Enough is enough: Women's narratives about resolving infertility

Susan Morley (1994)

Infertility is a complex, non-normative experience which radically interrupts the lives of approximately 15% of married couples in the USA (Kraft et al., 1980). The problem and experience of infertility has not been well researched to date and the majority of the literature is clinically or anecdotally related. However, it is clear that infertility constitutes a major life crisis and engenders significant losses for many of the individuals effected. The problem and resolution of infertility is examined in this dissertation using a postmodern perspective. Attention is given to the many dimensions which help construct the experience for women in America today, including the historical, cultural, social and psychological aspects. A qualitative methodology was used to examine one aspect of infertility, the process of resolution, as described by thirteen women. Narratives about how the respondents were able to end medical treatment and what aided or impeded their recovery were explored. In addition, the semistandardized interviews inquired into what the respondents believe are the long term effects of infertility. In this study resolution was best described as reaching a point where enough is enough. Resolution also relied on the support of sympathetic others, grieving, and finding new ways to describe and experience one's identity. Most of the participants believe that they are better people as a result of their involvement in this difficult process.