Where are the grandchildren?
Have YOU been asking that question? I have. When I looked around the living room at my book group, made up of women I have known since our children were in grade school and we all “did” PTA together, I saw eight women with seven daughters among them. Successful young women. Attractive. Self-sufficient. Funny. Talented. Single. With their long list of accomplishments, something was still missing. None were married. Or engaged. Or having babies, even though they had hoped this would be part of their future.
What were we going to do with our retirement if we were not becoming grandmas? What was going to happen to our girls if they did not find partners? And if they did, would their fertility last long enough to have babies in the old-fashioned way? I wanted answers. And so I set off on a quest.
I have interviewed some of the best fertility specialists in the world from NYU Fertility Clinic (Dr. David Keefe, Chairman) and have spoken with the psychologists (Dr. Shelley Lee, NYU, and Dr. Claudia Pascale, Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, NJ) and the academics (Prof. Sara Hosey, Nassau Community College, NY). I have had my eyes opened to the future by the man who practically invented bio-ethics (Dr. Art Caplan, NYU). I have talked to the women themselves. Their stories are complex and compelling. And I have even spoken to a handful of men about this issue. (Oy! Don’t ask!)
This is a deeply personal book. While on this journey I have also shared my quest for a grandchild of my own. I have spilled my guts. But it is also a journalistic exploration into a problem – if we can call it that. Perhaps “trend” is a better word, as “problem” has a negative connotation. But something has happened.
I wanted to know if, in our desire to raise independent, accomplished women, we might have gone overboard and raised women who thought they didn’t need men. Did the tenants of the Women’s Movement actually come full circle and bite us in our well-exercised behinds?
This has been an illuminating endeavor. I have laughed with the women I met and cried with one of the doctors. I have been moved by their stories and muddled through my own. This is for my daughter and your daughter, in cities across this country. With a foreword by renown ob/gyn Dr. Lila Nachtigall, I explore how their choices are changing the statistics of a nation. I invite you to join me as I examine this tender time between waning fertility and menopause. It is the UnPregnant Pause. And it impacts us all.