Sufriendo y luchando por un milagro (Suffering and fighting for a miracle: The meaning of infertility for some Mexican and Mexican American women).
Infertility, Female -- psychology.
Committee ChairKay, Margarita
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEighteen women were interviewed using focused ethnography to discover what it meant to be infertile women of Mexican descent. Some women reported that the infertility experience and the physical diagnostic procedures and treatments for infertility resulted in physical and psychological suffering (sufrimiento). Other women believed that infertility was a punishment from God and this created spiritual suffering for them. Profound suffering came from the realization that perhaps a dream--giving birth to their biological child and experiencing parenting--would never occur. The infertility experience had eroded their identities as women; in a sense, it was destroying them. Infertility had given these women a sense of abnormality, of being personal failures as women. Infertility implied not only the personal loss of hopes and dreams for the future of a sole individual, the woman, but it also implied the loss of hopes and dreams for the future of her family group, her partner's family group, not excluding the society which the couple was part of as well. Some women withdrew from their families, their friends and other people to avoid the painful and often embarrassing interrogative remarks from others. However, it was this social isolation which also created great suffering for these women since the isolation led to a loss of interaction with friends, family, and other people at a time when these women needed most the support. Fifty-five percent of the women feared that their inability to have a baby would eventually result in future abandonment by their partners. Some women saw their husbands as unsupportive because some men were unwilling to participate in diagnostic infertility evaluations and because some men also refused infertility treatments. The women maintained an attitude of fighting (luchando) which contradicted the stereotypical view of women of Mexican descent as being submissive, passive, and undecisive about handling crucial problems in their lives. Fifty percent of the women had used a combination of medical infertility treatments and folk medicine. Their persistent faith in God, in the Virgen de Guadalupe, and other religious saints had made it possible for these women to tolerate their enormous suffering.