Review: Cesarean Sections & Risk: Ongoing Evolution of a Procedure

John A. Carranza // On September 19, 2019, the website Motherly posted an article entitled “These Birth Photos Prove How Beautiful Clear Drape C-Sections Can Be.” Heather Marcoux, the author,  explained what “gentle cesarean sections” are and how they have come to transform the cesarean section procedure in contemporary medicine. Previously, the operation included physicians…

How can HIV-positive women be good mothers?

Sasheenie Moodley // We are told that a “good mother” is the trope of a mother who is loving and nurturing (Chess, 1982; Mercer, 1985). She prioritises and protects her infant. This mother has a good relationship with her “happy” infant (Benedek, 1959). It is a good mother’s job to understand her child’s behaviour and…

Part I: Political Pregnancies in the Italian City States

Claire Litt // In early modern Italy, there was enormous pressure on noblewomen to produce healthy male children. The security of ruling families’ lines of succession (and the political stability of the city-states they ruled) were often precariously dependant on the reproductive health of only one or two women who married into each family. For…

Mother-tales: otherness and doubt in the neonatal intensive care unit

Emily Wheater // Recently in Synapsis, Jessica M.E. Kirwan discussed the portrayal by male, Enlightenment-era physicians of mothers in obstetric texts and images. William Hunter’s illustrations of pregnant bodies are deeply dehumanising in their presentation of butchered female bodies, and gradually stripping away the mother’s body altogether leaving just the uterus behind. What a wonderful…

Existential Research Notes, Or Pregnancy in the News

Livia Arndal Woods // For the better part of the past decade, my scholarship has focused on representations of pregnancy in the Victorian novel. This focus has often resonated with 21st century pregnancy narratives, and I’ve written about that. I’ve written less about the ways in which my scholarship has resonated with my lived experience…

“bodies mutilated for the nation”: Reproductive Rights and Women of Color Across Time

Sydnee Wagner and Alicia Andrzejewski // “Colonizers want land, but indigenous bodies forming nations are in the way because they form a strong attachment to land and because they replicate indigeneity…[the colonizers] see Indigenous women’s and girls’ bodies as the bodies that reproduce nations”—Leanne Betasamosake Simpson Introduction Our title’s opening quote, “bodies mutilated for the…

A for Abortion: The Weaponized Vocabulary of a Medical Procedure

Lauren A. Mitchell//   The OED defines Abortion as, “The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy; The expulsion of a fetus from the uterus by natural causes before it is able to survive independently; An object or undertaking regarded by the speaker as unpleasant or badly…

Selling Stillbirth, 1569 to Now

Alicia Andrzejewski // In one of my monthly visits to the Folger Shakespeare Library this year, I called up Pierre Boaistuau’s Certaine secrete wonders of nature: containing a descriptio[n] of sundry strange things, seming monstrous in our eyes and iudgement, bicause we are not priuie to the reasons of them (1569). I was looking for…

“They’re Saying This Over Me”: Neutralizing the (White) Doctor’s Gaze

Marcus Mosley //  My mother tells me that in a New York hospital in 1994, there were two distinct sections in the maternity ward. One section consisted of “white ladies” having normal babies, and the other side, unofficially labeled the “reject section,” consisted of mostly black women from the nearby prison having not normal babies….