Our Bodies, Our Babies: The Forgotten Women's Movement
1 Jan 1997
Melbourne University Press
This is a wonderful book ...read it and consider what has been won, and how much more needs to be won, in the childbirth revolution! Barbara Katz Rothman, City University of New York Kerreen Reiger is absolutely right to see the childbirth movement as the forgotten women's movement, and the great pleasure of this book is to find in every chapter the right questions being asked. Janet McCalman, University of Melbourne For most of the twentieth century, childbirth and the care of mothers and babies in Western countries was controlled by doctors and a hospital system headed by men. In Our Bodies, Our Babies, Kerreen Reiger traces the struggle of Australian women and others to change approaches to childbirth, to claim their right to choices in childbirth, and to educate themselves about birth and breastfeeding. She explores the movement which radically changed our maternity care practices, allowing fathers to participate in the birth of their children and babies to 'room-in' with their mothers. This absorbing story draws on interviews with mothers, midwives and doctors, and on archival material from relevant women's organisations. It shows how the childbirth and breastfeeding movements are relevant to feminism and women's rights. Much has been achieved, but Reiger sees a need for still more political action. Any woman who has given birth, and anyone who has cared for mothers and babies, will want to read this book.