Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

Although there is only one name on the cover of this book, it was entirely a team effort, impossible without the support of numerous players. Thanks to each of you from the bottom of my heart.
Rutgers University Press, particularly Peter Mickulas, has been amazing. You made a difficult process easy and enjoyable. I owe a very special thank you to the editors of the Family in Focus...

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Introduction: Conceiving Infertility

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pp. 1-12

When I met Angie, a black, homeless, twenty-five-year-old, she was desperately yearning for a child. She told me she wanted a child so that she could “receive love,” something that was missing from her own upbringing. Angie had tried to become pregnant through unprotected intercourse for nearly eight years before realizing that something might be “wrong.” Her...

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1. “That’s What I’m Supposed to Be”: Why Women Want to Mother

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pp. 13-22

Why do women want to mother? It seems like a simple question, yet few researchers have looked for the answer. In studying infertility, asking such a question seemed like an intuitive place for me to start because implicit in the very definition of infertility is intentionality of pregnancy: a woman must want or “try” to become pregnant in order to recognize her inability...

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2. “I’m Good at the Job”: How Women Achieve "Good" Motherhood

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pp. 23-39

We see it on a daily basis—the news media criticizing certain types of mothering: mothers who leave their children locked in hot cars, “latch-key” children left alone while their single mothers are at work, teenage parents too immature to raise children, and emotionally damaged children of divorced parents. While these are extreme cases, they still convey the...

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3. “Getting Pregnant’s a Piece of Cake”: Trying to Mother

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pp. 40-52

Throughout the course of my interviews, as I asked the women to describe their process of trying to become pregnant, I realized that the way researchers currently frame pregnancy intentions (along race and class lines) is deeply flawed. In defining intent in terms of “conscious action,” such as planning, deciding, or trying to conceive, national surveys and researchers...

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4. “Socioeconomically It Would Be Much More Difficult”: The Lived Experience of Infertility

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pp. 53-82

Infertility is not solely a medical condition that takes place in the confines of doctors’ offices, as past literature and stereotypes have implied. It occurs within the context of women’s everyday lives. Indeed, infertility “is not something in which there are ‘social factors’; it is itself a profoundly social phenomenon” (Schneider and Conrad 1983, 227). It is therefore important...

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5. “Whatever Gets Me to the End Point”: Resolving Infertility

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pp. 83-111

“Most doctors try to talk you out of getting pregnant,” Michelle replied when I asked whether she had considered medical treatment for her infertility. For Michelle, a black woman of low SES, the negative comments she had come to expect from doctors made seeking infertility treatments simply unthinkable. In contrast, women of high SES, such as Nadia, could...

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6. “So What Can You Do?”: Coping with Infertility

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pp. 112-132

The infertility journey does not end with the choice (or lack thereof ) of a resolution. The resolution itself greatly shapes how a woman experiences infertility. In particular, the participants’ socioeconomic circumstances as well as whether or not they used medicine to resolve their infertility influenced how they coped with infertility and envisioned the...

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Conclusion: (Re)concieving Infertility

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pp. 133-140

“I don’t think infertility is a problem. Usually it’s the other way around—[women of low SES are having too many children],” a woman from a social service agency told me as I inquired about recruiting participants from her facility. Although I was aware that stereotypes of infertility existed, I quickly learned just how ingrained such ideas are—even agencies serving...

Appendix: Methodology

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pp. 141-148

Notes

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pp. 149-150

References

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pp. 151-160

Index

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pp. 161-166

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About the Author

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pp. 167-168

Ann V. Bell is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Delaware. Her research, centering on the intersection of gender and health, specifically examines processes, inequalities, and constructions of reproductive health.