Misconception, Misconception, 0813564794, 0-8135-6479-4, 978-0-8135-6479-1, 9780813564791, , Families in Focus, Misconception, 0813564808, 0-8135-6480-8, 978-0-8135-6480-7, 9780813564807, , Families in Focus, Misconception, 0813564816, 0-8135-6481-6, 978-0-8135-6481-4, 9780813564814, , Families in Focus, Misconception, 0813574544, 0-8135-7454-4, 978-0-8135-7454-7, 9780813574547, , Families in Focu
Social Class and Infertility in America
Ann V. Bell (Author)
6 x 9
Series: Families in Focus
Sociology, Health Policy and Public Health, Women's Studies
Despite the fact that, statistically, women of low socioeconomic status (SES) experience greater difficulty conceiving children, infertility is generally understood to be a wealthy, white woman’s issue. In Misconception
, Ann V. Bell overturns such historically ingrained notions of infertility by examining the experiences of poor women and women of color. These women, so the stereotype would have it, are simply too fertile. The fertility of affluent and of poor women is perceived differently, and these perceptions have political and social consequences, as social policies have entrenched these ideas throughout U.S. history.
Through fifty-eight in-depth interviews with women of both high and low SES, Bell begins to break down the stereotypes of infertility and show how such depictions consequently shape women’s infertility experiences. Prior studies have relied solely on participants recruited from medical clinics—a sampling process that inherently skews the participant base toward wealthier white women with health insurance.
In comparing class experiences, Misconception goes beyond examining medical experiences of infertility to expose the often overlooked economic and classist underpinnings of reproduction, family, motherhood, and health in contemporary America.
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"Misconception is a welcome addition to the growing field of the social scientific study of reproduction. Bell is an excellent writer and presents new ethnographic data that focuses on the role of social class in the social construction of infertility."
—Arthur L. Greil, author of Not Yet Pregnant: Infertile Couples in Contemporary America
"Exceptionally well written and vigorously researched, Misconception challenges common understandings of infertility. Bell illustrates how stereotypes of who should be mothers affect women’s infertility experiences and exacerbate ingrained social-class inequalities. Misconception is sociological research at its best—a must read!"
—Theresa Morris, author of Cut It Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America
"Misconception provides a powerful collection of narratives of infertility across the socio-economic spectrum in America. Bell's work is an important contribution to medical social science."
—Association for Feminist Anthropology
Author / Editor Bio
ANN V. BELL is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Delaware.
Table Of Contents
Introduction: Conceiving Infertility
1 “That’s What I’m Supposed to Be”: Why Women Want to Mother
2 “I’m Good at the Job”: How Women Achieve “Good” Motherhood
3 “Getting Pregnant’s a Piece of Cake”: Trying to Mother
4 “I Just Always Thought Something Was Wrong”: The Lived Experience of Infertility
5 “Whatever Gets Me to the End Point”: Resolving Infertility
6 “So What Can You Do?”: Coping with Infertility
7 Conclusion: (Re)conceiving Infertility