The sociologists are right to wonder why, if half of pregnancies are unplanned, only 37% of the respondents in the Pew Research Center's recent survey, "The New Demography of American Motherhood," when asked why they "decided to have children," said, "It wasn't a decision, it just happened."
The study seems to indicate the answer to the question, "To whom do children 'just happen'?" is "teenagers, the poor, and the less educated." But Prof. Lisa Wade speculates these folks are really just less constrained by "the ideology of near-perfect control of reproduction" to admit it.
Let's hold off on coming up with a catchier term than "the ideology of near-perfect control of reproduction" until we figure out what the hell Pew was aiming for with this actual survey question:
"I'm going to read a list of reasons why some people have children. For each one, please tell me how important this factor was for YOU in deciding to have your first child:Given the mismatched choices and the ambiguous wording--and the absence of "We already got a dog," "to bring me beers in a couple of years," and "because Bristol Palin had one"--I'm frankly surprised everyone without an IVF pipette didn't say "it just happened."
- Having financial resources to raise a child
- Wanting to have someone to take care of you when you're old
- The joy of having children
- Feeling pressure from parents or other family members to have a baby
- Your spouse or partner really wanted to have a baby
- It wasn't a decision; it just happened