Our fantastically fascinating (he said modestly) report, The Fog Zone: How Magical Thinking, and Ambivalence Put Young Adults at Risk for Unplanned Pregnancy, pondered the following primary question: Why might it be that this nation's rates of unplanned pregnancy are so freakin' high, particularly among single, 20-something adults? Of course, the answers are varied and many. The cost of contraception, and access to it, plays a role. So does information--or lack thereof--about contraception. Both of these explanations are well-tilled territory.
The particular value of the report, in my view, is that it highlights some not-so-well-known reasons why half of all pregnancies, and 7 in 10 pregnancies among single women in their 20s, are unplanned. As you might have guessed from the subtitle of the Fog Zone report, ambivalence is one of those reasons. Shockingly large proportions of single women and men say they really don't want to get pregnant or cause a pregnancy. Full stop. They also say that they would be happy if they got pregnant or caused a pregnancy.
A new report sees that ambivalence and raises it with indifference. According to a story about the report, "about one in four women of childbearing age in the United States are unconcerned about getting pregnant--but aren't trying either--and would be happy either way." That is, 71% of women 25-45--both married and single--who are sexually active said they are not trying to get pregnant, 6% said they were, and 23% said they were "ok either way."
Having and raising children is, arguably, the most important thing any of us ever do. Is ambivalence or indifference really the right way to start a family or add to it?