Will You Be Mother?: Women Who Choose to Say No

Will You Be Mother?: Women Who Choose to Say No

by Jane Bartlett
     
 

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Women are taught from the earliest moments of life that motherhood, along with marriage to a man, is a natural state to which they should aspire. From dollplay as a child to nagging questions of when am I going to become a grandparent as one gets older, the societal pressure to procreate is constant and intense. What then, of women who choose not to have children

Overview

Women are taught from the earliest moments of life that motherhood, along with marriage to a man, is a natural state to which they should aspire. From dollplay as a child to nagging questions of when am I going to become a grandparent as one gets older, the societal pressure to procreate is constant and intense. What then, of women who choose not to have children or are unable to have children? How do they respond to a society and to families that view them as selfish, incomplete, and less then women?

In Will You Be Mother? Jane Bartlett interviews fifty women who, for various reasons, have not had children. We hear from women who have chosen to be sterilized in their twenties, others who can never say never but postpone childbearing because of acute ambivalence, women in their sixties who have chosen to never have children and are happy with that choice, and infertile women who have had no choice. They speak of how their own childhoods shaped their decision and, while expressing their frustration at the pressures placed upon them, also exhibit an unequivocal sense of freedom. Will You Be Mother? is a diverse exploration of the personal and public implications of the pressure society puts on women to have children, and a challenging critique of the prevalent belief that motherhood is a natural state for women.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Setting out to dispel the myths that women without children are either infertile or "hard-driven career women," freelance journalist Bartlett draws on interviews with 50 British women who have chosen, for a variety of reasons, to remain childfree. She uses the women's own words to describe their reasons for choosing to be different in a world where childbearing is seen as a part of the "normal" lifecycle. These 50 different experiences effectively demonstrate that the old stereotypes are invalid. Bartlett attempts to use the book to break down barriers between women with children and those who are childfree. Unfortunately, she falls short of this goal. Some of the responses of interviewees show that they are as hostile and close-minded as the people they condemn for not understanding them. Still, the book has merit in offering an alternative voice. For larger women's collections.KellyJo Houtz Griffin, Northwest Hosp., Seattle, Wash.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814712450
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
03/28/1995
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 8.50(d)

Meet the Author

Jane Bartlett, a freelance journalist, lives in London.

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