Every year, millions of women have their lives turned inside out by the experience of pregnancy. A contemporary woman find herself caught in an absurd paradox: while in the grip of one of the most primal, lonely, sensual and, in some ways, psychologically debilitating and physically dangerous experiences, she is overwhelmed by invasive, trivialising and infantilising cultural messages about what is happening to her - and who really owns the experience.
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(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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UK Kirkus Review »
Following her success with The Beauty Myth, Wolf sets out,as she puts it, to 'explore the genuine miracle, not the Hallmark card' of pregnancy and birth. With two children of her own, she draws both on personal experience and her extensive reading and research in the field to lay bare the risks and realities of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood in an age in which high-tech intervention by the medical profession is the norm rather than the exception and in which ever more is expected of women as they struggle to balance what is seen as a 'natural' role with the demands of work, partners and society as a whole. Ours is a society, moreover, in which traditional networks of support such as the extended family are breaking down, leaving expectant and new mothers increasingly isolated. Although written from the perspective of her experience in the USA, in which the issue of unnecessary medical procedures seems more acute than almost anywhere else in the world, the problems Wolf highlights are just as relevant for new and prospective parents in Britain: infertility treatment, testing for birth defects, unnecessary Caesareans and episiotomies and foetal monitoring. She also examines in some detail women's psychological and emotional responses at what can be a particularly lonely time - aspects which the medical professionals tend to sweep under the carpet, such as how to deal with the pain of birth itself and how to recognize and cope with post-natal depression. Wolf ends with a 'Mothers' Manifesto' in which she lists a series of goals to improve the experience of so many women. This is a passionate and hard-hitting critique of society's attitudes to the whole business of childbirth from conception right through to the first few months of life. It will be of interest to anyone contemplating parenthood or looking back on an experience which did not live up to the myths propagated by those in the 'birthing industry'. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Naomi Wolf
Naomi Wolf is a bestselling American writer, known for her advocacy of feminism and progressive politics. She became internationally famous with the publication of her first book, The Beauty Myth, in 1991, and has gone on to write a subsequent six titles including: Fire with Fire, Promiscuities, Misconceptions and The Tree House.