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Misconceptions: Truth, Lies and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood [Kindle Edition]

Naomi Wolf
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Every year, millions of women have their lives turned inside out by the experience of pregnancy. A contemporary woman find herself caught in an absurd paradox: while in the grip of one of the most primal, lonely, sensual and, in some ways, psychologically debilitating and physically dangerous experiences, she is overwhelmed by invasive, trivialising and infantilising cultural messages about what is happening to her - and who really owns the experience.

Product Description


"Wolf's many bold demands... give us pause and present challenges: society should restructure itself to accommodate babies" (Guardian)

"Wolf's polemic is as clear and sure as ever" (Observer)

"Misconceptions reminds us that pregnancy and birth are still swaddled in layers of illusion, that our society remains criminally hypocritical toward mothers... Naomi Wolf goes much deeper here than she ever has before. She strips bare the mind of the pregnant woman and new mother with dazzling courage" (Erica Jong)

"Fiercely confident and uncompromising" (Publishers Weekly)

Book Description

The bestselling author of The Beauty Myth uses the personal to explore the 'birth myth', the culture and practices of pregnancy and childbirth, with ferocity and passion.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 471 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0099274167
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (8 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052Z3FHS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #247,380 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing 20 Feb. 2007
I loved this book. Such a refreshing change to the other books on pregnancy that either create slapstick out of pregnancy, portraying all mothers-to-be as neurotic hormone-fuelled headcases or else, harp on about the wonders of pregnancy where every niggling 'symptom' can be cured by taking a bath or 'putting your feet up'.

This book is an intelligent and intellectual probing of the changing identity of the pregnant woman and society's reaction to her and is not afraid to broach all the glossed-over taboos such as the real pain of childbirth, the meaning of medical interventions and the alternative points of view that can be adopted when planning a birth.

The use of quotes from other women helps keep the pace and holds interest and Wolf's prose, on occasion, is quite, quite beautiful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was loaned this book by a midwife friend of mine and have since bought five copies for friends who are expecting. I think that it's more vital for American readers because the hospital pregnancy and childbirth experience is far worse than it is in Europe.
Having said that, there is so much that expectant parents the world-over aren't informed about, from the safety and options relating to home and hospital births, to what to expect as new parents. It's not a fluffy book that will tell you "You go to the hospital and lie down, while we take all your pain away. THEN, you have a beautiful baby which you'll instantly fall in love with" happy ending happy ending....
It's a true, sometimes brutal, very well-researched book about what you really can expect when you're expecting. You come away with a good knowledge about what your and your baby's rights are, How to go about having the birth experience that is right for you AND, what to expect from yourself, your baby, your partner, friends, the medical community and so on after the baby comes along.

I really do believe every expectant parent should read this book, home birth, hospital birth or somewhere in between.
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Format:Kindle Edition
....for the most part, complaining about things that are normal for new parents (tiredness, soreness, hormonal changes, loss of identity etc). I think the most important part of this book is the lack of childcare, maternity leave, financial support and postnatal care for new parents in America. I found the accounts quite shocking.

My own birth experience was highly positive (elective c-section, due to the fact that my son was breech and even when they tried to turn him, he refused to move, the awkward sod!), with caring midwives, before, during and after the birth. My antenatal midwife, I only saw about 3 times as the pregnancy was healthy, and despite the fact that I have several severe health conditions, she never treated me as an invalid, and let me make decisions based on how I felt. She was quite pleased when, despite the "breast is best" campaign here in the UK, I said that I was going to give it a go but I wasn`t overly bothered if myself or the baby didn`t take to it. This was because the decision I made was fully informed, and I was relaxed about it, so the baby wasn`t getting stressed either. I also worked until I was 39 weeks pregnant in my capacity as a hands on manager in a busy pub/club, so was on my feet for 12 hours a shift, the cleaning the whole place by myself, including emptying heavy bottle bins (I was pregnant, not ill!). I also knew I had up to 9 months maternity leave, where my pay would be 90% of my normal pay for the first six weeks, then approx £123 a week for the remainder of my leave (however, my boss paid me my full wages for the whole time I was off, and I went back to work after 4 months, due to severe postnatal depression, brought on by being stuck at home with a baby).
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Daisy
To me this book read like a long whinge about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, from someone who's life beforehand had pehaps been just a little too easy and comfortable, who didn't enjoy the hard work and weight gain (in her case) associated with childbirth. The author came across as melodramatic and spoilt, she appeared to be actively searching her experiences for any slight insult or difficulty to include in this long complaint of a book.

It was quite clear that having written the book entirely from an American perspective, her publishers suggested that she tack on a few token bits about maternity rights and childbirth in the UK and a couple of interviews with (educated, successful, middle class) British women so the book could be marketed over here.

There are genuine gripes, like over medicalised births in the US & many other western countries. Undoubtedly the transition to motherhood is a difficult one for many, however many of the concerns listed in this book could only be the preserve of wealthy and priviledged minority.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the most positive spin... 18 Jun. 2004
By Megami - Published on
I read this book when about five months pregnant. Admittedly, with Naomi Wolf you know that you are not going to get the most positive spin on the situation at hand, but I found this to be a really odd book. What I was looking forward to was a well written account of both the positives and negatives of the motherhood experience. What I got was a very negative take on a situation familiar to many women. It is almost that Wolf went looking for every negative aspect of pregnancy and found it. Admittedly, having nine months of morning sickness is not great. But I feel that she over exaggerates in so many areas.
For example, she goes on about how pregnancy and birth is always presented as a positive experience, with no warning of the not-so-great bits. I am not sure what she has been reading or who she has been speaking to - there is a lot of information out there about the not-so-great things that happen to your body, and your mental state. She acts as though she is a passive, put upon participant in her pregnancy, which just doesn't ring true - as a highly educated woman who has spent her professional life as an advocate, why can't she take control of her situation like so many other women seem to manage?
The final loss of credibility is the complaining about her impersonal obstetrics experiences, compared to the more `natural' way of doing things. Two points - she is wealthy enough to have made a choice here, why didn't she? And secondly, it is the modern, impersonal medical care which potentially saved her and her baby's life.
Being a mother can be hard. But we all have choices. Admittedly, I am not going through the American system, so perhaps things are a little different. But I did not find this book helpful at all - it seemed the author had already made her mind up what the results would be and skewed everything to fit a certain viewpoint that I could not relate to. Of interest to women's studies scholars perhaps, but for the expectant mother, this book doesn't really have much to add.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OPEN YOUR EYES 19 Sept. 2007
By JB_1969 - Published on
If you're pregnant and don't care if your ob/gyn pumps you full of meds and performs an episiotomy on you and/or a c-section in order to better fit your baby's birth into his busy schedule, then don't read this book. My wife is probably as far from being a rabid feminist as a person can be. But she does happen to have this wacky idea that giving birth ought to be something a woman can do without a whole lot of unnecessary medical interventions, if she wants to. My wife has given birth naturally to all 3 of our kids -- no problems whatsoever for either mom or babies. And every time she's had to fight off the ob/gyn's suggested interventions. Interventions she might not have been able to argue against had she not read Naomi's book and other resources and educated herself about the American medical establishment's typical ob/gyn practices. To blow off this book as a lot of feminist hooey is akin to plugging your ears, covering your eyes and ranting NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA...I CAN'T HEAR YOU! Read this book, get informed and then make up your own mind as to how you want to approach your own berthing experience.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book! 28 Mar. 2013
By Elena - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. As always, Naomi is engaging and makes some very powerful arguments.
Personally, I completely disagreed with the section of her book relating to birth, however found her examination of the changes in a couple's relationship dynamic and women's role in society post birth to be very interesting and very much reflecting the experience of me and my circle of friends.
For me, the greatest value of the book was in Naomi's examination of the changes in her own perceptions and attitudes when she got pregnant-very honest account of her experience.
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