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Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood Hardcover – December 25, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this upbeat, sometimes self-congratulatory book, University of Houston professor Gregory looks at the benefits of waiting until later in life to have children. Recent front-page studies citing a rise in infertility have instilled a sense of emergency in women who put off having children until they have established careers and chosen the right father—or perhaps eschewed the need for one. Gregory's palliative, informative study of 113 mothers between the ages of 35 and 56 (she doesn't share where they live, one failing of this work) reveals the rational motivations on the part of these mostly well-educated, professional women for waiting, as well as their varying success in getting pregnant. Married moms, single moms, gay moms, moms who had a baby by nature or with the help of technology or adoption—Gregory shares her happy discovery that most of these new later moms felt positive about their choices. Some of the reasons they cite in interviews include bringing more financial power and education to the nest, creating a strong family focus and the likelihood of a stable, peer marriage, enjoying a longer life expectancy and a general sense of self-confidence younger mothers may lack. Helpfully, Gregory debunks a lot of the hysterical statistics surrounding infertility and dispenses the wealth of pregnancy and adoption offerings with equanimity and good cheer. (Jan.)
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“A book that focuses on the positive effects of women’s decisions about their working and family lives deserves a rousing welcome... lively, accessible and lucid.”
Washington Post Book World
“Gregory ... has a serious point, and she marshals both anecdotal and statistical evidence to make it. Today's 40-year-old first-time mother not only has plenty of company; she also possesses confidence, professional experience and occupational clout that translate into either leverage on the job market or a happier time out of it, whichever choice that mother makes.”
Adam Pertman, author of Adoption Nation
“Elizabeth Gregory sheds light on an aspect of the contemporary family experience that has not been examined in great detail until now: the new later motherhood phenomenon. Many of the families Elizabeth Gregory examines are formed the old-fashioned way, but a growing number are the result of adoption and reproductive technologies. Finally, we have a wonderful book that provides us with a thoughtful and thorough examination of motherhood and family life in the 21st century.”
Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood and If You’ve Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything
“Elizabeth Gregory has discovered the real truth behind all the false alarms over delayed motherhood: that older mothers tend to be very happy with their decision to have children later in life. A positive, optimistic message for women: you can wait until you are ready to be a good parent.”
Steven Mintz, author of Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood
“With clarity, compassion, and common sense, Elizabeth Gregory takes us on a captivating tour of the changing landscape of 21st-century motherhood. She offers a forceful and compelling challenge to those who view contemporary motherhood in ferociously negative terms, as an unholy blend of smother love, over-parenting, and unremitting anxiety and guilt. An insightful and extraordinarily informative look at how today’s highly accomplished women balance the conflicting demands of prolonged professional training, high-pressure careers, and the yearning to raise children.”
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species
"In this beautifully written and well researched book, Elizabeth Gregory explores contemporary transformations in what it means to be a mother, chronicling the exponential growth in the number of women over 35 seeking to conceive or adopt children. Without ignoring the risks, Gregory reviews the advantages to mothers of living on their own terms and the benefits to children of being reared by more experienced, settled and committed individuals, as well as the various options open to women who postpone child-rearing.”

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (December 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465027857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465027859
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,611,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Gregory directs the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Houston, where she is also a Professor of English.
She blogs on later motherhood and the politics and economics of women's work at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Stanek on January 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm delighted to see a book on this topic with all the anecdotal evidence in the world that yes, sometimes late-in-life moms do have an edge over younger ones--more settled, wiser, richer, been there done that and everything else we needed to do to feel complete--except the biggie--motherhood. We may get gray hair sooner and emabarass our teens when the clerk at Abercrombie's thinks we're a grandparent not the parent, but I'm living it and loving it. Gregory gives compelling proof that this choice is not the huge risk it is often perceived to be. Our kids have kept us young(er) and more physically and mentally active than we might otherwise be had we decided that we had missed the boat. The book was also quite readable and not quite as academic a treatise as I had anticipated.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Duhon on April 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Although I am not a mother, I am a fan of the English department at University of Houston (my alma mater), go coogs!

I found this book to be a delightful, realistic outlook on the many roles and responsibilities of women in the United States. As a child raised by a single mother, I understand how having an older, educated mother can better enable one's children to be better prepared for the world's obstacles.

What a wonderful read! My friends are buying this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Young on July 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a married, 30 year old woman, with no kids (currently). I have been focused on my career since my early twenties and when I started having thoughts of babies I needed some guidance. This book is very empowering for older women looking to have a family. It is mostly a collection of stories from other women that have been in the same situation. This book covers married, single, lesbian and much older woman that are looking to, or have already, gotten pregnant. Don't expect this book to have in depth medical advice or any of that. It will show you that there are other women out there that have felt the same... and what they did about it. I really did love this book and have recommended it to several friends in their mid 30s thinking about having a first child or adding to their family.
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