"I could be a father, but I could never be a mother" : values and meanings of women's voluntary childlessness in Southern Alberta

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Ayers, Gillian
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Sociology, 2012
This thesis examines the experiences, beliefs, motivations, and perceived costs and benefits of women who are childless by choice in Southern Alberta. I investigate the naturalized and normalized understandings of femininity, motherhood, and citizenship more broadly, and what this means for voluntarily childless women. Using data collected from 21 semi-structured qualitative interviews, I draw on a Foucauldian feminist framework to explore the narratives of voluntarily childless women, and, through subsequent examination, to explore issues of choice, responsibility, pronatalism, identity, and stigma. I first consider how the women negotiate their childbearing decisions in light of competing pronatalist, capitalist, and cultural demands. I then focus on techniques of identity construction by highlighting the negotiations of voluntarily childless women in relation to the physical, emotional, and social costs and benefits of their reproductive decisions. Finally, I explore the varying sources of pressure and support that impact women’s experience in daily life.
viii, 215 leaves ; 29 cm
Childfree choice , Childlessness -- Alberta