The topic of women divorced at midlife without children is one that has, to date, been absent from professional and academic literature, though these women make up a considerable and growing portion of our population. This book explores the experience, meaning, and impact of divorce at midlife for women without children, and provides insights into the unique stressors and issues confronting these individuals so that the practitioner can better anticipate and meet their needs. Clinical considerations and case examples will be presented via the narrative stories of women who have experienced this unusual role in a world that is still primarily centered on marriage and mothering.
This book provides case examples, clinical themes, treatment recommendations, and suggests coping techniques and strategies. Castaldo draws heavily upon social constructionist, feminist, and narrative perspectives as theoretical frameworks for the book, as well as the results of her own qualitative research study. She suggests new concepts for women’s psychological development, including: an expanded family life cycle to include a normalized stage of mature single adulthood and a developmental process of autonomous competence for women. Other critical coping skills include meaning modification, role innovation, self-nurturing, expanded intimacy and attachment, and multi-diverse industriousness.
"…an enlightening and rich piece of qualitative work that held my interest…Debra Castaldo has done a good job of presenting the slim empirical and clinical literature relative to this population, a review of the problem in the women's own voice, and a suggested therapeutic approach that sounds promising, to guide other therapists in serving this population…Castaldo has outlined a therapeutic procedure that should help divorced, childless women avoid becoming "invisible" as they continue to age." - Sex Roles
Prologue: Fairy Tales, Myths, and Legendary Creatures. Introduction. Overview, Trends, Historical Perspectives, and Clinical Issues. Out of Sync in a Married Mothering World. How Did We Get Here? Trends and Concepts. Midlife Divorce for Women in a Married World. Childless in a Mothering World. Telling Life Stories: Constructions, Narratives, and Beliefs. Paralyzing or Empowering: The Power of Socially Constructed Beliefs. Out on a Limb: Beliefs About Role Exit, Transition, and Adjustment. The Women Speak. A Relational/Constructionist Approach. Sponsoring, Re-storying, and Fostering Connection. No Time is a Good Time for Goodbye - The Case of Sara.