Reconceiving Women: Separating Motherhood from Female Identity

Mardy S. Ireland, Author
Mardy S. Ireland, Author Guilford Publications $19.95 (195p) ISBN 978-0-89862-016-0
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
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``It is practically impossible to think of the woman who is not a mother without thinking of something absent, lacking, or missing,'' says Ireland, a California-based psychologist with a heavily Freudian bias. Such a blanket statement is highly questionable, particularly since the 100 women (ages 38-50) whom Ireland interviewed in 1988 all hail from Northern California and don't represent a cross section of middle American attitudes. Whether discussing women who are childless due to infertility, those who delayed pregnancy until past their childbearing years, or women who consciously decided against motherhood, Ireland too facilely pigeonholes these baby boomers as representatives of 1970s feminism. One senses a strong traditional bias behind what findings she chooses to report, limiting her examples to women who started out with strong desires for motherhood, despite casual references to women who ``told me that they had never enjoyed playing with dolls as a child.'' Moreover, readers who don't have some grounding in psychoanalytic theory will be confounded by Ireland's discussions. There is a lot of dry verbiage here, but little insight. (June)
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