Tag: Pregnancy

Making Maternal Labor Visible

Popular culture tells us many things about Americans. We watch stories of made-up families and binge shows that fictionalize real-life situations. We know that television shows do not depict the realities of our lives; onscreen, we see the best edits, the reflection of life with the challenges often glossed over or removed. Television shows have… Read more →

“Discharged Well”: or, How I Learned to Feel in the Archive

This story begins in the fall of 2007. I was on my first research trip to look through various records at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard. I was a baby researcher, fresh from defending my prospectus and high with the achievement of receiving a research fellowship. But I was also severely insecure. As… Read more →

An Untold Story: Black Maternal Mortality in the United States

In April 2016, Kira Johnson, 39, and her husband were excited to bring their second child into the world. After delivering via C-section, her husband noticed something wrong. He alerted the medical staff that there was blood in Kira’s catheter. While the staff promised to immediately do blood work and order a CT scan, it… Read more →

Seeing Pregnant People: History, Empathy, and Reproductive Politics

On November 22, 1863, New Yorker Charles F. Robertson testified in a deposition that, “About two months ago [his wife Letitia] suspected that she was in the family way and seemed almost crazy at the idea, and commenced taking medicine to bring on an abortion. She took blood root, tanzy, &c., and on the night… Read more →

Surrender, Discovery, and Recovery: The Many Meanings of Adoption

To write about mid-twentieth century adoption practices in the United States is to position oneself at the heart of dozens of competing narratives. As explored in other texts such as Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade, to… Read more →

Pregnancy and Miscarriage on Social Media: New Metaphors to Make Miscarriages Easier to Talk About, and Easier to Bear

For someone who has been trying for a pregnancy, it is naturally tempting to want to share the exciting and potentially life-changing news of a positive home pregnancy test. Common wisdom has been to keep it secret, though, until the end of the first trimester, once miscarriage is less likely. After all, if you’ve taken… Read more →

Motherhood, Undone: A Review of Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women by Lyz Lenz

One evening in early April, after yet another day of sending my toddler daughter to “Frozen school” while I attempted to work from home, I found myself in the woodshed, chucking pieces of firewood into the wall. I had wandered through to put the dogs out and when a few pieces fell dangerously close to… Read more →

Talking Back to the NIH

In January 2018, Serena Williams went public about how she almost died after giving birth to her daughter. Williams has a history of blood clots, and when she recognized the signs of a clot after her C-section, she walked up to her nurse and asked for exactly what she needed. But as she tells it,… Read more →

What to Expect When You’re Expiring: Pregnancy and Death in Seventeenth-Century England

On October 12, 1622, a 26-year-old English woman named Elizabeth Jocelin gave birth to her first child, a baby girl. Nine days later, she died of puerperal fever, an infection of the genital tract — most likely from bacteria accidentally introduced by a birthing attendant during labor — that can cause fatal sepsis in postpartum… Read more →

¡Escúchanos! Immigration and Reproductive Politics

Two years ago, the case of a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant catalyzed the creation of a class action suit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Jane Doe, the name given to maintain her anonymity and safety as a pregnant minor, and her story of struggle and success captivated… Read more →