Birth: Three Mothers, Nine Months, and Pregnancy in America (Hardcover)
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“An important book...Grant is a good storyteller, subtle and compassionate.” —The New York Times Book Review
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.
About the Author
Rebecca Grant is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon, who covers reproductive rights, health, and justice. Her work has appeared in NPR, The Atlantic, VICE, The Nation, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, HuffPost, and The Guardian, among other publications. She has received grants and fellowships from the International Women’s Media Foundation, the International Reporting Project, and The Investigative Fund, reporting stories around the US and the world. Rebecca studied English and art history at Cornell University and served in the Peace Corps in Thailand. Before full-time freelancing, she worked at Washingtonian Magazine and wrote about startups in San Francisco.
“An important book . . . Grant is a good storyteller, subtle and compassionate.”
— The New York Times Book Review
“A much-needed perspective on childbirth.”
— Porchlight, Editor's Choice
“A significant and compelling sociological investigation."
— Kirkus Reviews
“An enlightening and accessible portrait of maternal healthcare in America."
— Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
“As we navigate an endless number of crises, Rebecca Grant’s thorough reporting about one such issue—reproductive health in all its facets—is lighting a pathway forward. Birth is a testament to Grant’s impeccable reporting and storytelling skills, pulling back the curtain on pregnancy in America while also pushing us to understand what the stakes are and what it will take to move forward. Birth is the kind of book that should be on the shelves of every obstetrician and gynecologist in a country where giving birth is as dangerous as it has ever been.”
— Evette Dionne, author of Weightless
"A true feat of intimate, illuminating reporting, Birth is a profound examination of the deeply personal and structural forces that shape life-defining choices, experiences, dreams, and futures."
— Rainesford Stauffer, author of An Ordinary Age and All the Gold Stars
“Grant captures the inherent drama of giving birth with keen insights into the social and political forces that shape pregnancy and motherhood in America. A must-read for anyone who has been born!”
— Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, author of The Cosmopolites