MOTHERHOOD DEFERRED: A Woman's Journey by Anne Taylor Fleming


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The desperate quest to conceive, by a middle-aged, fadingly fertile woman who had nurtured her freelance writing career until the brink of too late. At 35 Fleming suddenly realized that she did want a baby after all. She ditched her diaphragm and tried to conceive with her nearly 60-year-old husband in the privacy of their bedroom. When that failed, the game moved to high-tech hospital wards. Time, money, and the odds of becoming pregnant slipped away as Fleming tried a barrage of procedures: GIFT, ZIFT, FET and other sterile acronyms. Between hormone shots and bumpy rides in the stirrups, Fleming bitterly remembers why she waited so long to have children -- the women's movement. And so begins her course in Feminism 101. The 50s: Sitcom-perfect marriage is a myth; her own parents divorce. The 60s: Fleming turns from budding high-schooler to sassy coed brandishing birth control pills. The 70s: She discovers kindred spirits de Beauvoir, Friedan, Greer, and husband; begins journalism career. The 80s: Reagan and Robert Bly rule. The 90s: Baby boomers reclaim America and get serious about raising families. This 40-year recap is interesting if you missed it the first time, but also highly subjective. Fleming reaches for answers using slipshod reasoning, drawing conclusions she presents as universal. But she is not the Everyfeminist she thinks she is; her theories are marked by the biases of a wrenching personal struggle. Read this more for the personal details of Fleming's quest to conceive than for the larger picture; then you'll see the power and poetry of her writing. Her question is ""How did feminism steer me wrong?"" The reader's is ""Will she get pregnant? How? What if she doesn't?"" We care about Fleming's well-being, not Gloria Steinem's bad advice. Manipulative yet effectively moving and very personal -- a diary written with the benefit of hindsight.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1994
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Putnam