Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness

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9780415924931: 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.

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From the Author:

I first began to think about writing this book as I approached the age of forty, a watershed birthday in regard to childbearing. I did not undertake it then for a number of reasons, but as the decade passed, it was evident that childlessness was not only a silent issue in my life but also in the lives of many of my friends. It was a situation where the lack of an experience was a significant event in itself.

My wish to explore this subject lay dormant for a decade, gathering force, until one day, as I was making the long drive to my mother's house, the ideas for the book came pouring forth. I steered with one hand and scribbled down my thoughts with the other--almost all of them appearing here as I envisioned them that day.

From the Introduction

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d brings scope and depth to a subject that has long been misunderstood. Weaving rich materials from history, literature, religion, and sociology with Laurie Lisle's own and other personal stories, this groundbreaking book does what no other has done before--presents childlessness in a multifaceted and positive light.
Most women grow up thinking they will become mothers. And many do follow that path. But for those women who are willingly or unwillingly without children, childlessness is a way of life that many of them must constantly defend. Without Child explores the facts and fallacies behind childlessness, what it means for women and society, and reminds us of how women can and do embrace this choice.
Lisle contends that childless women are part of an ancient and respectable cultural tradition that includes Biblical matriarchs, celibate saints, and nineteenth century social reformers. However, like other aspects of women's history, this tradition has been forgotten and, in the process, m

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