The Culture of Natural Birth : Existentialism, Embodiment and Empowerment
Wilson, Krystal A.
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While the natural birth movement in America is on the rise it is under-theorized and under-researched. The prevalence of medicalized birth marginalizes alternatives and dictates birth experiences among women, denying the empowering nature of childbirth and the capabilities of the female body. The outcome of this issue leads to question why some women are deciding to birth outside of hospitals. I conducted interviews and observations at The Community Birth Center in Los Angeles where women discuss their natural birth journeys and midwives discuss their model of care. Results show that agency and the reclaiming of women's bodies takes place through the experience of natural childbirth. I argue that natural childbirth represents an embodied experience that also redefines motherhood and womanhood. In addition, the relationship between the midwife and client and the agency midwives foster in their clients creates a community sphere of empowerment.