Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness
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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FINDING THE WORDS DISCOVERING MY WAY
EXAMINING THE CHOICE WHY IT ARISES
SEARCHING HISTORY REMEMBERING
UNDERSTANDING OUR MOTHERS ENLARGING
DREAMING ABOUT A CHILD LOVING CHILDLIKENESS
LIVING WITH MEN IMPROVISING THE WAY
RECOGNIZING OUR WOMANHOOD
POSSESSING OURSELVES DOING OUR WORK
LOOKING AHEAD CELEBRATING OUR LIVES
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abortion Adrienne Rich baby became biological birth control born called Catharine Sedgwick century Charlotte Perkins Gilman chil child rearing childbearing childbirth childfree childhood Childless Wife childless women choice contraception creativity daughter decades desire dren early emotional existence experience expressed fact father fear feel felt female feminine feminism feminist Floyd Dell Gael Greene gender Georgia O'Keeffe girls give birth hood husband Ida Husted Harper imagined infant infertile instinct intellectual Journal later less lives male Margaret Margaret Mead marital marriage married maternal menopause motherhood mothers and nonmothers nature never nonmotherhood nonparents novelist nulliparas nurture observed offspring Oriana Fallaci parenthood parents pregnancy progeny pronatalist raising realized reasons relationships role Sara Ruddick seemed selfish sense sexual sister sociologists Tillie Olsen tion traditional wanted wives woman womanly women without children wonder worried writing wrote York young women