OTHERHOOD: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness
Otherhood is the story of so many women of my generation, the daughters of the modern feminist movement, who expected to have the social, economic and political equality our mothers didn’t have, and surely the husband and children they did. But many of us remain single and/or childless as our fertile years wane. We find ourselves in a time and place that is very different from what we anticipated, and certainly much different from what we have always desired.
It’s rare that I meet a single and/or childless woman in her thirties or forties who is not yearning for love, marriage and/or children. But it’s assumed by many that these women must simply have other priorities, focusing on their career over family, or being naïve about their fertility, as examples. But these women are deeply misunderstood; no matter how much of a priority love, marriage and motherhood is for this group, the resolution of their most cherished longings elude them.
And yet, while this group is doing its best to live full and meaningful lives despite their frustrations, we are often made to feel second class, outside of motherhood. We, the Otherhood, who have yet to find our rightful, equitable, requisite place in society, deserve one. Otherhood denotes our tribe - our fabulous, extraordinary, never-settling on love, tribe. And this book is our story.
I decided to write about my personal experience, which I began to share on The Huffington Post, PsychologyToday.com and other platforms in 2011, because women would write to me to tell me that what I had written had resonated with them in a way nothing had before. This book enables me to share a deeper look at my experience and those of other women. I hope that readers will see themselves in some of the familiar experiences, feelings, and characters they come across, and feel less alone.
I hope the stories in Otherhood inspire readers to be able to better articulate and share their experiences with those who may not understand them, and among those who very much do. And I want those who care about the women who live in the Otherhood to read this book and better appreciate them and their individual and collective experiences.
And I want readers who see themselves in the Otherhood and may feel frustrated or stuck in the life they never expected, to keep moving forward. I hope Otherhood empowers readers to make a choice of what to do next, whatever that choice is, however big or small that next step is. I hope that Otherhood is the beginning a new chapter for the reader, and for this generation.
From the publisher:
The rising percentage of childless women is one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated social issues of our time. Never before have more women lived longer before having their first child or remained childless toward the end of their fertility. Nearly half of North American women of childbearing age are childless—a dramatic rise from 35 percent in 1976—yet childless women are still perceived as the exception, not the norm.
In Otherhood, Melanie Notkin explores this modern phenomenon to understand the reasons for this shift, the social and emotional impact of childlessness, and how the “new normal” will impact social structures in the decades to come. By turns anecdotal storytelling, inspiration, reportage, and manifesto, Otherhood gets at the heart of our social consciousness around childlessness to trigger thought-provoking conversation. Notkin's intimate take on the trend affecting so many modern women is a groundbreaking exploration of this essential social issue.