Drawing on a richly diverse collection of more than 130 interviews, this book brings to life the nagging question of just who is having this baby, anyway? Though the birthing process is framed and handled differently from country to country, even from region to region, in America the prevailing norm situates birth in hospitals, managed by doctors and nurses who rely on a variety of technologies to assist them. Medical institution, rather than women, control the birth experience.
In Who's Having This Baby? five authors use multidisciplinary approaches to examine verbal birthing narratives. A rhetorician investigates power relations among all people involved in the birthing process. A historian exposes the history of how women's bodies have been viewed and scripted according to the logic of an assembly line. A literary scholar explores the cultural losses caused by women's silence on what it means to give birth. A scholar discusses the colonization practiced on Native American women's bodies when their birthing practices are divorced from their culture. Finally, a midwife discusses how incorporating women as partners rather than patients in the birthing process leads to significantly better outcomes for women during the birth experience.
In its conclusion, this work argues that women should become active participants in their own birthing experiences, and that caregiving systems should change to accommodate women during birth.