In Crack Mothers, Drew Humphries asserts that medicine and criminal justice have always been at odds on the subject of drug use. The one treats drug users as patients, the other as criminals. However, beginning in the late 1980s, the “crack mother” scare led to an unprecedented alliance between doctors and prosecutors in some states, where doctors turned addicted pregnant women over to the police for arrest, trial, and incarceration.
Humphries analyzes the public reaction to crack cocaine and the policies instituted to combat it. She shows us that, more often than not, policies were generated by the fears that crack mothers were harbingers of even more serious social problems. The media’s construction of the crack mother as a model of depravity, she argues, reflects mainstream desires and fears, rather than portraying the truth. Humphries offers a more balanced view of the women who use crack and the policies that have been adopted to stop them.
Humphries does not dwell on the transgressions of crack mothers, nor does she endorse the punitive measures of the drug war policy makers. After ten years of studying a wide range of state policies, she finds that zero tolerance, mandatory sentences, and interdiction have not only failed to reduce drug use but increased the sense of persecution among the urban poor and contributed to the crisis of overcrowding in courts and prisons. Moreover, she states, before crack mothers became a media spectacle, no one had considered the special needs of women in designing drug treatment programs. Crack Mothers is a timely and important contribution to our growing understanding of maternal health, drug use, and treatment.
Embodying Culture is an ethnographically grounded exploration of pregnancy in two different cultures—Japan and Israel—both of which medicalize pregnancy. Tsipy Ivry focuses on "low-risk" or "normal" pregnancies, using cultural comparison to explore the complex relations among ethnic ideas about procreation, local reproductive politics, medical models of pregnancy care, and local modes of maternal agency.
The ethnography pieces together the voices of pregnant Japanese and Israeli women, their doctors, their partners, the literature they read, and depicts various clinical encounters such as ultrasound scans, explanatory classes for amniocentesis, birthing classes, and special pregnancy events.
The emergent pictures suggest that athough experiences of pregnancy in Japan and Israel differ, pregnancy in both cultures is an energy-consuming project of meaning-making— suggesting that the sense of biomedical technologies are not only in the technologies themselves but are assigned by those who practice and experience them.
“Expecting Teryk is a rich and sumptuous work that speaks to the deeper realities and represents a unique viewpoint of experiences shared by all individuals who choose the path to parenthood.”—Disability, Pregnancy, and Parenthood
The period just prior to the birth of a child is a time of profound personal transformation for expectant parents. Expecting Teryk: An Exceptional Path to Parenthood is an intimate exploration, written in the form of a letter from a parent to her future son, that reclaims a rite of passage that modern society would strip of its magic.
Dawn Prince-Hughes, renowned author of Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey through Autism, considers the ways being autistic might inform her parenting. She also candidly narrates her experience of becoming a parent as part of a lesbian couple—from meeting her partner to the questions they ask about their readiness to become parents and the practical considerations of choosing a sperm donor.
Expecting Teryk is viewed through the lens of autism as Prince-Hughes shares the unique way she sees and experiences the world—as well as her aching will to be fully present for her son. Contemplating the evolutionary traditions of parenting from both animal and human perspectives and the reassurances that nature offers, Expecting Teryk is a work of sensuous wonder that speaks to the deeper realities and archetypal experiences shared by all who embark on the journey of parenthood.
In Great Expectation, Dan Roche gives a man's perspective on what it means to start and expand a family relatively later in life. Through a series of diary entries in turns humorous, angst ridden, and full of hope and joy, Roche describes his own thoughts and concerns during the nine months of his wife's pregnancy.
With five years of parenting his irrepressible daughter Maeve under his belt, Roche, already forty-five years old, and his wife, Maura, face the prospect of another arrival and the myriad of emotions that come with a second child. From revelling in the joys of pregnancy such as Maura's delight at "having cleavage" and being able to eat whatever she desires; to assuaging the parental anxieties of choosing the right obstetrician, correcting the mistakes one made with the first child, and sending children to college in the future; to navigating the unforeseen, experiencing the unexpected death of a parent, and feeling trepidation toward the thought of having a son, Roche records his emotions with unusual candidness and intimacy.
Reflecting on day-to-day events and their significance in his family’s life together, Roche wonders what he is getting himself into and how much deeper he can immerse himself into parenting. Together, he and his wife face the bittersweet intersections of death and new life, menace and hopefulness. With sincerity and a mature wit, Great Expectation stands as a wise recounting of nine months’ time, with all of its chaos and charms, and offers a fresh perspective for first-time and veteran parents alike.
Drawing on past speculation and present knowledge, reproductive biologist David Bainbridge conducts us through the forty weeks of a human pregnancy, from conception to breastfeeding, explaining the complex biology behind human gestation in a clear and unassuming manner.
Making Babies sets the latest findings in pregnancy biology in a challenging evolutionary, historical, and sociological context, proving that when it comes to drama, pregnancy has it all: sibling rivalry, a battle of the sexes, and a crisis of gender identity. Along the way, Bainbridge revisits some of the key puzzles about pregnancy: What's sex got to do with it? How does the fetus hijack its mother's immune system? What is the point, if any, of morning sickness? Just how does a fertilized ovum develop into eight pounds or so of baby, with ten fingers and ten toes? Does the baby or the mother control the onset of labor, and why is it such an ordeal for them both?
Entertaining and informative, Making Babies shows how the study of human pregnancy can help us understand our genesis as individuals and our evolution as a species, and provide insight into who we are and why we behave as we do.
Table of Contents:
Origins Breaking the Cycle Making Babies The Visitor Within The Visitor Without
Notes Further Reading Glossary Index
Reviews of this book: [Bainbridge's] insight explodes off the page...[Making Babies] reads like a whodunnit. A ripping yarn and irresistible--I read it at one sitting. --Miriam Stoppard, Times Higher Education Supplement [UK]
Bainbridge...tackles his subject by posing five major questions about pregnancy: Why do humans reproduce the way they do--in other words: why sex? How does the maternal body "know" it's pregnant? How is a baby...develop[ed] from a fertilized egg into fully-formed fetus? Why doesn't the maternal immune system reject the intruding fetus? And how do mother and baby survive the birth process? Meanwhile, all the wonder of the natural process is captured here. --Kirkus Reviews
What was known in Britain as A Visitor Within gets a more down-to-earth, less scientific title for American consumption but still brims with lucid science writing, clear technical and hypothetical explanation, and delightful personal touches. Anatomist Bainbridge became professionally interested in pregnancy when his wife lost their first baby. After considerable investigation, he discovered that people generally have five questions about pregnancy: Why do we reproduce as we do? How does a woman learn she is pregnant? How is a baby put together? How does a fetus save itself from being attacked as a foreign body within its mother? And how do mother and baby survive labor to become healthy partners. Bainbridge sets scientific knowledge in its historical context throughout but also points out what remains unknown, and he explodes such major myths as that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. First-time parents-to-be, parents of several offspring, and mere scientists and nonscientists simply interested in pregnancy stand to be fascinated and informed by Bainbridge. --William Beatty, Booklist
We often speak of the miracle of birth, but Bainbridge's book proves that the cliche has substance. A reproductive biologist and veterinarian who teaches at the Royal Veterinary College in London, Bainbridge has written a fascinating account...[He] explains complex physiological processes with wit and clarity. Unlike traditional pregnancy books like What to Expect When You're Expecting, this study remains at the molecular level, concentrating on the intricate developmental process that includes pregnancy, birth, and lactation. --Barbara M. Bibel, Library Journal
[Bainbridge] covers his subject like an academic reporting for the National Enquirer. His eye for the sensational and amusing aspects of pregnancy, combined with his understated sense of humor, results in a more digestible--but still solidly scientific--read. --Bethany Torode, Books & Culture
This lucid and engaging text covers childbirth from conception to lactation and examines the complex biology of human gestation...Making Babies is an accessible, insightful, and mesmerizing tour of our beginnings. --Science News
In this fascinating approach to pregnancy, Bainbridge poses questions that have perplexed scientists ever since the discovery that pregnancy is a partnership between mother and fetus...He writes as a father and as the husband of a woman who has had difficult pregnancies, which may explain his startling prediction for the future of this universal human experience: a Brave New World-style artificial gestation. --Roni Ramos, Fit Pregnancy
British biologist Bainbridge...writes from the perspective of recent fatherhood. With grace, humor, and an enormous respect for pregnancy and mothering, Bainbridge takes us through a chapter-by-chapter account of what happens during pregnancy, and, more importantly, why it happens...To his credit, Bainbridge summarizes both theory and speculation, giving thoughtful opinions of why some beliefs lack accuracy. --M. K. Snooks, Choice
What makes this book so good is that Bainbridge not only explains pregnancy clearly and easily, he does it in such an engaging way. Going beyond the usual anatomical fare, he gives the reader underlying theories and an evolutionary viewpoint of the biology of motherhood. Bainbridge does what too few scientists are able to do: write about science in a way that a layperson cannot only understand, but wants to read. This is an excellent example of how good science writing can be. --Meredith Small, Cornell University, author of Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent
Mothers often know very little about the drugs they receive during pregnancy and even less about the drugs they consume during childbirth. The adverse fetal effects of drugs—whether prescription or over-the-counter—and the information mothers receive from the drug and medical communities about those drugs are shown in this International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities monograph. The research for the study presented in Medication in Maternity included 602 mothers, and as such must be seen as a significant contribution to the field of neonatology in general and to learning disabilities specifically. The authors' findings indicate that many infants are exposed to prenatal and during-birth drugs that could cause learning difficulties or have other toxic effects, and that mothers are rarely told what drugs they are taking or how those drugs could harm their child.
As reproductive power finds its way into the hands of medical professionals, lobbyists, and policymakers, the geographies of pregnancy are shifting, and the boundaries need to be redrawn, argues Laura R. Woliver. Across a politically charged backdrop of reproductive issues, Woliver exposes strategies that claim to uphold the best interests of children, families, and women but in reality complicate women's struggles to have control over their own bodies. Utilizing feminist standpoint theory and promoting a feminist ethic of care, Woliver looks at the ways modern reproductive politics are shaped by long-standing debates on abortion and adoption, surrogacy arrangements, new reproductive technologies, medical surveillance, and the mapping of the human genome.
Early twentieth-century Arizona was a life-threatening place for new and expectant mothers. Towns were small and very far apart, and the weather and harsh landscape often delayed midwives. It was not uncommon for a woman to give birth without medical care and with the aid of only family members. By the 1920s, Arizona was at the top of the list for the highest number of infant deaths.
Mary Melcher’s Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Choice in Twentieth-Century Arizona provides a deep and diverse history of the dramatic changes in childbirth, birth control, infant mortality, and abortion over the course of the last century. Using oral histories, memoirs, newspaper accounts, government documents, letters, photos, and biographical collections, this fine-grained study of women’s reproductive health places the voices of real women at the forefront of the narrative, providing a personal view into some of the most intense experiences of their lives.
Tackling difficult issues such as disparities in reproductive health care based on race and class, abortion, and birth control, this book seeks to change the way the world looks at women’s health. An essential read for both historians and public health officials, this book reveals that many of the choices and challenges that women once faced remain even today.
The Rhetoric of Pregnancy
Marika Seigel University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress RG551.S45 2013 | Dewey Decimal 618.2
It is a truth widely acknowledged that if you’re pregnant and can afford one, you’re going to pick up a pregnancy manual. From What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Pregnancy for Dummies, these guides act as portable mentors for women who want advice on how to navigate each stage of pregnancy. Yet few women consider the effect of these manuals—how they propel their readers into a particular system of care or whether the manual they choose reflects or contradicts current medical thinking.
Using a sophisticated rhetorical analysis, Marika Seigel works to deconstruct pregnancy manuals while also identifying ways to improve communication about pregnancy and healthcare. She traces the manuals’ evolution from early twentieth-century tomes that instructed readers to unquestioningly turn their pregnancy management over to doctors, to those of the women’s health movement that encouraged readers to engage more critically with their care, to modern online sources that sometimes serve commercial interests as much as the mother’s.
The first book-length study of its kind, The Rhetoric of Pregnancy is a must-read for both users and designers of our prenatal systems—doctors and doulas, scholars and activists, and anyone interested in encouraging active, effective engagement.
The 1966 edition of the leading medical textbook states that pregnant women can safely smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day. Yet today, women who smoke during pregnancy are among the most vilified figures in public health campaigns. Laury Oaks argues this shift is not due solely to medical findings indicating that cigarette smoking may harm the fetus. Also responsible are a variety of social factors that converged more than a decade ago to construct the demonized category of the “pregnant smoker.”
This book charts the emergence of smoking during pregnancy as a public health concern and social problem. Oaks looks at the emphasis public health educators place on individual responsibility, the current legal and social assertion of fetal personhood, the changing expectations of pregnant and prepregnant women, and the advent of antismoking campaigns. She explores how public health educators discuss “the problem” with one another, how they communicate with pregnant smokers, and how these women themselves understand the “risk” of fetal harm. Finally, Oaks discusses the various meanings of “objective” statistics on the effects of smoking on the fetus, exploring the significance of cultural context in assessing the relative importance of those numbers. She argues that rather than bombarding pregnant women with statistics, health educators should consider the daily lives of these women and their socioeconomic status to understand why some women choose to smoke during pregnancy. Without downplaying the seriousness of the health risks that smoking poses to women and their babies, the book supports new efforts that challenge the moral policing of pregnant smokers.
Compelling essays which underline the central place pregnancy and childbirth hold in women’s writing. Embracing three centuries of prose and poetry, the anthology traces the evolution of American maternity literature, exploring the difficulties mothers faced as they struggled to transform themselves from objects into maternal subjects. Women as diverse as Anne Bradstreet, Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison, and Louise Erdrich all labored to reclaim the birthing process by giving voice to experiences and emotions long devalued by a patriarchal culture. Their voices resonate throughout this collection.