in Saint-Bruno, a Montreal suburb, is a thoughtful, sensitive woman who exudes gamine charm.Grappling with never giving birth was painful, and required time to grieve.As she began to reframe her life as a childless woman, she observed a lack of role models or even discussion of the subject.The schoolteacher is part of a growing global movement that’s giving voice to a misunderstood phenomenon whose repercussions are personal and societal.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating