'Damaged goods' and motherhood

Tayhla Ryder

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Autoimmune diseases are a kind of lifelong chronic illness that disproportionately affect women. The lived experience of these illnesses, including onset and diagnosis as well as future planning, should not be expected to be gender neutral (Thorne et al 1997). Recent qualitative research has begun to focus on the particular experiences that women and men face as their gender role and accompanying social expectations run up against the realities of their disease. This paper is based on research which aimed to explore the experiences of Australian women with autoimmune diseases. Though this research was not designed to examine the role of gender, it nevertheless emerged throughout the qualitative interviews with the women participating. While these autoimmune diseases have a physiological basis, and can cause issues with fertility and other biological processes, the impacts of these illnesses in women’s lives are significantly shaped by culture. This paper will consider the way chronic illness throws expectations and assumptions around womanhood into stark relief, particularly in relation to ideas about motherhood and women’s role in relation to men.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventMedical Humanities Seminar Series - Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 3 Aug 20177 Dec 2017


SeminarMedical Humanities Seminar Series


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