Nancy London finds that she’s in the awkward position of having to reverse herself.

As a co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves, published in 1973 (the year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade), London was among those who argued – convincingly – that biology was not destiny, that women should take control of their lives through birth control and find pleasure and independence in sex.

Her 2001 book Hot Flashes, Warm Bottles attempts to provide empathic guidance to women who find themselves, as she did when she had her daughter at 44, having to deal with small children, elderly parents, and their own menopausal mood swings all at once.

But for London, 50 is too far. She now believes that biology is destiny and that a woman who delays childbearing for decades because she has other priorities isn’t living in reality.

In the seventies, the Second Wave feminists wanted to “have a career, travel, have sexual adventures, whatever we thought freedom meant,” London recalls.

But then we had to find out that biology is not some patriarchal concept created to keep us barefoot and pregnant. To mother is part of our nature. To toss that out the window and say, ‘Hey, that’s not for me,’ and then at 50 to say, ‘Oops, forgot to have a baby’ – something is not processed in our thinking.

London has a suggestion. The human body has an organic deadline – menopause, which occurs around age 50 – after which baby-making is no longer possible. Why not respect it?

In our fifties, we take stock, get reflective, move into another phase not so defined by drama and personal drive. We do not, traditionally, mop mashed potatoes off the floor. Choosing to have children at 50 disrupts life’s natural trajectory, causing needless suffering and disharmony for both parent and child. “It’s irresponsible,” London says.

~ Lisa Miller, New York Magazine, October 3 issue

[HT: Laura Loo]

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