Janus Head 17 (1):5-8 (2019)

Allison B. Wolf
Simpson College
In 2010, Taffy Brodesser-Akner published an article entitled, “How Childbirth Caused my PTSD,” on Salon.com. Much to my surprise, her claims that she was seriously traumatized by childbirth encountered strong resistance and disbelief. In trying to understand the source of this resistance, I discovered a type of violence, which I refer to as “metaphysical violence,” that is often overlooked, yet prevalent, in what many people in the United States understand as normal childbirth practices and protocols. In this essay, I will use María Lugones’s Pilgramages/Peregrinajes to offer a detailed account of what constitutes metaphysical violence, how it functions, and why it is so damaging to at least 9% of post-partum women who meet the criteria for PTSD and the 18% of post-partum women who show some sign of the disorder. Then, I will offer suggestions for how we can help women who may be victims of metaphysical violence during birth avoid some of the trauma it so often induces.
Keywords Continental Philosophy  Language and Literature
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DOI 10.5840/jh20191711
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