Conference Agenda

RN13_08: Family planning and fertility II
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Anna-Maija Castrén, University of Eastern Finland
Session Chair: Detlev Lück, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Location: UP.1.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, First Floor Oxford Road


Family Planning and Unplanned Postponement of Childbearing

Anna Stastna, Jitka Slabá, Jiřina Kocourková

Charles University, Czech Republic

Childbearing postponement constitutes a key demographic change that has been experienced by most European countries. One of the countries that experienced the most dynamic changes in the age profile of fertility is Czechia. There is a vast body of literature dealing with the reasons for family planning to an older age, however, childbearing postponement can also be the result of failure of the original individuals' plans. Research shows that in Czechia nearly a third of women who carried out the transformation of reproductive behaviour towards an older age pattern indicated that their first child was born or would be born later than they had originally planned.

In this paper, the unplanned postponement of both first and second births is analysed since the two-child family constitutes the most common family model in Czechia. We analyse the reasons behind women postponing childbirth to later ages than originally planned and the effects of the various factors behind this unplanned postponement on the length of the birth interval.

Employing survey data, we focus on the individual level of fertility postponement and the main emphasis is placed upon subjective interpretations. The Czech survey “Women 2016” (N=1257 women born 1966-1990) includes information on childbearing plans and timing, the subsequent realisation of these plans and reasons for timing plans not being fulfilled. Factor analysis is used to assess reasons for the unscheduled delay in childbirth and Kaplan-Meier survival curves are employed when analysing how the initial unplanned childbirth postponement influenced second birth timing.

Becoming a Mother in Adolescence: The Role of Social Inequality, Sexuality Education and Men

Vaida Tretjakova, Lina Šumskaitė, Rūta Ubarevičienė, Gintarė Pociūtė-Sereikienė

Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Lithuania

Adolescent fertility rate (AFR) in Lithuania is 2-4 times higher than AFR in the countries of Northern and Western Europe. Furthermore, there is a high degree of regional differentiation within the country – AFR is significantly higher in peripheral rural regions and lower in the municipalities of major cities. In this paper we aim to investigate the reasons behind the spatial differentiation of adolescent fertility and explore subjective experiences of teenage motherhood in peripheral regions of Lithuania. Following recent literature about the determinants of adolescent fertility (Lindberg et al. 2012; Santelli et al. 2017) we focus on the effect of structural socio-economic inequalities and sexuality education. Additionally, we examine the role men play in this process. We employ a mixed methods approach. Firstly, we apply mathematical-statistical geo-analysis on fertility data (vital statistics on births to mothers aged 15-19). Secondly, we analyse semi-structured interviews conducted in districts with high AFR: 20 interviews with girls who had their child(ren) in adolescence and 24 interviews with social workers, schools’ representatives, public health specialists. Our analysis indicates that the state “fails” Lithuanian teenage girls in rural areas at every step of their transition to adulthood and motherhood: social and economic security of children is not insured (most teenage mothers come from socially and economically deprived families); sexuality education in schools is inadequate, often focused on engraining negative attitudes towards abortion; there is no special provision or support for teenage mothers after the child is born. Research project "Spatial differentiation of adolescent fertility in Lithuania: socioeconomic environment, the role of sexual education and individual experiences" (financed by the Lithuanian Research Council, contract No. S-MIP-17-115).

Defying the Norm of Ideal Parenthood – Single Mothers by Choice

Eija Mirjami Sevón

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Across Europe, countries are attempting to address the challenges facing women and men who want to form a family. Reproductive justice refers to individuals’ autonomy over the choice of whether to have a child and be a parent to that child. This ongoing study draws on this novel concept of reproductive justice to address the questions, “Who is entitled to have a child?” and “How do the changing and contested meanings of children, childhood and parenthood contribute to the choice to have a child?” The study is a response to the call for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to the multifaceted issue of equality in the possibility to form a family.

The heterogeneity, discrepancies and inequalities underlying family formation are addressed from the perspective of Finnish mothers who have chosen to bring up their children alone. The data comprise accounts produced in narrative interviews by self-identified single mothers on the possibilities and constraints they faced in choosing to have a child, and the value and the meanings they attribute to having a child and being a parent in Finland. The mothers’ personal narratives reveal diverse societal and cultural ambiguities and dilemmas related to wanting a child, making the decision to go ahead and form a family without a male spouse, the timing of motherhood, single motherhood as a selfish decision, the use of ART, and raising a child without the father.

Prenatal Feminization Of Parenthood: An (Online-)Ethnography Of German Birth-Preparation Classes And Pregnancy Forums

Nicole Zillien1, Marion Müller2, Julia Gerstewitz1

1University of Giessen, Germany; 2University of Tübingen, Germany

In our paper we analyze the transition to parenthood in Germany, where childcare still is primarily considered the responsibility of the mother and where – in comparison to other European countries – the rate of part-time working mothers is very high. We assume, that in the prenatal phase female parents-to-be are undergoing dramatic changes not only in their physical being but especially in their (self-)perception and social categorization. Therefore, in our qualitative analysis we focus on two established institutions in the prenatal phase: on birth-preparation classes (led by midwives) and pregnancy forums online (mainly consisting of posts by mothers-to-be). Our (online-)ethnography shows that birth-preparation classes and pregnancy forums highlight differences between men and women as well as between women and mothers, interconnect these differences with gendered attributions and legitimize them through naturalization. We can show, that in the classes as well as in the forums potential childbearing and breastfeeding abilities of women are “extended culturally” (Goffman 1977: 313). Overall both institutions imply the notion that the primary responsibility for a child naturally lies with its mother. Thus, communication in German birth preparation classes and pregnancy forums accelerate gendered attributions to parents as early as in the antenatal phase and thereby function as institutions strengthening a process of regendering and retraditionalization.