W4 Activity: “I’m Desperate for a Baby”

Illness narratives are useful in all aspects. We learned in the lecture that anthropologists benefit from illness narratives because it helps them better understand the relationship between individual suffering and the social world. Depending on the condition, for patients it can be a positive thing because it helps clear some grey areas or misunderstandings about condition especially if they’re unfamiliar. It stresses most important that the person is not the only one suffering which can be encouraging because the patient doesn’t feel as left out. In addition, it can be helpful for healthcare providers because it gives a sense of security to patient especially when diagnosing treatment plans. I feel it is extremely beneficial for the family and this is coming from personal experience. About 7 years ago my little sister was diagnosed with Autism. The shock of diagnosis was hard. It was apparent that she was behind in language, but in the beginning her diagnosis didn’t make much sense either, as she was a happy four year old who loved being around people. We honestly thought it was the end of it all, but we only thought that way because we had no knowledge about Autism or how to approach the diagnosis. It was really difficult for my parents because they were immigrants and back home in Pakistan Autism seemed to be uncommon and if there was knowledge about Autism, it was greatly looked down upon. Initially, we all looked at it as a burden because it’s life long condition and all those future plans especially about school were now heavily altered. But with encouragement from a few family members and peers we got ourselves to read more about it and educate ourselves. Blog posts were immensely helpful and very encouraging. We even got close with one family who was of Pakistani decent and had an autistic son. Sharing their experiences definitely helped a lot in the process because they had amazing advice and guided us one step at a time on what to do next or in certain situations. Essentially a sense of security was established for our family and we didn’t think that was possible.

The episode that I decided to watch was “I’m Desperate for a Baby.” Basically this episode looks into the theme of families struggling to conceive. Specifically, this episode focuses on two the stories of two young women, Jenna and Candace, with fertility issues who are desperate to get pregnant. After watching this episode, I feel it’s a combination of two narratives- Restitution and Quest. Restitution Narrative is the case because for one couple-Jenna and her husband- it’s a temporary situation in which they’re trying IVF for the first time and it succeeds. So they have achieved their goal and Jenna is pregnant. While Candace has gone through 5 failed IVF attempts, she tries one more time. I would connect this as an example of a Quest Narrative as it’s a journey that’s been ongoing for a while. In addition there’s emphasis on emotional healing and coming to terms that it’s time to consider and other options and that’s okay. It gives that reassurance to someone else that is to be open-minded in such situations and this is how other people have tackled the situation. It’s not the end of the world!

One thought on “W4 Activity: “I’m Desperate for a Baby”

  1. In the episode you watched, the show focused on two young women who were having issues conceiving. They both went through IVF procedures in hopes of conceiving, but that both had multiple failure and only one of them ended up conceiving. In the article I read, while the woman was much older at 39, the woman was trying to conceive and just couldn’t seem to get pregnant no matter how hard she tried. She described how frustrating it was to be trying so hard to get pregnant when it seemed to be happening so easily for the women around her. I think that these women feel a pressure by society, their families, and even their gender to have children. When men say they do not want children, people tend to shrug it off. When females say they do not want children, people act like they are broken, and say that they will change their minds in due time. Women are expected to have children once they get married, and if their sole purpose in life is to make sure that they procreate. I do realize that people do actually want kids, and the desperation might be coming from that want. However, in the case of the woman in the article I read, she felt like less of a woman because everyone else was getting pregnant while she wasn’t. While I don’t think socio-economic status played a huge role here, I have noticed that people of a “higher class” tend to be more pressured into having children so that they may carry on their bloodline.


    Pearson, Ashley. “‘Why does EVERYONE around you become pregnant when you’re over 35 and desperate to conceive?” Sepia Mutiny. Accessed August 19, 2016.

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