Publisher description for Misconceptions : truth, lies, and the unexpected on the journey to motherhood / Naomi Wolf.

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Not since The Beauty Myth has Naomi Wolf written such a powerful and passionate critique of American culture, this time, focusing on the hidden costs and vested interests surrounding pregnancy and birth in America.

While in the grip of one of the most primal, lonely, sensual and in the same ways, physically dangerous experiences they are likely to undergo, American women, Wolf argues, are offered condescending advice and damaging misconceptions about the nature of pregnancy, birth and new motherhood.

Wolf’s own first experience with pregnancy and motherhood took her aback, profoundly challenging her most basic assumptions about feminism, the nuances of abortion, and the easy expectations of freedom and equality that women of her generation hold.

In a narrative that follows the nine months of pregnancy and the first few months of early parenthood, Misconceptions illuminates the conflicting feelings of inadequacy, fragility, and even anger that so many women experience along with their sense of anticipation and joy. So often these feelings go unvoiced because of women’s fears of being seen as a “bad” mother. Wolf describes her own difficult path to first-time motherhood, and in doing so, criticizes the failure of the medical establishment to provide pregnant women with a safe, effective, and emotionally-supportive environment in which to labor. She shares riveting stories of postpartum disillusionment, as well as discloses the relationship struggles that even the most committed of couples fall into when faced with the demands of new parenthood.

In a dramatic interweaving of personal revelations and social commentary, Wolf shows that despite its much-touted reverence for families, American businesses and society make few concessions to the emotional and economic needs of new parents and, in fact, place extraordinary pressures on them.

Her conclusions, delivered with unflinching honesty, provide a telling and candid account of the journey to motherhood in America today.

Misconceptions is sure to spark intense debate over the myths and expectations that underlie contemporary pregnancy and birth, as well as about how we can better offer mothers what they truly need.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Pregnancy Psychological aspects, Motherhood Psychological aspects, Motherhood Social aspects, Childbirth Psychological aspects, First pregnancy