I found this press release from the University of Pennsylvania incredibly interesting. It highlights Marni Rosner's research, which can be found in its entirety in her dissertation, “Recovery From Traumatic Loss: A Study of Women Living Without Children After Infertility.”
For a woman who is unable to bear children, the pain of infertility extends far into her everyday life and can impact her relationships with family and friends for years.
“I was curious as to how women living without children after infertility rebuilt their identity and life after this traumatic loss,” Rosner says. “There was little research that focused specifically on the long-term adjustment of women who experienced infertility and had not gone on to become parents either through biology, adoption or third-party reproduction.
In her study done at Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice, Rosner uncovered the losses created by infertility, including the denial of motherhood as a rite of passage; the loss of one’s anticipated and imagined life; feeling a loss of control over one’s life; doubting one’s womanhood; changed and sometimes lost friendships; and, for many, the loss of one’s religious environment as a support system.
“Over time, most of the women in the study reported tremendous post-traumatic growth,” Rosner says. “Several ongoing issues remain, of course, but most participants had integrated the loss into their narratives, had actively reimagined their lives and were embracing life once again.”
The study found that on average it took three to four years for study participants to fully emerge from feeling like infertility was their primary identity.
Here is the link to the full article.
Here are links to previous blog posts:
Here are links to chapter one of my book: