Unmarried college-educated mothers tend to be older: close to 40 percent of them give birth for the first time after age 30, compared with only about 8 percent overall. Many of these women followed a similar and familiar pattern in having their first child: they planned to marry, found they hadn’t by their 30s, looked some more and then decided to have a child without a husband.
What’s less familiar is what these women do next. Increasingly, instead of giving their children a father, they give them a sibling. Schmidt’s data show that second births to unmarried college-educated women have risen even more rapidly than first births — nearly sevenfold since 1980. For Fran and her friends, a second child, not a husband, becomes the path to normalcy. “This is exactly the difference between my generation of single mothers and the current one,” says Jane Mattes, who founded the national organization Single Mothers by Choice after her son, Eric, was born in 1980. Mattes has written of her own regret about not having had a second child. “It seemed to me such an amazing, daring thing to try to pull off, I never seriously considered it,” she says. “Now these women are saying, Why not? Why shouldn’t I have the family I always wanted?”
When I adopted Zoe, I expected that I would have only one child. Just about everyone I knew at the time -- married or single -- had only one child from China. But our family didn't feel complete. Then most of my friends started adopting their second children, and I thought, "Is it possible for me?" Being an older mom, it seemed that the best way to guarantee a family connection after I was gone was to have siblings who would have each other longer than they would have me. Still, it was an overwhelming thought at times, especially when Zoe was younger. How in the world would I manage two?! But as they say, "Fortune favors the foolish!" I'm so glad we added Maya to our family: 2 Kids + 1 Mom = Perfect For Us!