“The biological reality that female fertility peaks in the teens and early 20s can be difficult for many American women to swallow, as they delay childbirth further every year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In the District, the average age of initial childbirth was 26.5 years in 2006, up 5.5 years since 1970, the highest jump in the country…
“While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we, that is still when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby,” says Claire Whelan, program director of the American Fertility Association. “Our biological clock has not kept pace with our ability to prolong our life spans.” Stillman agrees, pointing out that research about advanced maternal age and motherhood today is clear: The older you get, the more difficult it is to get pregnant and the higher the chance of miscarriage, pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, among other concerns…
“Society has changed, ” says Stillman, “but the ovaries will take another million years or two to catch up to that.””
These statements were taken from an article in the Washington post by Carolyn Butler entitled “Ovaries have not adjusted to many women’s decision to delay having children”.
You can read the article in its entirety here:
While I strongly disagree with many conclusions and opinions in this article, the biological statements of fact are indeed accurate.
We agree there needs to be an adjustment, we just disagree about where the adjustment needs to be made
In the article, one of Carolyn Butler’s contributors stated that “Society has changed” but that basically women’s ovaries need to evolve to our societies’ desires. This is the height of arrogance toward our God and creator.
What never occurs to modern women, is maybe, just maybe, we need to “adjust” as a society and return to respecting a woman’s most important role in our society, being wives and mothers.
What all societies knew for thousands of years and has now been all but buried in our society is admitted in this article:
“While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we, that is still when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby”
Of course before they admit this extremely important biological fact, they have to put their value judgment in about maturity, but they cannot escape the biological FACT that women bear the most children, and the healthiest children from the teenage years to the early 20s. After the early 20s miscarriages, birth defects and all kinds of other issues come into play, besides the fact that it is simply harder to get pregnant.
The maturity argument
Dennis Prager, a syndicated radio talk show host has addressed this “maturity argument” many times. Dr. Prager states things like “marriage breeds maturity” and “after marriage having children breeds even more maturity” and he is absolutely right.
In addition to the fact that marriage does mature people, and so does having children, he talks about the need for people to get married younger and have children younger as they used to in the pre-modern era.
I would add to what he has said that as parents in the 20th and 21st centuries we have messed up (myself include in some ways). Each generation of parents over the last century has grown softer and softer on our children.
We hear people say things like, “we have to let children be children”, which basically means that our children have little to no real life responsibility until they reach 18, besides keeping up with their schooling in most cases. Even then we extend the childhood years with college, where they can party and have more fun for about 4 years before they graduate at 22 and are forced for the first time in their life to take on the full responsibilities of being an adult.
In pre-modern times, the idea of a child hood experience with absolutely no responsibility was a very short period. By the time children were 6 or 7 they were being taught the realities of life.
Boys hunted with their dads at a very young age, and girls learned to cook and make clothing at a very young age. By the time most children reached the age of 10, they knew what a hard day’s work was, the boys knew about hunting, farming and fighting, and the girls knew about caring for infants (helping their mother, or cousins or aunts) and they had seen many births. These girls were excited about the day when they would have their first period, and they were excited about when they would be able to marry and have children (usually around 13 or 14).
God created woman’s ovaries the way they are, and they are not going to “evolve” or “adjust”
Most Christians believe that God created and designed human beings perfectly. That means a woman’s ovaries, and her reproductive peeks as well as her eventual reproductive decline were perfectly designed by God.
So we ought to reject this idea that women’s ovaries just need to evolve to the life choices of modern women (and as Christians we know they won’t evolve or change). The fact is that as a society, we have made policies, laws and other accommodations that completely go against God’s design, whether it be in marriage, the family, and especially in how we come to women’s reproductive issues.
God designed a woman’s body to be bearing children at a young age. I stated in a previous article that the vast majority of Biblical Scholars believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus probably had him at about age 14. This was the normal age that most women had children in pre modern times. I completely realize that this is appalling to most westerners, to think of a 14 year old girl having a baby.
I have a 12 year old daughter, and I could not imagine her having a child in just 2 years.
But in recent years I have had to really come to the conclusion that not all our western values, or even our American values, match with God’s design.
Before we decided as a society that women were not mature enough to have children till they are in their mid-20s, almost all human civilizations knew when it came to women producing, strong and healthy children that “the earlier, the better” was the best way to go.
A woman’s most important function in society
Before the rise of modern feminism in the mid 1800’s, virtually all civilizations throughout history knew that a woman’s most important function in society was as a wife and mother. I link wife with mother, because societies also realized that women having children out of wedlock, was not good for society.
God’s design was that women would have children with the confines of marriage so that the mother would have protection and provision for the children she would bare.
Whether you are a Christian or not, the facts are unescapable. If women stopped having children, the human race would die out.
Not only do we need women to have children, we need them to have healthy children, strong children and well-loved and care for children. This goal is best achieved by women marrying and having children at a young age.
This completely conflicts with the values and thoughts of our modern society but this is how God designed the world to be.
But women are still having babies, just later in life
Some have responded that there is nothing to be concerned about. After all, women are stilling having babies, just later in life. But the unpopular truth is that woman who have children later in life tend to have fewer children.
In his book “What to expect when no one’s expecting”, author Jonathan Last states gives some startling facts on the coming fertility crisis. To summarize what he says in the book, a society needs women to be having on average 2.1 children in their lifetime, just to keep the population level from dropping. The way they come up with 2.1 is, you obviously need each woman to have two people, one to replace mom, and one to replace dad.
But the .1 comes from the fact that some woman are incapable of having children, as well as the fact that some children dies before they marry and have children of their own. So basically we need a certain about of women to have 3 children to make up for the women who can’t have any children.
America’s fertility rate has already dropped below the 2.1 replacement level, and we are now at 1.93. The only reason our population continues to experience modest growth is because of immigration. Many European countries are even lower than America’s fertility rate.
Mr. Last says that in 1970, the world fertility rate was 6.0. It now sits at 2.52 and continues to decline as less developed nations use more birth control and become more westernized.
While I think Mr. Last offered some great statistics in this book, he like many conservatives did not have the courage to take on the true source of this problem – modern feminism and woman’s rights.
In fact he offers no real solutions in the book, but only shows the problem, and it is a real problem. It is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is not a Christian or non-Christian issue, it is simply an issue of math. We are not having enough children because women are delaying having children so long.
You can find the book on Amazon at:
Who cares if the population declines?
I have seen people online, mostly liberal, that recognize these facts that world fertility rates are indeed falling, and they think it is a good thing. After all – man is menace to the planet then we have the whole “urban sprawl” problem. Thy population bomb myth was debunked years ago. The only reason we feel more crowded is because we have chosen to crowd ourselves in cities. If you go a few miles outside any major city and suburban area, you will see millions of acres of uninhabited land.
As Christians God has commanded us to “be fruitful and multiply”. He did not just command us to replace ourselves (have two kids), he commanded us to “multiply”. That means we should be having at least four children per husband and wife.
The non-religious problem with population decline is that economies are based on populations growing – not shrinking. When populations decrease, it decimates towns, cities, states and countries.
One of the dirty little secrets of why we are having all the debt issues in the United States is because our population is not growing at the rate it once did. If we had the population growth we once did, we would not be having the Social Security Crisis we are now currently facing.
Am I saying a woman’s only value is in her reproductive capability?
I am not saying a woman’s only value is in her reproductive capability. But a woman’s most important function biologically (and Biblically I might add), is the bearing and caring for children – her body is perfectly designed for this task. My heart goes out to women who are barren – to use the Biblical term. My second wife is one of these women.
While my first wife was extremely fertile (we had several children together before we were divorced). My second wife was never able to conceive, but her heart’s desire was to have children, as should be the desire of every woman who knows her creator’s design. Now she is a great step mother to my five children. A woman has value in other areas as well, whether she is artistic, or musically inclined, or intelligent and well read, but her abilities in other areas must always take a back seat to her primary biological function of motherhood.
So what is the answer to this crisis?
Am I saying I need to go out and find a husband for my 12 year old daughter? No. But my reason for this is not because I believe my daughter would be wasting her life if she did as women earlier in history did, and married young.
The reason is simply because of the culture she has been raised in it would be too traumatic for her, since she has not been raised her whole life preparing for marriage at a younger age, as women of old were prepared. Also obviously it would be illegal.
In most states marriage is allowable at the age of 16 with parental consent. New York actually allows marriage at the age of 14 with parental consent, and some other states allow marriage at 15 with parental consent.
This what I believe Christian parents should be doing.
Our Christian sons have a different responsibility, Biblically speaking than our Christian daughters.
The primary responsibility that God has designed men for is – to lead in society, the church and the family. Men are built to work, to provide for their families, and they are built to protect them.
The primary responsibility that God designed women for was to be wives and mothers. Women are meant to come along men as soon as possible and bare and raise as many children as they can.
Ours sons should not be marrying before they can provide for a wife and family. This would mean that a man should not marry until he has steady work, and a home. Some men may not be college material, so these young men should be encouraged to take up a skilled trade.
Other young men who are intelligent, should be strongly encouraged to attend and finish college so that they can provide to the best of their abilities for their future wife and children.
Our daughters on the other hand, do not have the responsibility to look for how they will provide for themselves, this is their future husband’s job. God designed our daughter’s to be wives and mothers first and foremost. They should be encouraged to seek out older men(preferably mid 20s) that are well established and can provide for them and their children. As Christians we should be teaching our children to seek out good, Godly men that will lead them, provide for them, and protect them.
So while it is abhorrent to many modern Americans, both conservative and liberal, I would see no problem with the idea of my daughter when she is 16, meeting and marrying a good Christian man(say 23 or 24) who is successful in his business endeavors and who is committed to his church and his God. There is nothing evil, or immoral about such an arrangement. Before the last half century, this would been honored thing for a young woman to do.
Once they are married – we should repeat God’s admonition to humanity to the young couple – “be fruitful and multiply”
Are you against women being educated or having careers?
A logical conclusion that someone might draw from this post, and this line of thinking is, that if women did indeed marry younger (as they still do in many non-western countries) then they will not be educated or have careers.
I am not against women being educated. But where I disagree with our modern society is, a woman’s education should always come second to her primary responsibility of being a wife and mother. Our society has it backwards Biblically speaking, we have made an idol out of education and made it more important than a woman’s first job of being a wife and mother.
So would I have an issue with a teen mom marrying, but then continuing her education from home as she bares and raises her children – of course not. Her continuing education would help her to teach her children, among other benefits it would offer.
As far as women having careers goes – I have written extensively on this subject and you can ready the related posts below to find out what I believe the Bible teaches on this subject. But as with education, a woman working must always come secondary to her primary role as wife and mother, if we want strong families, and a healthy and growing society.