At the New York Times “Motherlode” blog, KJ Dell’Antonia is thinking out loud about that big headline:
Unmarried mothers, in some areas, have become the norm, no longer stigmatized by society. Regular readers of this blog will know that while births among teenagers are down in recent years, the majority of commenters here, at least, would support, not shun, a teenager of their acquaintance with a baby. That tolerance clearly extends to all unmarried mothers. Many of us pride ourselves on the modernity of this relatively new way of thinking — who would insist that only a family mirroring some 50’s-sitcom image of “nuclear” can raise a happy, healthy child?
But is our pride misplaced? Fifty-three percent of all children born to women under 30 is an awful lot of children born outside of what’s been considered, for more than a handful of years, the most stable family structure…
Can we find a way to support marriage at all levels of society without recreating the stigma for unmarried mothers and their children, and should we?