Birth Story

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    This is a creative document: a birth story of my fourth son James Benjamin, both presented through medical notes and through my own personal narrative. Two narratives are juxtaposed and allow the reader to feel the gap between the medical and personal. Whilst the medical narrative contains the hospital notes written up by the midwife who delivered the baby and the postnatal team at Liverpool Women's Hospital, the personal birth story aims to provide an alternative (more graphic) birth narrative, which is not scared to speak frankly about the visceral and uncomfortable which birth brings. Such a birth story undermines the myth of a perfect birth and painless successful breastfeeding and exposes the impossible expectations of early motherhood in its frank address, both in words and images. The birth story comes in two voices: the one that remembers the recent past, the birth event, and the one which is preoccupied with the present, the newborn baby here/now. Eventually, towards the end, the two voices merge. The supporting images are of objects associated with the medicalisation of childbirth, not snaps of the sweet newborn. The photographed objects are connected with certain body parts (tube is placed into the patient's hand, blanket is covering patient's legs, blooded pads are evidence of recent birthing event, the lanolin cream and the bottle represent a struggle with breastfeeding).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-30
    JournalPerformance Research
    Issue number4
    Early online date26 Sept 2014
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Sept 2014


    • maternal
    • birth
    • story
    • feminism


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