December 07, 2005

Book Review: Reconceiving Women: Separating Motherhood from Female Identity

Most childfree women I know cringe when I refer to us as having an alternative lifestyle. Gays and Lesbians and Transgenders seem to have the lock on this term. But the truth is that ours is an atypical adult female identity.

In Reconcieving Women; Separating Motherhood from Female Identity, Mardy S. Ireland dealves into the possibility that one can have a "healthy personality that (does) not include the role of parent." To get a feeling for how outside the mainstream our lifestyle really is, Ireland points out that all psychological theories suggest that in one way or another...

"a woman's reproductive capacity shapes her life."

A researcher and a psychoanalyst out of UC Berkeley, her book is based on a study she conducted. At the time her book was published, I had moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area. This was in the early 80s. Perhaps it was then that I set out to the library to look for a good book on the subject of childfree lifestyles and found none. Zero. This has improved much and I think there is room for more.

Ireland neatly presents the case for dividing the childfree adult women into three categories: traditional, transitional and transformational. Respectively, those who wanted children but couldn't or didn't for whatever reason, those who waited too long and experienced a healthy dose of ambivalence, and those who always knew being a mom was not for them. I think they are Purple WomenTM all!

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