Grounds for Low Child Seeking and Delay in Child Bearing (Case Study: Mashhad Women)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty Member, University Jihad of Khorasan Razavi

2 MA Student, Social Research, Ferdowsi University, Mashhad


The fall of the fertility rate to below replacement level has created some concerns about its long-term consequences in the country. One of the reasons for this decline is the change in the child bearing behavior of the couples during the past two decades. The present paper was conducted through qualitative research by employing semi-structured in-depth interviews. The interpretations, beliefs and perceptions of women of Mashhad City about their decisions and performances with regard to giving birth to children, particularly their inclination towards limited number of children and delay in giving birth to children, were studied. The findings indicate that giving birth to children is discussed between the couples after the beginning of their marital life. The relatives normally try to interfere in the marital life of the couples, but such attempts are often not much effective. The child-centered concerns (raising of children) and also parents-centered concerns (economic, welfare and limiting concerns) cause lower number of children and delay in child bearing. Also some subjective and objective grounds such as considering low number of children as a value and institutional measures encouraging low number of children persuaded couples to reproduce few children. The respondents were doubtful about official incentives and defended personal plans for giving birth to children. Among the advantages of child bearing, mention was made of giving meaning to life as well as psychological and instrumental (removal of loneliness) advantages, particularly in old age. The most significant disadvantage of giving birth to children among women studied in this research was limitation of their interactions and limitations in the way of their personal development.