Despite increased autonomy for women in reproductive decision-making, a trend to delay motherhood, and increasing number of women who choose to be childfree, Western society remains largely pronatalist and motherhood is typically an expected part of a woman’s life course. At the same time, parenting expectations have changed across generations with the emergence in recent years of what has been termed a ‘good mother’ or ‘new momism’ discourse, encompassing a belief that parenting should be child-centred, that mothers are inherently better parents than fathers, and that motherhood is characterised by fulfilment. Given these social and cultural trends, how do women make decisions about becoming parents, and what experiences do women have when their parenting plans are not achieved, such as when they experience infertility? In this chapter, we draw on research from three qualitative studies, one exploring young women’s constructions about the timing for parenthood in New Zealand, and the others exploring women’s experiences after successful or unsuccessful infertility treatment. We discuss how women’s reproductive decision-making and their experiences need to be understood from a holistic perspective that acknowledges the biological parameters of fertility while recognising social, cultural, and structural factors affecting experiences and influencing and constraining women’s reproductive autonomy.
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Goedeke, S., Mackintosh, M., Grace, L. (2022). Reproductive Choices and Experiences in Planning for Parenthood and Managing Infertility. In: Shaw, R.M. (eds) Reproductive Citizenship. Health, Technology and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-9451-6_13
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