Beyond Motherhood

Overview

After years of profound and often painful soul-searching, psychoanalyst Jeanne Safer made the conscious decision not to have children. She came to terms with a course of action that allowed her to pursue her life in a way that was right for her. Now, in this wise, compassionate, and deeply personal book, she provides expert guidance for every woman who has ever grappled with the issue of motherhood. In beyond motherhood, Safer and women of all ages from all over the country eloquently share their experiences and ...
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Overview

After years of profound and often painful soul-searching, psychoanalyst Jeanne Safer made the conscious decision not to have children. She came to terms with a course of action that allowed her to pursue her life in a way that was right for her. Now, in this wise, compassionate, and deeply personal book, she provides expert guidance for every woman who has ever grappled with the issue of motherhood. In beyond motherhood, Safer and women of all ages from all over the country eloquently share their experiences and offer unique insights into what it really feels like to live this still unconventional life. They describe what factors in their histories, personalities, and circumstances shaped their decision; and how they forged their identities as women without being mothers. They talk with remkable candor about their marriages, their thoughts about aging without offspring, their legacies, and the meaning of their lives. Most compelling of all, they demonstrate how their vitality and passion for life belie any stereotype of childless women as emotionally barren or incomplete. This inspiring book goes beyond the immediate issue of whether to have a child, and offers the essential key to conscious, creative living for every woman, whether she chooses the path to motherhood or not.

After years of soul-searching, Jeanne Safer made the conscious decision not to have children. In this book, Safer and women across the country share insights that dispel the myth of childless women as emotionally barren or imcomplete, and encourage all women to honestly confront their needs--whether they choose motherhood or not.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``This book is about making a conscious decision not to have a baby,'' writes Safer, a practicing psychoanalyst who made this choice herself in her early 40s. Here Safer offers her story and those of other women and couples who have made the same choice for reasons of temperament or career rather than childhood trauma or sexual orientation. Her point is that women can lead healthy, productive, satisfying lives whether or not they choose the more socially acceptable role of motherhood, which ``is no longer a necessary or sufficient condition for maturity or fulfillment.'' The lives of the women Safer interviews-including women in the arts, lawyers, nurses, even a housewife-certainly bear this out. Sandra Singer, now a committed photographer of children, chose not to live the life of her mother, who ``had many unrealized dreams''; while Barbara Cowan and her husband broke from the baby boom norm in 1952 and ``opted for travel.'' Safer raises intelligent, stirring questions about how these women's childhoods, temperaments and career choices influenced their decision, and about the way our society treats these nonconformists. Sometimes, though, the voices here, rather than reflecting a wide range of viewpoints, seem to echo the author's defense of her decision and to serve to drive her point home. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671793449
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 2/1/1996
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,229,468
  • Product dimensions: 0.48 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 My Story 5
Pt. 2 Choosing a Childless Life: Other Women's Voices 43
Ch. 1 Timetables: When Women Decide Against Motherhood 45
Ch. 2 Moments of Truth 61
Ch. 3 The Wrong Stuff: Personality Factors 75
Ch. 4 My History Created My Solution: Childless Women's Childhoods 93
Pt. 3 Living a Childless Life 117
Ch. 5 Two's Not the Loneliest Number: Portraits of Childless Marriage 119
Ch. 6 No Gene for Motherhood: Forging an Alternative Feminine Identity 143
Ch. 7 What We Leave Behind: Aging and Nonbiological Legacies 165
Epilogue: If You're Considering Childlessness 183
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