Perhaps you’ve seen the promos for a new TV show on WE TV, Pregnant and Dating. Yeah, you read that right. It’s presented by the WE network. WE stands for Women’s Entertainment, and they’re the folks who brought Bridezillas to the world.
The pre-show publicity campaign included a partnership with Associated Press to conduct a poll of more than 1,200 adults age 18-49 to assess, among other things, how many unmarried women are considering pregnancy or adoption. It seems WE assumes a single pregnant woman would still date, proving their new show isn’t as sleazy as it sounds. And they may have found the numbers they wanted.
Conducted in late May 2013, the poll scored headlines for finding that at least 2 of every 5 unmarried women without children — or 42% — would consider having a child on their own without a partner. More than a third of the female respondents, or 37%, said they would consider adopting solo.
It’s interesting, but not that surprising, to note that while 42% of the unmarried women would consider single parenthood, just 24% of unmarried men said they’d take that big step.
I wish this was one of those long-term studies that revisits respondents years later to learn what the women actually did, as opposed to what they think they might do. Perhaps a majority of by-chance NotMoms did think about having a child on their own, but they never went through with it.
The women without children in this survey know their options, with 31% responding that they would consider freezing their eggs; 27% would be willing to use artificial insemination and donor sperm. What’s left out of the disccussion is Time. Time changes everything, and sometimes a poll can boil it all down too far.
For example, there are surely women – older women, that is – who had an abortion, or gave a baby up for adoption, only because the social mores of their time demanded it. Every one of those women has her own reasons and beliefs that guided her decision. Stats and survey results rarely tell the whole story.
More than half (53%) of NotMoms under age 50 in the Associated Press/WE poll said they eventually want children. Only 16% said they never want kids. For childfree-by-choice women, no matter the hassles and intrusions experienced in 2013, talk to a woman who was in her 30s in the 1970s. If she was brave enough to announce her choice to her friends, she was a freak, and a pioneer. Sixteen percent isn’t much, but it’s enough for a community.
All that being said, Pregnant and Dating still seems like a tacky idea for a TV show.