Making Room for Births That Are Not Good: Lessons from Cesarean Shame Shame

International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 15 (2):22-39 (2022)
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This article explores post-cesarean shame to understand how normative birthing ideals are tied to neoliberal and popular feminist expectations of what it means to be a “good” mother. Drawing on narratives shared on motherhood blogs, we note that feelings of shame associated with cesareans are tied to social pressures for unmedicated, vaginal birth. Rather than critique nonmedical or “natural” birth, this article explores the affective implications of approaching birth as a curated and controllable process. We conclude with suggestions for practitioners, moms, and their supporters on how to make room for births that are not good.



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