Gee, when you make it easier for women to have kids without giving up all their independence, financial security, and career trajectory, they have more children. Here’s the money quote:
Curiously, Europe’s lowest birthrates are seen in countries, mostly Catholic, where the old idea that the man is the breadwinner and the woman is the child-raiser holds strong. Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece have among the lowest fertility rates in Western Europe. Meanwhile, countries that support high numbers of working women, like Finland, Norway and Denmark, have among the highest birthrates. How did what’s been called “the fertility paradox” come about?
Joan Didion on adapting The Year of Magical Thinking for the stage:
I did not want to write a play. I had never wanted to write a play. I did not know how to write a play.
I repeated this.
I repeated it to Scott, and I repeated it to myself.
Yet at some point in the days that followed I was seized by the idea that the fact that I had never written and did not know how to write a play could be the point, the imperative, the very reason to write one. My husband had died, our only child had died, I was no longer exactly the person I had been.
It was necessary to try something new.
Something the person I had been would not have tried.
Something so high-risk that it would entirely absorb my attention, the more constructive version of the narrow track.