Women’s Feelings about Childlessness in Two Pro-Natalist Countries
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The Institute of Human Geography and Demography, Vilnius
AGH University of Science and Technology
Publication date: 2020-06-24
Polish Sociological Review 2020;210(2):229–244
This article focuses on women’s feelings in regard to being childless/childfree in two pro-natalist countries— Lithuania and Poland. The article is based on semi-structured interviews conducted in Lithuania (N = 40) and Poland (N = 31) in 2017–2018. Comparing the experiences of two generations of women, the article reveals how social pressure functions as a mechanism of social exclusion in both countries. The analysis of circumstantial childlessness showed two ways in which women constructed their narratives: feeling normal (which prevailed in the older generation), and having ambivalent or negative reactions (which was prevalent in the narratives of both generations). The most intense emotions were revealed by women who had not had children for physiological reasons, while those women who had chosen not to have children faced strong pressure from the social environment.