Blessed Events: Religion and Home Birth in America - Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology 11 by Pamela E. Klassen
Congenial events explore how women who give birth at home use religion to understand their birth, and rely on their experiences of childbirth to make sense of their lives and…
Blessed Events synopsis
Congenial events explore how women who give birth at home use religion to understand their birth, and rely on their experiences of childbirth to make sense of their lives and their families. Pamela Claasin offers a surprising variety of women, in their own words, with their birth stories in wider social, political and economic contexts.
Thus, he goes on to study the breakdown of traditional views of birth and religion by blurring the supposed divisions between provincial and feminist women and by taking birth seriously as a religious act. Most American women have the option to give birth in hospital and seek treatment for pain.
However, enough women choose and support the uninhabited birth at home - and do so for carefully articulated reasons, the social resistance between them - to form a movement. Klassen investigates the reasons why women belonging to their religious affiliations range from the Amish sect of the old system to reformist Judaism to god-centered spirituality that defies majority opinion and the medical establishment and sometimes the law to breastfeed their children at home.
When considering their interpretations - including their criticism of the dominant medical model of birth and their views on labor pains - the types of agencies granted or deprived of women are studied because they derive religious meanings from birth. Throughout, it identifies the tensions and linkages between feminist and traditional evaluations of the symbolic meaning of birth and the power of women. What does it mean to be born at home - a women-centered movement that works to restore childbirth to women's control - in practice for the gender and religious identities of women? Is this ultimate assessment of childbearing and motherhood restricted, or does it open up new worlds of women's cultural and social power? By asking these questions while remaining aware of the importance of religion,Blessed Events challenges both feminist and traditional narratives about pregnancy, while expanding our understanding of how to "live religion" in contemporary America..