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Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhoodby Naomi Wolf
Synopses & Reviews
Not since The Beauty Myth has Naomi Wolf written such a powerful and passionate critique of American culture, this time focusing on the hidden costs and vested interests surrounding pregnancy and birth in America.
While in the grip of one of the most primal, lonely, sensual, and in the same ways, physically dangerous experiences they are likely to undergo, American women, Wolf argues, are offered condescending advice anddamaging misconceptions about the nature of pregnancy, birth and newmotherhood.
Wolf's own first experience with pregnancy and motherhood took heraback, profoundly challenging her most basic assumptions about feminism, the nuances of abortion, and the easy expectations of freedom andequality that women of her generation hold.
In a narrative that follows the nine months of pregnancy and thefirst few months of early parenthood, Misconceptions illuminatesthe conflicting feelings of inadequacy, fragility, and even anger thatso many women experience along with their sense of anticipation and joy.So often these feelings go unvoiced because of women's fears of beingseen as a bad mother.
Wolf describes her own difficult path to first-time motherhood, andin doing so, criticizes the failure of the medical establishment toprovide pregnant women with a safe, effective, and emotionally supportive environment in which to labor. She shares riveting stories of postpartum disillusionment, as well as discloses the relationship struggles that even the most committed of couples fall into when faced with the demands of new parenthood.
In a dramatic interweaving of personal revelations and socialcommentary, Wolf shows that despite its much-touted reverence forfamilies, American businesses and society make few concessions to theemotional and economic needs of new parents and, in fact, placeextraordinary pressures on them.
Her conclusions, delivered with unflinching honesty, provide atelling and candid account of the journey to motherhood in Americatoday.
Misconceptions is sure to spark intense debate over the mythsand expectations that underlie contemporary pregnancy and birth, as wellas about how we can better offer mothers what they truly need.
Ultimately, Misconceptions offers the possibility of a freer, more compassionate road to parenthood for women and men
PEGGY ORENSTEIN, AUTHOR OF FLUX
Misconceptions documents a... subtle psychologicaljourney.... Wolf's description of her own anguish and uncertainty can beas nuanced as good fiction.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
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.
"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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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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Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Mothering