Birth Work as Care WorkAlana Apfel | 2016
Published by Kairos and PM Press
This collection presents a vibrant collection of stories from the front lines of birth activist communities. The personal has once more become political, and birth workers, supporters, and doulas now find themselves at the fore of collective struggles for freedom and dignity.
“Reproductive Justice is not just an issue for individual parents and children, but as an integral part of the larger struggle for justice and community."— Birth Work as Care Work
The author, herself a scholar and birth justice organizer, provides a unique platform to explore the political dynamics of birth work, drawing connections between birth, reproductive labor, and the struggles of caregiving communities today. 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 re-imagine 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.
Praise for Birth Work as Care Work“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, Co-Founder of the Feminist Women’s Health Centers of California and Author of A Woman’s Book of Choices
“This volume provides theoretically rich, practical tools for birth workers 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 of 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 breathe 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, Co-Editor of 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, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the 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 marginalized 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 of The News Minute