This paper investigates the strength of conviction with which women aged 27-32 years discussed their childbearing aspirations, bringing together both quantitative and qualitative responses to this question. Analyses found that although the participants tick box ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers pointed overwhelmingly to aspirations for children, their interview narratives revealed a sliding scale of certainty. Many women expressed both desires for and doubts about having children, with their conviction usually shaped by a balance between maternal feeling, competing priorities, planned timing and perceptions of choice. The findings support the argument that women’s reproductive decisions are predominantly the result of the circumstances in which they are made, as opposed to representing personal choice.
Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association, 2009 (TASA 2009). The Future of Sociology: the Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2009 (Canberra, A.C.T. 1-4 December, 2009)