Pregnancy as a Proclamation of Faith: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women Navigating the Uncertainty of Pregnancy and Prenatal Diagnosis
12 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 14, 2012
Research has suggested that religion and spirituality may inform individuals’ interpretation of and responses to uncertainty during pregnancy including the possibility of genetic disorders. In this study, 25 qualitative interviews were undertaken with ultra-Orthodox [Haredi] Jewish women about their experiences with uncertainties related to pregnancy, prenatal care, and prenatal diagnosis. We found that women draw upon a particular set of faith-based concepts to cope with the uncertainties of pregnancy and to make decisions regarding prenatal testing. The women draw on the religious concepts of faith and certainty, which are based on trusting that God will not test them beyond what they can withstand. When prenatal screening indicates a possible fetal anomaly or when a disabled child is born, these women interpret the situation as a God-sent ordeal in which they are called upon to prove their trust and certainty in God’s plan and to resist the uncertainties generated by the probability-based technologies. This research has implications for genetic service providers when discussing prenatal testing and fetal anomalies with Haredi women.
Keywords: uncertainty, faith, religion, Judaism, ultra-Orthodox, Jews, Haredi Jews, prenatal diagnosis, pregnancy, genetic counseling, anthropology, cultural differences
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