This paper focuses on the topic of childbirth, exploring the history of its marginalization within the humanities. This history becomes particularly salient when we compare academic research on birth to that on death. This paper demonstrates that ignoring birth on an intellectual level contributes to diminishing the topic more broadly on the cultural level, and this has real-world implications for how our societies treat children, women, and families.
In the 20th century, it is likely that more people had the experience of birth than in all previous centuries combined: Most of the people who have ever lived are alive today. The current rate [in 1994] is almost 10,000 births per hour. In any given nine-month period, there are about 180 million expectant parents going through a unique life-changing experience. Research and therapy focused on the prenatal and perinatal period confirms that pregnancy and birth are formative experiences for both babies and parents.
This study explored women’s trust-based and fear-based beliefs about birth. It asked: Do women trust their bodies’ innate intelligence to give birth, or does fear override trust? The study sought to understand whether beliefs, fears, and trust associate with birth experiences and birth outcomes. Data were collected by way of a qualitative, cross-sectional survey distributed to Georgian Court University faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as to women undergoing HypnoBirthing, home birthing, and water birthing.