Motherhood and Infertility in Ireland
Presence of Absence
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Cork University Press
Download PDF (5.8 MB)
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Download PDF (62.0 KB)
Download PDF (27.7 KB)
Download PDF (44.4 KB)
It is a daunting task to try to adequately acknowledge all the people who provided support and inspiration for the work that has resulted in this book. I apologise if I have failed to mention people who were instrumental in the project or its vision in some way. ...
Download PDF (43.3 KB)
Introduction: Conceiving the Presence of Absence
Download PDF (88.2 KB)
The presence of absence explains the paradox, the sensation and the lifeexperiences of infertility in Ireland. There are few experiences in lifemore culturally contingent than conceiving and giving birth. Deeplyembedded in the meanings of family, gender, community and nation,the politics associated with conception, birth and motherhood are rich...
1. Famine’s Traces: Hunger for Motherhood, Family, Fertility
Download PDF (77.8 KB)
In her evocative poem called ‘The Famine Road’, Eavan Boland drawspoignant connections between history and the presence of absence,comparing the Famine Road with infertility. Here the woman’s senseof self worth and her concept of her own body as valueless space or aproject with no purpose are deeply marked with the history of loss,...
2. Motherhood Contested: Re-thinking the Woman/Mother Paradigm in Ireland
Download PDF (110.3 KB)
Whether or not a woman is lesbian, infertile, post-menopausal or child-less, in modern western cultures she will be assigned a subject positionIn the post-Celtic Tiger moment of the early twenty-first century,Ireland seemed caught between a lament for tradition and the embraceof social change. In fact, what everyone wanted to talk about was...
3. Conceiving Nonconformity: Challenging Hetero-normative Meanings of (in)Fertility
Download PDF (83.4 KB)
Many of the stories above have explored how women see their own jour-neys towards motherhood as part of a resistance to the institutionaloperations of power that have shaped the meaning of motherhood in anumber of ways. Through these stories women speak about the agencywith which they harness the meanings of reproduction, viewing their...
4. Conceiving of Grieving
Download PDF (98.6 KB)
Of tingling breasts, the turgid abdomen . . . blood seeps again.Mary O’Donnell’s words above convey not only a sense of emptiness butthe cyclical nature of grief that comes with the body’s betrayal each timethere is a failure to conceive. The last two chapters located the meaningsof conception and motherhood within particular normative contexts in...
5. Eggs, Sperm and Conceptions of a Moral Nature
Download PDF (119.7 KB)
MAIREAD: I suppose the religious thing wouldn’t have been as strong as . . .I mean my parents were very religious. They were Catholic to the core. Butyou know I wouldn’t be as bothered by IVF. More in our family, if it gets thejob done, get the job done. They wouldn’t have cared as much as James’family would. And again, other friends have been through it and I know...
6. Conceptions of Contention: Donor Challenge to the Dimensions of Relatedness
Download PDF (115.4 KB)
GAIL: And how I got over . . . well my own faith issues surrounding usingrealised that Jesus was the ultimate ‘donor baby’. And you know I thoughtif Mary and Joseph could raise a baby that not only wasn’t his but wasalso the Messiah . . . Well you know I wasn’t going to have to deal withthe Messiah bit! So that really was the last hurdle for me to overcome....
7. Embryos and the Ethics of Ambivalence
Download PDF (128.5 KB)
Up to 8,000 couples attend Irish fertility clinics every year, which resultsin 1,000 babies being born by assisted human reproduction techniques.But thousands of couples are being denied the chance of a baby becausethere is no legislation to regulate IVF treatments. The Oireachtas HealthCommittee heard yesterday that fertile parents who want to donate...
8. Conclusion: Confirmation and Contestation in a Changing Ireland
Download PDF (73.0 KB)
...‘Oh but Ireland has changed . . .’ I heard this refrain about change fromvirtually everyone I spoke with in the course of eighteen months of field-work. People were referring generally to the way the rapid economicdevelopment known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’ had facilitated new employ-ment opportunities and an improved lifestyle for many Irish families....
Download PDF (58.0 KB)
In a story about change and continuity in Ireland’s approach to mother-hood, choice and procreation, there have been many events that bothserve as and hearken to touchstones marking time and history. Two suchevents took place as this book was going to press. The purported socialand political magnitude of one event rippled beyond Ireland, garnering...
Download PDF (92.1 KB)
Notes and References
Download PDF (146.6 KB)
Download PDF (51.1 KB)
Download PDF (5.8 MB)
Cover image is courtesy of Ilona Madden. The image is taken from acollection of artworks in a handmade book titled “The Presence of INFERTILITY stories show us how the once seamless connectionbetween marriage, motherhood, sex and procreation is contested.Through the stories of women and men facing infertility, the bookbrings to life the forces that shape the idea of motherhood in Irelandcircumstance, but as agents and beneficiaries of changing social values...
Publication Year: 2013