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From Here to MaternityBecoming a Mother$
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Ann Oakley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447349341

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447349341.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

The Agony and the Ecstasy

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Chapter:
(p.76) 5 The Agony and the Ecstasy
Source:
From Here to Maternity
Author(s):

Ann Oakley

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447349341.003.0005

This chapter considers the experience of childbirth. It reveals that certain themes run through the accounts of birth gathered in the course of research: the problem of recognition, the clash of expectations and reality, and the question of control. But the issue of who controls birth is part of childbirth today in a more general sense. In entering hospital to give birth a woman becomes part of that great and growing debate about who is having the baby: the mother, the medical profession, the hospital, the family, and the state. In the role of patient a mother is vulnerable, but she is vulnerable twice over, for she has not only her own interests to defend but her baby's. Moreover, hospitals are made up of rules and set procedures; certain things must be done in certain ways at certain times and in certain places. Defeating the depersonalisation that results — the feeling of being a cipher, of being one amongst many machines mechanically programmed to produce a baby — becomes a massive, and often unreachable goal.

Keywords:   childbirth, recognition, hospitals, depersonalisation, birth

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