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Single by Chance, Mothers by ChoiceHow Women are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family$
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Rosanna Hertz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179903.001.0001

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Romance, Intimacy, And Pregnancy

Romance, Intimacy, And Pregnancy

Father Involvement Outside of Marriage

(p.86) 5 Romance, Intimacy, And Pregnancy
Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice

Rosanna Hertz

Oxford University Press

When women chance pregnancy and decide to both bear and raise their children, this chapter suggests that they do so knowing that their children have been created according to the deeply ingrained belief that two heterosexual parents create children out of intimacy and through intercourse. These children are aware that a physical father exists for them, despite how uninvolved he may be in the family's life. Not unlike those women who have other kinds of alternative families, other men become substitute social dads for the biological fathers, resembling the increasingly common American stepfamily. Nonetheless, these stepfamilies retain both the original father and a new man who “steps in” to participate in the child's life, even if he is a lesser parent.

Keywords:   pregnancy, single women, intimacy, physical father, substitute dads, biological father, American stepfamily

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