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Keywords:

  • child with disabilities;
  • event history analysis;
  • fertility;
  • parental investment;
  • parenthood;
  • qualitative research

This mixed-methods study explores the subsequent childbearing of mothers whose firstborn children have disabilities. I make use of matched data from the 1993 NHIS - 1995 NSFG (N = 4,468) to determine the effects of child disability on the hazard of a second birth and draw on a series of 24 in-depth interviews that explore the lived experience of raising children with disabilities. My findings suggest that mothers whose firstborn children are disabled have a lower hazard of a second birth. This reduction stems from mothers’ recognition that children with disabilities have extensive needs and that, in order to meet those needs and maximize their potential, they need to make strategic choices such as delaying subsequent childbearing.