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Lecture 24 Transition to Parenthood.docx

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McMaster University
Sandra Colavecchia

1 Sociology 2U06: Family Sociology January 9 2012 Lecture 24: Transition to Parenthood Readings: - Medicalized childbirth by Fox and Worts - Postpartum depression by Rosenburg (“Motherwork Stress”ch 20) - New Parents by Fox (“When the Baby comes homd”ch 19) - New Parents by Walzer Topics covered by sociological research on this issue: - Relations between women and medical professionals, and their (usually male) partners and with the larger society during transition to motherhood - Lot of emphasis on social support o Important in labour and delivery - Post-partum depression - Gender differences in the transition to parenthood - Social organization of mothering Worts and Fox: Medicalized Childbirth (Women in T.O in the 90s) - Women giving birth in hospitals under the care of a physician - Often with medical intervention: pain meds, surgical intervention - Feminist critique of medicalized childbirth: o Loss of control for women  Loss of control over their bodies, over their right to choose  Alienates women from something that should be an empowering experience  Define childbirth in a very medical way – medical condition which is hazardous  Even though it is a natural process which didn’t require medical intervention always and doesn’t in other parts of the world o Women’s emotional well-being overlooked  Should be holistic  Western medicine undermines the idea that having a baby involves all facets of a woman  Shifts away from the overall wellbeing of the mother to the wellbeing of the unborn baby  Measured in terms of the health of the baby  Women’s well-being comes less important o Medical interventions carry unnecessary risks  Women AND babies exposed to unnecessary risks – including unnecessary c- sections 2  Also post-partum depression – argument that the more medical intervention you get, the more likely you are to experience post-partum depression o Women will be more empowered without medical intervention o Emily Martin: describes childbirth in a medicized context  Social relations in childbirth btw a women and her doctors parallels the social relations of capitalism – women as the unskilled workers or machines, doctors as the managers - Fox and Worts’ Study: o Medical intervention doesn’t neccesarily lead to women feeling less empowered o Feminist critique is inadequate o What factors are important?  Amount of social support they receive  Whether they evaluated childbirth as POS or NEG experience was directly affected by the quality of support they got at the delivery and after going home o Is babycare shared with partners and/or others?  Support that these women received during labour and at home was essential and helped to explain how they evaluated hospital experience and their likliehood of saying YES or No to drugs like pain meds o Strong social support from partner/others meant women were more likely to resist medical intervention o Those with strong support who did request pain asked for in later in their labours  Weak or no social support meant women found medical intervention acceptable or even desirable  Medical intervention would allow themto get the rest they needed in order to be rested to take care of baby at home on their own o Soc
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