Redefining Normalcy

Gay Becker

in The Elusive Embryo

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520224308
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925243 | DOI:
Redefining Normalcy

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When infertility goes on for years, the goal of parenthood becomes an abstraction whose realization may seem increasingly unlikely. The purpose of this chapter is to restore normalcy means reconstructing the life story, and leaving space for new possibilities to emerge. Redefining normalcy is a gradual process in which women and men rework what “normal” means at the same time that they rethink their relationship with each other. Redefining normalcy for oneself means rethinking specific aspects of gender identity in relation to changing life experiences. This chapter reveals that grieving for unborn children is a catalyst for redefining normalcy. There are no rituals or other public markers to help people define or manage their grief when they have experienced infertility. The grieving process often makes it possible for people to reconsider cultural ideologies to which they previously subscribed, such as the cultural ideology of biological parenthood, and to resist those ideologies in favor of alternative solutions.

Keywords: redefining normalcy; gender identity; grieving; infertility; cultural ideologies; biological parenthood

Chapter.  7459 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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