Birthing fathers : the transformation of men in American rites of birth /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Reed, Richard K., 1954-
Imprint:New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, ©2005.
Description:1 online resource (ix, 259 pages)
Subject:Childbirth -- Social aspects -- United States.
Birth customs -- United States.
Labor (Obstetrics) -- United States.
Natural childbirth -- United States.
Fatherhood -- United States.
Fathers -- United States -- Psychology.
Fathers -- United States -- Attitudes.
Men -- United States -- Attitudes.
Father and infant.
Labor, Obstetric -- United States.
Anthropology, Cultural -- United States.
Delivery, Obstetric -- United States.
Fathers -- psychology -- United States.
Sociology -- United States.
Naissance -- Aspect social -- États-Unis.
Naissance -- Rites et coutumes -- États-Unis.
Accouchement -- États-Unis.
Accouchement naturel -- États-Unis.
Paternité -- États-Unis.
Pères -- États-Unis -- Psychologie.
Pères -- États-Unis -- Attitudes.
Hommes -- États-Unis -- Attitudes.
Père et nourrisson.
MEDICAL -- Gynecology & Obstetrics.
Birth customs.
Childbirth -- Social aspects.
Father and infant.
Fathers -- Attitudes.
Fathers -- Psychology.
Labor (Obstetrics)
Men -- Attitudes.
Natural childbirth.
United States.
Electronic books.
Electronic books.
Format: E-Resource Book
URL for this record:
Hidden Bibliographic Details
Digital file characteristics:data file
Notes:Includes bibliographical references (pages 247-255) and index.
Print version record.
Summary:In the past two decades, men have gone from being excluded from the delivery room to being admitted, then invited, and, finally, expected to participate actively in the birth of their children. No longer mere observers, fathers attend baby showers, go to birthing classes, and share in the intimate, everyday details of their partners' pregnancies. In this unique study, Richard Reed draws on the feminist critique of professionalized medical birthing to argue that the clinical nature of medical intervention distances fathers from child delivery. He explores men's roles in childbirth and the ways in which birth transforms a man's identity and his relations with his partner, his new baby, and society. In other societies, birth is recognized as an important rite of passage for fathers. Yet, in American culture, despite the fact that fathers are admitted into delivery rooms, little attention is given to their transition to fatherhood. The book concludes with an exploration of what men's roles in childbirth tell us about gender and American society. Reed suggests that it is no coincidence that men's participation in the birthing process developed in parallel to changing definitions of fatherhood more broadly. Over the past twenty years, it has become expected that fathers, in addition to being strong and dependable, will be empathetic and nurturing. Well-researched, candidly written, and enriched with personal accounts of over fifty men from all parts of the world, this book is as much about the birth of fathers as it is about fathers in birth.
Other form:Print version: Reed, Richard K., 1954- Birthing fathers. New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, ©2005 0813535166 0813535174
Review by Choice Review

Reed (Trinity Univ.) presents a well-researched sociological analysis of men's historical and culturally defined roles in the birthing process. This is a largely overlooked area in gender and men's studies, yet one that is important for shedding insight on the socially constructed meanings of fatherhood and, more generally, masculinity. The author presents cross-cultural research findings, especially from anthropological accounts of South American indigenous birthing rituals, and traces in detail the evolution of men's involvement in the birthing process throughout US history. Perhaps the most compelling part of the book is the last half, in which Reed presents his findings on the contemporary experience of middle-class US men and how the birthing process transforms male identity and men's relationships with their partners. This vivid account of the transition to fatherhood is based on interviews with over 50 men and provides detailed, illustrative case studies of five men going through the experience. The result is a well-written cross-cultural, historical, and ethnographic chronicle of fatherhood and manhood in the making. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. R. Mitrano Central Connecticut State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review