Three Mothers, Nine Months, and Pregnancy in America
In the tradition of Random Family and Evicted, a gripping blend of rigorous, intimate on-the-ground reporting and deep social history that follows three first-time mothers as they experience pregnancy and childbirth in today’s America. In Birth, journalist Rebecca Grant provides us with a never-before-seen look at the changing landscape of pregnancy and childbirth in America—and the rise of midwifery—told through the eyes of three women who all pass through the doors of the same birth center in Portland, Oregon. There’s Alison, a teacher whose long path to a healthy pregnancy has led her to question a traditional hospital birth; T’Nika, herself born with the help of a midwife and now a nurse hoping to work in Labor & Delivery and improve equality in healthcare; and Jillian, an office manager and aspiring midwife who works at Andaluz Birth Center, excited for a new beginning, but anxious about how bringing a new life into the world might mean the deferral of her own dreams. In remarkable detail and with great compassion, Grant recounts the ups downs, fears, joys, and everyday moments of each woman’s pregnancy and postpartum journey, offering a rare look into their inner lives, perspectives, and choices in real time—and addresses larger issues facing the entire nation, from discrimination in medicine and treatment (both gender and race-based) to fertility, family planning, complicated feelings about motherhood and career, and the stigmas of miscarriage and postpartum blues. The result is an inspiring and illuminating look at one of life’s most profound rites of passage.