In September, I'll be presenting at the Evidence Based Birth Conference in Kentucky. (Can I just pause to say about how thrilled I am to be able to present at this amazing conference!?) I'll be leading a workshop about the critical role that our words play in shaping the birth environment. I can't wait to share how my passion for birth converges with my passion for linguistics and give other birth workers tools to use their language for good!
In preparation for my workshop, I'm familiarizing myself with any other texts that are relevant to this topic. It turns out that there aren't a ton of super-relevant texts, but I'm reading what I can about the overlapping spheres of language usage and childbirth. Enter Women Writing Childbirth: Modern Discourses of Motherhood by Tess Cosslett. It's an older book (published 1994) that synthesizes and analyzes literature of the 20th century that addresses the topic of childbirth. While it's well-done and thorough and has a few good themes, it's not a book I would widely recommend. If you're curious about what (mostly female) writers have written about birth in both fiction and non-fiction works and want to read one critical interpretation of those texts, it's a worthwhile read. It's certainly got its own biases (which the author acknowledges), and I disagreed--either in part of in whole--with several things Cosslett writes. However, she does uncover a few worthwhile themes in her analysis. Here are the ones that stood out to me:
Cosslett teases out these themes as she examines several works of literature, both fiction and non-fiction. This book certainly provided food for thought and insight into potential themes in the language that surrounds birth.
Stay tuned for more reviews of the birthwork/linguistics literature and a preview of my EBB workshop!