What Are Children For?: On Ambivalence and Choice

St. Martin’s. Jun. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781250276131. $27. CHILD REARING
A growing number of people, all with different needs and desires, wrestle with the choice of whether to have children. Berg (philosophy, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem; coauthor, Wanting Bad Things) and Wiseman (managing editor, The Point; Sowing the Seeds for Sustainability) advocate for prospective parents to consider factors far beyond external ones in order to gain true clarity on the best decision for them. They found that fewer parents today feel external pressure than generations of the past, but certain careers and circles seem to make many women feel pressure to become mothers, nonetheless. Some of the women profiled in this book thought motherhood might lead to losing track of themselves. Others said that unresolved issues within their families influenced their ambivalence. Unrest in the world and climate change fears continue to impact many people’s decisions about kids.
VERDICT Aptly highlights the paradoxes of parenting and gives readers grappling with the question of whether or not to have children an honest and balanced perspective that will help them decide what’s right for them.
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