The Business of Being Born: A Reading List

Beyond the tired binaries of midwife vs. doctor and home birth vs. hospital birth.

1. “How We Made Our Miracle.” (Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC, Feb. 2014)

After political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry shared pictures of her newborn daughter on Valentine’s Day, she wrote about her past health problems, her history with childbirth, and making the decision to pursue IVF and surrogacy.

2. “Why We’re So Obsessed With Natural Childbirth: A New History of Lamaze Explains the Origin of the Mythology.” (Jessica Grose, The New Republic, Feb. 2014)

In her review of Lamaze: An International History by Paula S. Michaels, Grose explores the origins of the desire for an “ecstatic” birth experience and the belief that hospital births are industrial and insensitive. She explains the roots of Lamaze in the the philosophy of a 1930s British doctor, the countercultural movement of the ’60s and ’70s and more.

3. “Why We Must Destroy the Myth of Miscarriage as Women’s Failure.” (Glosswitch, The New Statesmen, Feb. 2014)

“Miscarriage will not be made easier to cope with without changing the way we talk about pregnancy, bodies and women’s roles. The physical work of gestation and labour remains undervalued, yet in parallel with this the superficial celebration of pregnancy insinuates that those who can give birth are more virtuous, more real and more womanly than those who supposedly ‘fail.'”

4. “The Disturbing, Shameful History of Childbirth Deaths.” (Laura Helmuth, Slate, Sept. 2013)

“If you are pregnant, do not read this story.”

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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