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Birth as an American Rite of Passage

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm reading Birth as an American Rite of Passage right now, and I'm just enthralled by it!

Anyone reading it or read it recently?
post #2 of 20
No, but it's on my "to-read" list. I've heard rave reviews so I can't wait to get my hands on it.
post #3 of 20
no library here in Hamburg has it, but I can possibly get it from another town. that might take a while, though...hopefully this thread is still going then
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceane View Post
no library here in Hamburg has it, but I can possibly get it from another town. that might take a while, though...hopefully this thread is still going then
I'm not going anywhere! I'll wait for you.
post #5 of 20
I ordered it today, so I hope I can get it by the weekend the latest. obviously I'll still havr to read it can you give a short recapture until then?
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
I just finished it last night, and it was so eye-opening! It explains so much about people who believe in both a technocratic model of birth as well as a more holistic model.

There's a member of my DH's extended family who is a neonatal intensive care nurse, and she has said nasty things to me about my hopes to have a homebirth ("We call that child abuse, you know."--one classic statement from this woman.) The book has helped me understand that we just have completely different world views, so of course we disagree! I don't have to get upset with what she says--I just have to recognize that we are fundamentally different.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
I just finished it last night, and it was so eye-opening! It explains so much about people who believe in both a technocratic model of birth as well as a more holistic model.

There's a member of my DH's extended family who is a neonatal intensive care nurse, and she has said nasty things to me about my hopes to have a homebirth ("We call that child abuse, you know."--one classic statement from this woman.) The book has helped me understand that we just have completely different world views, so of course we disagree! I don't have to get upset with what she says--I just have to recognize that we are fundamentally different.
that's nice that you can be calm about it now... I still think it's a horrible thing to say!
post #8 of 20
vegan cupcake, I got the book today and hope to have read at least half of the first chapter till tomorrow. still up to chat about it? i'm excited! I'm loving the topic already and have been pondering if i'd like to propose a dissertation in that direction, too....
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, I'm up for it, if you'll bear with my fuzzy post-reading memory! I would love to hear what someone else thinks of it.

That would be fantastic if you did your dissertation about something like this! I've been thinking I would like to see lots of other things analyzed in this way, like marriage. :
post #10 of 20
so far (introduction and a couple more pages) I am really liking the book. here's what I like and find extremely interesting:

the connection she draws between traditional anthropological thought and modern society

the idea that medical intervention is a ritual in itself

the history of technological medicine and the natural aspects of birth

I wonder about the ritualistic aspects of procedures though. it's not that I don't believe it, it makes sense to me, but I wonder if it is a more a way of dealing with a fast-paced, standardized health care system. which would still fit the idea of technology controlling nature...
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceane View Post
so far (introduction and a couple more pages) I am really liking the book. here's what I like and find extremely interesting:

the connection she draws between traditional anthropological thought and modern society

the idea that medical intervention is a ritual in itself

the history of technological medicine and the natural aspects of birth

I wonder about the ritualistic aspects of procedures though. it's not that I don't believe it, it makes sense to me, but I wonder if it is a more a way of dealing with a fast-paced, standardized health care system. which would still fit the idea of technology controlling nature...
These were some of the same things that intrigued me.

So many medical interventions aren't evidence-based, so I wonder why they persist. I think you're really going to like the section where she explains the possible ritual purposes of each procedure that a woman may have done in her birth.

Many interventions and even simple procedures that happen in a technological birth have a strong psychological impact, even if it's not consciously perceived at the time. I feel like a lot of "average" pregnant women depend heavily (too heavily?) on their doctors to tell them what to do--and the usual lingo is that the OB "delivers" the baby. I wonder if women give up their independence of thought in pregnancy because it feels safe; they think if they just do whatever the doctor says, he/she will make everything turn out fine.

I don't think many people think about the possible ritual purposes of a variety of fixtures in our daily lives, but I do think that many of the rituals seem to have worked by producing psychological effects, in addition to their physiological purposes.

Oceane, I'm so glad you're reading the book!
post #12 of 20
I read it when it first was published.

Outstanding.

But, still, nothing in the real world seems to change regarding birth for most women. I suppose no one really wants it to change. I feel so alone!
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice View Post
I read it when it first was published.

Outstanding.

But, still, nothing in the real world seems to change regarding birth for most women. I suppose no one really wants it to change. I feel so alone!
it's just very strongly imprinted in everybody. Even my friend who's into at least a little extended breastfeeding (to illustrate her minor interest in natural living) told me that leaving the hospital after 4 days was at her friend's own risk. nobody has ever even mentioned just going to the hospital to deliver (in case one does want to give birth there).
and, it's like when my doctor tells me something's with my blood and I have to ask whether it's dangerous. obviously there will always be things laymen won't know, but some education would be very very helpful already.

do you recommend the book to people/friends? I wouldn't even know where to discuss it really...
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
These were some of the same things that intrigued me.

So many medical interventions aren't evidence-based, so I wonder why they persist. I think you're really going to like the section where she explains the possible ritual purposes of each procedure that a woman may have done in her birth.

Many interventions and even simple procedures that happen in a technological birth have a strong psychological impact, even if it's not consciously perceived at the time. I feel like a lot of "average" pregnant women depend heavily (too heavily?) on their doctors to tell them what to do--and the usual lingo is that the OB "delivers" the baby. I wonder if women give up their independence of thought in pregnancy because it feels safe; they think if they just do whatever the doctor says, he/she will make everything turn out fine.

I don't think many people think about the possible ritual purposes of a variety of fixtures in our daily lives, but I do think that many of the rituals seem to have worked by producing psychological effects, in addition to their physiological purposes.

Oceane, I'm so glad you're reading the book!
well, I only found out about it from YOU, so you're to blame


definitely psychological impact. I can relate to it because one often doesn't know much about how the body works and when is something normal and when is it dangerous? I would love to be able to reach a state where I can be more in touch with my body, to feel if something's wrong. I have no personal experience of pregnancy/childbirth but what I see on TV etc. is doctors presenting a DECISION to their patients, not an option or a possibility for them to decide. and I'm not talking about life or death situations either, in which I can understand that time for discussion may be limited.
I should continue reading it now, but MIL is visiting and I don't feel like discussing babies with her today...:


edit: and I do think it's easy to believe (and hope?) that your OB know what he/she is doing and will make everything be alright. which should be the ultimate goal of medicine, but, well, some things just aren't wrong in the first place and needn't be fixed...
post #15 of 20
i read it earlier this year b/c it was on my ALACE doula required reading list. i mean, i wanted to read it anyway, but that was good motivation. it was fabulous! it's so hard sometimes to understand things like what she wrote about and then go on living in the world without wanting to share the same information with everyone. i just wish everyone would read it and "get it".
post #16 of 20
I've got this on my Amazon wishlist! Hopefully someone will pick it for me for christmas!
post #17 of 20
hugs
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
No, but I just wanted to add that American Way of Birth by Jessica Mitford is also a classic.
I should check that out. the search commences again
it fit in nicely with my henci goer reading experience. I really think it's important to read more than one book on the topic to really get a strong sense of your knowledge. am I making sense? I guess I mean that in a medical situation it would be difficult to insist on the right to choose if I'm not feeling confident enough, and 1 book alone isn't making me.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Absolutely, I think it's really important to read as much as possible, and even include different perspectives, too.

I think I read American Way of Birth, too, and liked it.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
No, but I just wanted to add that American Way of Birth by Jessica Mitford is also a classic.
Yes, that is an outstanding book!

She also wrote, American Way of Death which indicts the funeral industry.

We do everything so backwards.
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