Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children Hardcover – Apr 10 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
"Between a third and a half of all high-achieving women in America do not have children" and "the vast majority yearn" for them, says Hewlett, founder of the National Parenting Association. In this study of baby lust, Hewlett portrays the anguished hand-wringing by middle-aged women who were career-obsessed throughout their 20s and 30s, only to wake up single at 40, biological clocks all petered out. Infertility treatment is not a solution, she says; it's expensive, dangerous to women's health and unlikely to produce a pregnancy, much less a live, healthy baby. Moms and potential moms from playwright Wendy Wasserstein to a 46-year-old single woman who traveled to China to adopt illustrate Hewlett's thesis that "some of the most heartfelt struggles of the breakthrough generation have centered on the attempt to snatch a child from the jaws of menopause. A few succeed; most do not." Hewlett attests that "if high-altitude careers inevitably exact a price, it's profoundly unfair that the highest prices... are paid by women." "Self-indulgent" women might try to have a child and a career by hiring a nanny, but for Hewlett, it's more "courageous" for a woman to forgo childbearing if a career is her real goal. Hewlett's advice to young women is strangely retro: get married you'll be happier and healthier. She counsels them to give "urgent priority" to finding a marriage partner fast, "have your first baby before 35" and look for work at a family-friendly corporation. Though ardently argued, her case is unconvincing.
Founder of the National Parenting Association, Hewlett reports on new data showing nearly half of the most successful women in corporate America are childless, mostly contrary to their heartfelt desires. Hewlett begins with interviews of high-powered women--lawyers, journalists, scholars, doctors, businesswomen--who wanted children but ran out of time to begin their families. She reviews recent data on career women and their odds of marrying and raising a family, noting that despite promising medical technology, most women over the age of 40 aren't able to conceive and deliver healthy babies. According to the author, "most of the heartfelt struggles of the breakthrough generation have centered on the attempt to snatch a child from the jaws of menopause." Finally, she presents strategies on how young women can avoid the fate of the previous generation and what corporations can do to support women who want both careers and families. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
1. I wouldn't have felt so alone in my quest to have children while climbing the corporate ladder.
2. I probably would have tried to have my 2 kids a little earlier before the height of my career as opposed to during the height of my career.
3. I would have rejoiced more while pregnant over how lucky I was/am to have become a mom in my mid-thirties rather than feel bad that I was being passed over for promotions.
4. I would have encouraged girlfriends who are now too old to have kids to have had kids earlier, rather than encouraged them as much in their careers.
5. I would have set myself up more conservatively in my finances so that I could truly enjoy my young family better.
Overall, this book gives working women the TRUTH, not the "you can have it all" line that feminists and propaganda have been throwing at this generation of women for some thirty-plus years now. The truth is, having a family isn't the same for women as it is for men; and therefore, how can women expect that their careers can be equal or the same to a man's after having a family? Well, the cold-hard truth is, in today's corporate society women are not supported in their endeavors to have families. And whether Sylvia Ann Hewlett's book provides any real solutions to this or not, the most important achievement of this book is that it heightens awareness to this extremely important issue!
Perhaps if she rereads it again in a year or two, she will see why no-one is taking her policy prescriptions seriously. She may even see why it's not selling.Read more ›
But hey, the book is merely indicating that less professional women are having children?..suggesting it could be the chicken or the egg here..either (a) that professional women are not interested in children or that (b) the professional lifestyle hides their underlying desire to have children. They should not assume that women 'just know' whether children are good for them or not. I think it is more than that.
Living in Manahattan, I see and experince first hand the pressure that professional women and men experience. Psychologically, I notice women and men go through different moods according to the working week, and the difference between 'work mood' and 'relax mood' is more distinct than with non-Professionals, or those under less pressure. During these 'work moods' these people are so neurotic and overwhelmed with their careers their sex drive is affected and they also have no time to feel their desire for a natural normal human goal: to create a new life. So, when the career ambitions subside, and they have more time on their hands, they come out of their 'work mood' and realise they have missed out on half of their life goal.
I speak to many women, and every single one of them really does desire a child to nurture..its is natural. I see and hear that every time they are relaxed and have time to think about it.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The world is over-populated. Please be open and learn from the Europeans: adopt desserted babies in South America, Asia, Africa and now one more source (caused by the American... Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by S. FAN
This book has many biases and flaws. Other reviewers have already gone into detail on these points, so I won't belabor them. Read morePublished on March 9 2004 by Renaaah
I asked my OBGYN about this book. He laughed and told me that one third of his practice is first time mothers over 40, and two thirds are first time mothers over 35. Read morePublished on July 8 2003
The modern views of Sylvia Hewlett's are obviously presented throughout her novel "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children. Read morePublished on June 5 2003 by Arielle
This is a good survey that show us the problems we are facing because of patriarchy. The problems we, professional women, face is how to manage work and family, which as a... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2003 by Female recent graduate
An interesting read but I can save future readers some time.
Babies are not found at the office or as a bonus for closing the deal.
I found this a fascinating book, and a real eye-opener. First, I want to refer to several of the most recent reviews of this book I just read. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2003
This book was very insightful and based on real-life research. I am thirty-one and have spent the last ten years focused solely on my career as a professional. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2002
Yes, some things are best pursued during young adulthood - college education, career building, baby-making. Hewlett's research makes that point, and it alone is worth two stars. Read morePublished on Dec 23 2002 by Lisa
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