Living And Fashion
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Why American Women Everywhere Are Delaying Motherhood

PHOENIX — Luz Portillo, the oldest daughter of Mexican immigrants, has many plans. She is studying to be a skin care expert. She has also applied to nursing school. She works full time, too — as a nurse’s aide and doing eyelash extensions, a business she would like to grow.

But one thing she has no plans for anytime soon is a baby.

Ms. Portillo’s mother had her when she was 16. Her father has worked as a landscaper for as long as she can remember. She wants a career and more control over her life.

“I can’t get pregnant, I can’t get pregnant,” she said she tells herself. “I have to have a career and a job. If I don’t, it’s like everything my parents did goes in vain.”

For decades, delaying parenthood was the domain of upper-middle-class Americans, especially in big, coastal cities. Highly educated women put off having a baby until their careers were on track, often until their early 30s. But over the past decade, as more women of all social classes have prioritized education and career, delaying childbearing has become a broad pattern among American women almost everywhere.

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