Here is an article on single mothermood. It is the first in a series by law professor Helen Alvaré.
First, she writes about the number of out-of-wedlock births, and the effects of single motherhood on children:
The recent news of the nearly 40% out of wedlock birth rate in the United States should pretty much rock our world as citizens and as Catholics. According to the Centers for Disease Control report, this means 1.7 million children were born to unmarried mothers in 2007, a figure 250% greater than the number reported in 1980. The implications for our society loom large. According to empirical data published over the last several decades in leading sociological journals, these children, on average, will suffer significant educational and emotional disadvantages compared to children reared by their married parents. They will be less able to shoulder the burdens that “next generations” traditionally assume for the benefit of their families, communities and their country. They are likely to repeat their parents’ behaviors. The boys are more likely to engage in criminal behavior and the girls to have nonmarital children.
And then she explains what causes women to do engage in this behavior:
First, the researchers concluded that the majority of children born to lone mothers could not correctly be deemed “unplanned.” Rather, many were planned or actively sought. And the majority were somewhere in the middle between planned and unplanned. In other words, many of these very young couples (it was not uncommon for the mothers to be 14 or 15 years old) explicitly or implicitly wanted a baby in their lives. Their reasons by and large would be familiar to anyone who has ever hoped for a child. They wanted someone who was an extension of their beloved, a piece of him or her. They wanted to love another person deeply.
[…]What is different about very poor mothers’ desires for children seems to be related to their relationally, financially and educationally impoverished circumstances. Relationally, the authors described these young mothers as existing in an environment without close, trusted ties. In particular, the men in their lives were considered to be highly untrustworthy and worse. Infidelity seemed almost a universal problem among the fathers. Drug and alcohol problems, criminal behavior, and domestic violence were extremely common. Motherhood provided a chance for these women to “establish the primordial bonds of love and connection.”
So, these women are looking to children as a way to establish lasting relationships. They want to have children, and they don’t believe that they are hurting the child by having the child without a father.
I think this is interesting because what it means is that young women are viewing children as means to their own happiness, regardless of the effects that single-motherhood, with all that it implies, has on the child. It strikes me as incredibly selfish. Just like when children demand pets and promise they will take care of them, but then the adults end up taking care of the pets because the children aren’t mature enough.
Maybe those antiquated moralistic prohibitions on pre-marital sex were there for a reason? Maybe morality should not have been shoved aside by the secular left so hastily?