Thoughts of a Young Mother in an Age When Americans Are Forgoing Children

I know it’s a bit late for Mother’s Day, but I wanted to share this reflection on motherhood, and America’s declining birthrates, by Raina Raskin. Not so long ago, Raskin had something of a revelation when her infant daughter smiled at her for the first time:

That smile blew all those traditional status markers out of the water—better than a million Instagram likes, an Ivy League acceptance letter, a competitive job offer—even though making my baby smile was one of the easiest things I’d ever done. I booped her nose with my finger and made a silly sound. Really, anyone could have done it. But that didn’t diminish my daughter’s amazement, because she doesn’t care if I’m exceptional. She just cares that I’m hers.

This might sound terrible to the average young American woman. We’re a demographic fueled by ambition: about 75 percent of young women say they want to advance to senior leadership in their organization, according to a 2023 study of over 200 companies. And 46 percent of American women think having a happy career is essential to having a fulfilling life, a recent survey found, compared to just 22 percent who say the same thing about having children.

My daughter was born as birthrates in this country hit a record low. And I sometimes worry that some of my peers who are delaying, or forgoing, motherhood do so because they can’t reject the demands of the market, of our meritocracy. I couldn’t either, until my baby smiled at me.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Children, Motherhood


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict