Birth Work as Care Work
Birth Work as Care Work

Birth Work as Care Work

Stories from Activist Birth Communities

By Alana Apfel, Introduction by Silvia Federici, Preface By Victoria Law, Foreword by Loretta J. Ross

KAIROS

HEALTH & FITNESS

152 Pages, 5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket

Trade Paper, $14.95 (US $14.95) (CA $17.95)

Publication Date: May 2016

ISBN 9781629631516

Rights: WOR X UK & EUR

PM Press (May 2016)

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Overview

Birth Work as Care Work presents a vibrant collection of stories and insights from the front lines of birth activist communities. The personal has once more becomes political, and birth workers, supporters, and doulas now find themselves at the fore of collective struggles for freedom and dignity. Articulating a politics of care work in and through the reproductive process, the book brings diverse voices into conversation to explore multiple possibilities and avenues for change. At a moment when agency over our childbirth experiences is increasingly centralized in the hands of professional elites, Birth Work as Care Work presents creative new ways to reimagine the trajectory of our reproductive processes. Most importantly, the contributors present new ways of thinking about the entire life cycle, providing a unique and creative entry point into the essence of all human struggle—the struggle over the reproduction of life itself.

Reviews

"I love this book, all of it. The polished essays and the interviews with birth workers dare to take on the deepest questions of human existence." —Carol Downer, cofounder, Feminist Women's Heath Centers of California; author, A Woman's Book of Choices

"This volume provides theoretically rich, practical tools for birth and other care workers to collectively and effectively fight capitalism and the many intersecting processes of oppression that accompany it. Birth Work as Care Work forcefully and joyfully reminds us that the personal is political, a lesson we need now more than ever." —Adrienne Pine, author, Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras

"All we are doing in this world is living and dying, creating and destroying. We generate new life in our children and in our ideas. Becoming a birth supporter, getting to be an attendant to the miracle of childbirth, has transformed my social justice work. Our visions for justice are what we are birthing in this world. Learning to listen, learning to trust the body and the people, and learning to breath will transform our movement work. Birth Work as Care Work demonstrates these lessons through showing us ways we can learn together to support the birth of new worlds." —Adrienne Brown, coeditor, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

"This book places the doula—as a caring birth activist—at the heart of reproductive care work in our modern society. Doula, a new name for an ancient traditional role, reappears today as women daring to reclaim their power through birthing and caring for their children." —Valérie Dupin, cofounder and cochair, Association Doulas de France

"Alana Apfel is an artist and a robust one. Weaving the logic behind birth, care, and reproduction together, Birth Work as Care Work documents how caregivers and communities are marginalised in society on a daily basis whilst working to sustain themselves and ironically, to sustain life itself. Her thesis seeks to put the human back into being." —Chitra Subramaniam, Editor-in Chief, The News Minute

"Apfel hits that mark in this anthology, with a call to action and a commitment to birth justice for all birthing people." —Angela Anderson, Squat Birth Journal

Author Biography

Alana Apfel holds graduate degrees in anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and the University of Edinburgh. Alana teaches on ways to radicalise birth work and continues to support people through birth in Bristol, UK. Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, writer, and teacher. She is the author of Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle. Victoria Law is a mother, photographer, and writer. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women and coeditor of Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities. Loretta J. Ross was a cofounder and National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. She is one of the creators of the term "Reproductive Justice" coined by African American women following the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.