Childless or Childfree? Women’s Narratives of Ambivalence and Identity
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The childlessness discourse is overpowered by biomedical interventions of infertility, while ambivalence is overlooked. This study aims to vocalize this overlooked perspective by focusing on the identity narratives of seven women without children as the result of experience ambivalence. The identity narratives of these women were explored through seven semi-structured, in-depth interviews and one group interview. This research highlights that ambivalence stems from multiple sources and can be experienced in different ways. The examination of the intersection of motherhood and womanhood has shown me that while motherhood is but one way of expressing womanhood, women without children are still categorized and stigmatized. Additionally, women who do not have children can acquire some identity as motherly through roles such as stepmothers or mentors. Ultimately, research such as this helps to create more awareness about the different experiences of childlessness, namely experiences that do not center on infertility but rather on ambivalence.