AND BABY MAKES TWO: Motherhood Without Marriage by Sharyne & Linda Steiner Merritt

AND BABY MAKES TWO: Motherhood Without Marriage

Email this review


About today's mature single-mothers-by-choice--but with only the most superficial grasp of the situation, and nothing helpful to say to the single mother. Merritt and Steiner have no immediately apparent qualifications. (They are identified as ""faculty members"" at California State Polytechnic Institute and Governors State U. in Illinois, respectively. There is no indication that they're mothers of any kind, and every sign that they're not.) They have ostensibly interviewed some single mothers--number and circumstances unspecified. These women (""Margaret Richards,"" ""Sandra Franklin,"" etc.) report, expectably, that they had financial security and had already savored freedom; they wanted children but didn't want (or foresee) marriage. Some, anticipating an adverse reaction, adopted a child instead of having a baby; the majority who had babies usually found their parents more supportive than their friends. Those who expected something from the biological fathers were invariably disappointed. During pregnancy, almost all were lonely; most had second thoughts; Lamaze arrangements--the need for a coach-partner--discomfitted some. New-motherhood brought overwhelming happiness, but also practical problems--at which point the authors' ignorance of parenting, child development, and single-parenting issues torpedo what has previously been merely banal. I.e., ""What does one do with a newborn infant while emptying the garbage or transferring clothes from washing machine to dryer?"" ""Apparently the trick""--in turning to outside caregivers--""is to accustom the child to being away from Mom right from the start."" Conclusions? ""Many women see economics as the key to parenting alone."" The other primary need is for a support system. Speaking for themselves, the authors aver that ""all things being equal, a child is better off having a daddy"" (""ours is, after all, a two-parent society""); but some single women can offer children a good life. All in all: worthless.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Watts