OURSELVES AS MOTHERS by Sheila Kitzinger


The Universal Experience of Motherhood
Email this review


 Anthropologist Kitzinger's (Women as Mothers, 1979) dreary picture of the current state of motherhood in the West leaves one wondering why anyone bothers anymore. New mothers, she says, are devalued by society and perhaps by themselves, prey to the exhortations of the medical establishment and so-called parenting experts, and plied by the media with images of unattainably perfect motherhood. She contrasts the West, where medicalized birth is ``depersonalized,'' with traditional cultures, where childbirth remains a ``social act.'' No doubt a society, such as ours, that still views motherhood as a deviation from the norm needs some attitude adjustment. But the question still seems open as to whether a woman would rather have prenatal care in the form of regular, if alienating visits to the obstetrician or in the form of exhortations, made to Jamaican women, not to drink soursop juice to avoid excessive labor pain. Kitzinger provides an unusual and enlightening tour of mothering practices around the world, from India to Zambia, Israel, and China. She is suggesting that we combine the best of mothering traditions from pre-and post- industrial societies--but how to accomplish it must be the subject of another book.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-201-40776-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994