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Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhoodby Naomi Wolf
Synopses & Reviews
Whether it is in-vitro fertilization, sperm injection, surrogacy, cryopreservation, or intrauterine insemination, assisted reproductive technology (ART) has revolutionized our understanding of pregnancy, birth, infertility, and womens bodies. Viewed by some as a technological quick-fix for infertility, ARTs create both challenges and opportunities, and responses to them have sought to balance questions of ethics, rights, and politics. With essays by eminent academics and activists, Reconfiguring Reproduction examines the ART industry by bringing a feminist health lens to bear on the experiences of women in countries such as Korea, Canada, the United States, Israel, Australia, India, and others.
In essays focused on the expansion of the industry, the gendered nature of the burden and treatment of infertility, the destabilization of the family as we know it, and feminist debates around surrogacy that reassess ideas of agency and commodification, Reconfiguring Reproduction charts a fast-changing and highly politically charged area, where commerce, medical technology, ethics, and ideology intersect.
"Thankfully, Wolf offers a few rays of hope by unveiling some women's positive experiences with emerging alternative-childbirth options. Expect controversy but also expect demand." Mary Frances Wilkens, Booklist
"This work is so unoriginal in its social critique and so limited in its portrayal of the hardships endured by mothers and children and families in this country that it comes across as a weirdly out-of-touch bid for personal attention rather than a genuine expose. It is likely to alienate all but the newest and most sheltered mothers." Publishers Weekly
"Misconceptions documents a...subtle psychological journey....Wolf?s description of her own anguish and uncertainty can be as nuanced as good fiction." The New York Times Book Review
"Essential reading." Elle
"The most shocking element of Wolf's memoir of her pregnancy is how little this professional feminist knows about the conditions of most women's lives....Perhaps despite its intent, the book demonstrates the limits of yuppie feminism by charting Wolf's slow recognition that even her lifelong privilege cannot mitigate the systemic cultural and economic devaluation of motherhood." Stephanie Foote, Book Magazine
"Women like Wolf — independent, educated, and convinced of their uniqueness — who are facing pregnancy and motherhood, will find this information compelling, even a little frightening, but closer to the truth than most of the sugar-coated advice books for expectant mothers." Kirkus Reviews
"By laying bare one truth after the next — emotional, spiritual, psychological, pragmatic — this invaluable book gives women and their partners the information they so desperately need to make it through intact." Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon
"Combines intimate experience and expose reporting....Everyone who is giving birth or getting health care should read this book." Gloria Steinem
In The Beauty Myth the fearless Naomi Wolf revolutionized the way we think about beauty. In Misconceptions, she demythologizes motherhood and reveals the dangers of common assumptions about childbirth. With uncompromising honesty she describes how hormones eroded her sense of independence, ultrasounds tested her commitment to abortion rights, and the keepers of the OB/GYN establishment lacked compassion. The weeks after her first daughter's birth taught her how society, employers, and even husbands can manipulate new mothers. She had bewildering post partum depression, but learned that a surprisingly high.percentage of women experience it.
Wolf's courageous willingness to talk about the unexpected difficulties of childbirth will help every woman become a more knowledgeable planner of her pregnancy and better prepare her for the challenges of balancing a career, freedom, and a growing family. Invaluable in its advice to parents, Misconceptions speaks to anyone connected-personally, medically, or professionally-to a new mother.
“Taking care of our women and children builds not just a generation but the nation itself,” writes the Indian film star Shabana Azmi in her introduction to this unique volume. “We neglect mothers at our own peril, at the peril of society. If we are to lead as a nation, we must put our women and children first.”
Of Mothers and Others takes a step toward the fulfillment of this goal. A thought-provoking collection of stories, essays, and poems by a wide range of Indian writers, it challenges cozy assumptions about motherhood to reveal messy but affirming truths about this vital role and the way we experience it. These works portray motherhood from a variety of perspectives, illuminating its difficult, funny, and tender moments while addressing such topics as single motherhood, adopted children, surrogacy, bereavement, special needs children, grandmothers, and reluctant mothers. Motherhood emerges as far more than a state of being: It has profound implications, the contributors show, for personal identity, one’s place in society, and the very nature of the self.
About the Author
Naomi Wolf is the author of the best-selling The Beauty Myth, which helped to launch a new wave of feminism in the early 1990s and was named one of the most significant books of the twentieth century by The New York Times. More recently she has authored Fire with Fire and Promiscuities. She lives in New York City with her family.
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