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Record Type: Review   ID: 223

Mother with Child: Transformations Through Childbirth

Rabuzzi, Kathryn Allen

 This marvelous book in essence is about exceptional and exceptional human experiences associated with childbirth. They can involve not only the mother but the baby, coaching fathers, and the doctor. Rabuzzi, who teaches English at Syracuse University, builds on her own experience, an exploration of the literature, and interviews with other mothers to uncover data suggesting that giving birth can be a natural trigger for self-transformation and revelation. Rabuzzi devotes chapters to all the stages: Preconceptions; Conception; Miraculous Conceptions, Misconceptions; Pregnancy: A Natural Initiation Process, Models of Labor and Delivery, Phases of Labor, "Delivery": A Time of Potential Revelation, and The Postpartum Period. Several of the foregoing chapter titles, such as the first four and the sixth, "Models," indicate that she not only presents accounts of specific experiences but contrasts the patriarchal view of the stages of birth, which is promoted not only by the medical profession but also psychologists, scientists, and philosophers, with what actually happened in the case of many mothers, coaching fathers, and new borns (who spontaneously recall or do so under hypnosis). She also reviews recent research, spearheaded by David Chamberlain, into prebirth and birthing memories of people. Chamberlain has suggested a "visionary obstetrics" in which the birthing of newborn babies plays a role in directing the birth process is viewed as a viable possibility. In any case, as Rabuzzi points out, the EHEs recounted in this book can help to reframe childbirth, the mother-child relationship, and the Western medical and societal views of childbirth so that they are carried out in a much more life-potentiating way that in the long-term would also reduce alienation, abuse, violence, and the sense of separateness that afflicts the West in the late 20th century.
Publisher Information:Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. 168p. Chap notes: 152-163; Ind: 164-168
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