Age and considerations on entry into motherhood. Evidence from Slovakia and Poland

Michaela Potancokova, Demographic Research Centre - INFOSTAT
Monika Mynarska, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University

The postponement of childbearing is occurring across Europe, but the paths of this trend differ profoundly from country to country. Lots of attention has been dedicated to investigate reasons for and consequences of women having their first child in more advanced ages. The role of age norms for this process, however, is much less investigated. In previous studies we analysed social meanings of age and age-norms for transition to motherhood in Slovak and Polish setting. We found that the women in both countries define similar age-deadlines for having their first child and provide similar arguments to justify them. In this paper, we attempt to illustrate actual relevance of age-related considerations for fertility intentions and reproductive behaviours. We employ a qualitative methodology in order to explore women’s perception of age in relation to their fertility choices. Based on in-depth interviews, conducted in Bratislava and Warsaw in 2004-2005, we investigate how age is considered for intention to have a first child and how it was relevant for actual decisions to enter motherhood. We find that age is an independent factor in decision-making process. It also influences women’s perception of other conditions, important for childbearing.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 48: Comparative research on fertility in CEE