Free World - September 14, 2021

Jennifer Cruz was approaching age 30 when she decided she didn’t want to wait to…


Jennifer Cruz was approaching age 30 when she decided she didn’t want to wait to get married to have a child.⁠⁠
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“When I realized I was attracting the wrong men, and I really just wanted a child, I said, ‘Why not separate the two things?’” said Cruz, a New York City special education teacher with a master’s degree. Using a sperm donor, she conceived and gave birth to a baby boy shortly before her 30th birthday.⁠⁠
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Nearly a quarter of highly educated women in their mid-30s had their first babies outside marriage, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.⁠⁠
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The study found that nonmarital childbearing has increased significantly among women of all educational levels over the past quarter-century. Yet the sharpest increase has been among women who hold a bachelor’s degree or more. About 24.5% of them ages 32 to 38 weren’t married when they had their first babies, according to surveys from 2017-2018. That is a sixfold increase from 1996, when the share was 4% for that group.⁠⁠
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Cruz, now 36, eventually married and is now pregnant with her second child, although that marriage is in the process of dissolving, she said. She said she is grateful that she became a mother on her own terms. “I felt like I had the freedom to have my son,” she said.⁠⁠
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Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⁠
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📷: @thaliajuarezphoto for @wsjphotos



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