New Choices, New Families: How Lesbians Decide about Motherhood

Overview

How do lesbians decide to become mothers or remain childfree? Why do new families form at particular historical moments? These questions are at the heart of Nancy J. Mezey’s New Choices, New Families.

Researchers, politicians, and society at large continue to debate the changing American family, especially nontraditional families that emerge from divorce, remarriage, grandparents-as-parents, and adoption. This ongoing discussion also engages ...

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New Choices, New Families: How Lesbians Decide about Motherhood

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Overview

How do lesbians decide to become mothers or remain childfree? Why do new families form at particular historical moments? These questions are at the heart of Nancy J. Mezey’s New Choices, New Families.

Researchers, politicians, and society at large continue to debate the changing American family, especially nontraditional families that emerge from divorce, remarriage, grandparents-as-parents, and adoption. This ongoing discussion also engages the controversy surrounding the parental rights of same-sex couples and their families.

New Choices, New Families enters into this conversation. Mezey asks why lesbians are forming families at this particular historical moment and wonders how race, class, sexual identity, and family history factor into the decision-making process. Drawing heavily from personal interviews, Mezey’s groundbreaking analysis gives voice to groups long underrepresented in similar studies—black, Latina, working class, and childfree lesbians. Some chapters examine how childhood experiences contribute to the desire to become a mother, while others consider the influence of women’s partners and careers.

New Choices, New Families provides thoughtful insights into questions about sexual identity, social and cultural expectations, and what and who constitute a family.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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What People Are Saying

Kathleen Gerson

Through her masterful analysis of how and why lesbian women choose to become mothers or remain childfree, Nancy Mezey makes an essential contribution to understanding the profound and irreversible forces now transforming family life. Must reading for anyone who wishes to understand the changing contours of motherhood for all women.

Kathleen Gerson, author of Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood

Maxine Baca Zinn

A multiracial feminist analysis of how lesbians make choices about motherhood. This book should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in twenty-first century families.

Kathleen Gerson

Through her masterful analysis of how and why lesbian women choose to become mothers or remain childfree, Nancy Mezey makes an essential contribution to understanding the profound and irreversible forces now transforming family life. Must reading for anyone who wishes to understand the changing contours of motherhood for all women.

Maxine Baca Zinn

A multiracial feminist analysis of how lesbians make choices about motherhood. This book should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in twenty-first century families.

Maxine Baca Zinn, Michigan State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801890000
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/27/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy J. Mezey is an assistant professor of sociology at Monmouth University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 At the Crossroads 1

2 The Historical Rise of Lesbian Families 15

3 Recruiting Lesbian Participants and Collecting Data 32

4 Developing Mothering Desires 46

5 Understanding Motherhood 66

6 Negotiating Lesbian Support Networks 87

7 Weighing Intimate Partner Relationships 104

8 Considering the Benefits and Barriers of Work 123

9 New Choices, New Families 143

Appendixes

A Recruitment Questionnaire 161

B Interview Guide for Lesbian Mothers 163

C Interview Guide for Childfree Lesbians 167

References 171

Index 183

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