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When Single Women Freeze Their Eggs, Who Is the Baby?

Have you ever noticed that fully-grown single people sometimes get treated as if they are not fully adult? Their coupled friends invite them to lunch (if that) instead of dinner, to their children’s birthday parties but not to movies on Saturday night with the grown-ups. When traveling, singles get the back seat of the car, and when they arrive, they get to sleep on the couch in the living room instead of in a room with a door that shuts.

I’m not saying everyone treats single people that way, of course, but I am quite sure that single people get the children’s treatment far more often than coupled people do.

I wrote a lot about this in Singled Out. I thought I had heard just about every variation on the theme. Thanks to the Motherlode blog at the New York Times, I just learned about a new example.

The post was written by Robin Marantz Henig, whose work I really like, and her daughter, Samantha Henig, whose work I am just getting to know, but already like it.

The relevant section begins in Robin’s voice:

“I had a perfect opening to talk adult birds-and-bees with my younger daughter Samantha when we were co-writing a book (to be published in November) called “Twentysomething,” about the consequential decisions young people make in their 20s. We had just interviewed a 31-year-old woman who was thinking of freezing her eggs. So I asked Sam if she’d ever considered this for herself. She was 27 and single at the time.”

Samantha: It’s funny that my mother thinks the answer to the limits of reproductive technology is for parents to get involved earlier. Who says they should be involved at all? In her book “Singled Out,” Bella DePaulo writes about the tendency to infantilize single people — and this to me seems like a classic case. My mother wouldn’t (and doesn’t) insert herself into my older, married sister’s reproductive choices, because those are decisions she expects my sister and her husband to work through together. I may not have a husband with whom to discuss my eggs, but that’s hardly an invitation for my parents to take even partial ownership of them.

It is an interesting post; you can read the whole thing here.

What do you think of the Motherlode conversation? And what other examples of the infantilization of singles have I missed?

When Single Women Freeze Their Eggs, Who Is the Baby?

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyZysfafOAs. Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at www.BellaDePaulo.com.


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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2012). When Single Women Freeze Their Eggs, Who Is the Baby?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 20, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/05/when-single-women-freeze-their-eggs-who-is-the-baby/

 

Last updated: 25 May 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 May 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.