Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness

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Psychology Press, 1996 - Social Science - 273 pages
2 Reviews
In a society in which most women grow up thinking they will become mothers-and in which many women go to great lengths to make that desire a reality -- not having a child is often met with incredulity and scorn. But as the author of this thoughtful and meticulously researched examination of childlessness points out, childless women are part of an ancient and respectable cultural tradition that includes biblical matriarchs, celibate saints, and nineteenth-century social reformers. Revealing the story of her own decision not to have children, Laurie Lisle draws from history, literature, religion and sociology to challenge the stigma attached to the condition of childlessness-and to offer encouragement and support to those women who have made the difficult decision themselves. Beginning with the difficult inner journey a woman faces before finally deciding or realizing she will not bear children,Without Childexplores the myth of the childless woman's rejection of the maternal instinct. It alsoexplores the childless woman's relationship to mothers and mothering, to her femininity, to men, to achievement, to her body, and to old age. Wide-ranging yet intimate, philosophical, yet clear-sighted, this important book does what no other has done before-presents childlessness in a multifaceted and positive light.
  

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Review: Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

While this book is obviously well-researched (it reads like a PhD dissertation), it just didn't deliver for me personally. Lisle focused way too much on the fact that non-mothers are creative without ... Read full review

Review: Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness

User Review  - Stephanie - Goodreads

This book got off to a boring start(mostly information about the author and how she came to the realization that she wasn't going to have children). But after that, especially with her historical ... Read full review

Contents

FINDING THE WORDS DISCOVERING MY WAY
3
EXAMINING THE CHOICE WHY IT ARISES
33
SEARCHING HISTORY REMEMBERING
59
UNDERSTANDING OUR MOTHERS ENLARGING
86
DREAMING ABOUT A CHILD LOVING CHILDLIKENESS
115
LIVING WITH MEN IMPROVISING THE WAY
140
RECOGNIZING OUR WOMANHOOD
167
POSSESSING OURSELVES DOING OUR WORK
195
LOOKING AHEAD CELEBRATING OUR LIVES
223
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About the author (1996)

Laurie Lisle is the author of Portrait of an Artist(1980), the bestselling biography of Georgia O'Keeffe, and Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life (1990). She lives in Connecticut and Westchester County, New York.

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