Religion in Public Research Seminar with Dr Dawn Llewellyn
- Date: Thursday 14 March 2019, 11:30 – 13:00
- Location: Botany House (1.03)
- Cost: Free
Dr Dawn Llewellyn will speak about “Narrating Choice, Narrating Vocation: Motherhood, Voluntary Childlessness and Christianity”.
In this Centre for Religion and Public Life research seminar, Dr Dawn Llewellyn will speak about “Narrating Choice, Narrating Vocation: Motherhood, Voluntary Childlessness and Christianity”.
Based on qualitative in depth interviews with Christian women, this paper lays out the primary personal, social, and institutional factors that women take into account when they are deciding to become mothers, or choosing childlessness. Extant scholarship has tended to analyse motherhood and childlessness separately, and generally women's (and couples') reasons for voluntary childlessness have been given more attention (see for example, Basten, 2009; Edwards 2015; Petersen, 2015; Shapiro, 2014). In a clear departure from this approach, I intentionally focus on how Christian women share similar motivations for their respective choices to highlight the commonalities between mothers and the voluntary childless; women who are usually placed in opposition. In the interviews, participants' narratives of choice frame reproductive agency as an interpretation of vocation and God's calling that assesses existing family commitments; environmental ethics; desire and longing; lifestyle; risk; the influence of friends, family, and acquaintances; relationship with partners; marital status; and financial concerns. This paper also highlights how women navigate the conflicts that emerge when the factors shaping choice are often in conflict with their faith community and broader reproductive norms.