Read Misconceptions Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf Online


In The Beauty Myth the fearless Naomi Wolf revolutionized the way we think about beauty. In Misconceptions, she demythologizes motherhood and reveals the dangers of commonassumptions about childbirth. With uncompromising honesty she describes how hormones eroded her sense of independence, ultrasounds tested her commitment to abortion rights, and the keepers of the OB/GYN eIn The Beauty Myth the fearless Naomi Wolf revolutionized the way we think about beauty. In Misconceptions, she demythologizes motherhood and reveals the dangers of commonassumptions about childbirth. With uncompromising honesty she describes how hormones eroded her sense of independence, ultrasounds tested her commitment to abortion rights, and the keepers of the OB/GYN establishmentlacked compassion. The weeks after her first daughter's birth taught her how society, employers, and even husbands can manipulate new mothers. She had bewildering post partum depression, but learned that asurprisingly high.percentage of women experience it. Wolf's courageous willingness to talk about the unexpected difficulties of childbirth will help every woman become a more knowledgeable planner ofher pregnancy and better prepare her for the challenges of balancing a career, freedom, and a growing family. Invaluable in its advice to parents, Misconceptions speaks to anyoneconnected-personally, medically, or professionally-to a new mother. "From the Trade Paperback edition."...

Title : Misconceptions Misconceptions
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ISBN : 9781400075591
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Misconceptions Misconceptions Reviews

  • sdw
    2019-01-24 09:37

    The heteronormativity of this book made me want to scream. This book doesn’t seem to consider the perspectives of mommies who aren’t white, upper-middle class, and married to loving feminist husbands who are also white and upper-middle class. One woman I spoke with while reading this book stated “I felt like it was an argument for ‘class trumps everything’.” Faced with motherhood, Naomi Wolf decides to become everything her class and race position encourages her to be as “mother”, and then complains about the feminist mystique affect she faces. At times the book embraces feminine essentialism (being pregnant is like being disabled, you are helpless and vulnerable, and need your husband to protect you especially when walking through ‘bad’ parts of town, this allows you to understand what it is like to be disabled or old or young which is also about being helpless and vulnerable, and thus causes women to support social programs --- I think you can begin to see how deeply offensive this is for multiple reasons). In the first part of the book Wolf realizes that the medical profession didn’t have her best interests at heart and is truly about turning a profit – a critique I agree with. She also recognizes that romanticizing natural child birth methods also fails to deal with the fact that for much of human history it was “natural” for women to die in child birth and that adequate facilities for women’s reproductive health are in demand around the world. While I wouldn’t go to this book for the most recent science, I agreed with this general critique of the profit motive of the medical establishment. I also thought her emphasis on pointing out what is physically unpleasant about pregnancy in a society that likes to cover it in rosie images of nurturing contentment was valuable. I certainly found myself shuddering in the various descriptions of child birth. I think its actually worth thinking about how much having a baby is going to hurt – not just in the abstract but in the very specific ways she describes. What the second part of the book does well is point out how the gendered assumptions about equal share in child rearing in upper middle class white heteronormative progressive families doesn’t always work out so well. Having a baby shifts the balance of power in a relationship. Certainly it made me realize that if I ever have a baby with someone, I want to spell out a contract before hand being very explicit about how responsibilities over childcare are split.Oh and the book ends with a "Mommy Manifesto". Here Wolf deals with the nanny-care crisis (her childcare which allows her career to thrive comes by underpaying and exploiting the labor of women of color, who watch white babies instead of their own, and who receive no pensions, and no health insurance). Her suggestion is government subsidized unionized child care centers that would ensure workers get treated more as professionals, are better paid, and have true benefits. She doesn’t really deal with have a more equitable distribution of child labor between men and women. Certainly parts of her manifesto were compelling – it does leave me wanting to no more about the politics of child care and to think about how would I like to see child care dealt with in the society in which I live. It is really central to the contemporary politics of mothering and childbirth – and frankly I think its too easy in our society to not care about the politics of mothering until one decides to become a mother. And certainly there is not enough pressure for men to be reading books about the feminist politics of reproductive labor. Please give me your suggestions on books to read on this subject. From the academic realm I think of Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo’s Domestica and the writings of Rhacel Salazar Parrenas attack this dynamic well.

  • Ciara
    2019-01-29 13:39

    blech. more like one & a half stars, maybe? this was the last book i read before i gave birth to ramona. kind of a weird book to go out on.this book was incredibly self-indulgent. basically, naomi wolf got pregnant & made the same mistake that every pregnant-for-the-first-time woman makes in thinking that no one has ever been pregnant before in the history of humanity. it would also appear that she knew next to nothing about pregnancy or birth or the medical model of maternity care or anything before she got pregnant. it was like she thought she would give birth on a bed of moss in the woods & she was dumbfounded when she discovered that sometimes being pregnant means that people will want to do blood tests on you. the narrative thread running through the book is wolf's constant shock & amazement that maybe pregnancy isn't as easy as she expected it to be. it's just kind of embarrassing to read about all the stuff she didn't know. she's all like, "hey guys, did you know that babies used to be mainly born at home with midwives? crazy, right? but then doctors swooped in & took over & started giving everyone episiotomies all the time! what the fuck is that about?!" she decides to give birth at a local hospital with beautifully appointed labor rooms, but she is stunned & horrified when her labor is somewhat complicated & she ends up in a less beautiful room. she makes it sound like a slaughterhouse & then she spends her first few weeks of motherhood moping around about not getting the pretty room with the four-poster beds. i just want to be like, "listen, naomi, my pregnancy ended with a week of bed rest & an emergency cesarean that i don't even remember because they had me on so many fucked up drugs to keep me from having a stroke. my baby was in the NICU for her first month of life & i didn't even get to SEE her, let alone hold her, let alone try to breastfeed her, until she was more than a day old. so kindly SHUT THE FUCK UP about the four-poster beds, okay?"the more i think about this book, the more pissed off i get. & then i feel angry at myself because it's like, what? i'm somehow SURPRISED that naomi wolf wrote a book dripping with entitlement & self-centered anecdata? am i new here or something?

  • Clare
    2019-01-28 14:25

    I read this soon after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. It was a completely chance finding as I browsed in a bookshop in Clapham. At the time I just wanted something that was a little more personal than all the slightly scary pregnancy manuals that everyone seemed to think I should be reading. Serendipity or not, this is a very good book and I would heartily reccomend it. As a social critique of the whole pregnancy business and all it's attendant obsessions and fads it is immensely useful. I credit this book with giving me the confidence to decide how I wanted to give birth and giving me the gumption to be more assertive with the doctors. Certainly it convinced me of the importance of the NHS in Britain!However I do have to take issue with the fact that Woolf makes motherhood sound so damned awful. Proir to giving birth I lapped up her stories of collapsing marriages, unhelpful boyfriends/husbands and resentful tales of late nights without any sense of perspective. I was completely expecting being a mother to be an impossible and unhappy experience (at least for the first couple of years). Thankfully this hasn't been my experience (yet) and rereading some passages just seems laughable now. I can't help thinking that feminism would be a whole lot better served if it ditched the assumption that any "women's work" is drudgery and legalised slavery. It's all a little too overblown and doesn't do much to encourage the reader. Whilst I would hate to have the opposite (everything is fluffy bunnies and warm contented smiles), I think this attitude is just as pernicious.Despite these criticisms however, it is a very good book. Just take some passages with a (hearty) pinch of salt.

  • missy jean
    2019-02-02 09:39

    For the first 264 pages I was ready to give this book 5 enthusiastic stars. Wolf intertwines her personal experiences with careful research into the state of the maternal health care in the U.S. I really related to the personal experiences she relates: a traumatic c-section, mild PPD, the strange mixture of confusion and bliss that accompany the arrival of a new baby. I especially "enjoyed" her analysis of our hospital system that offers very few choices to laboring women, and that commonly ignores what is best for mothers and babies in the name of convenience and profit. I also appreciated her honest assessment of the wide range of emotions that come along with new motherhood, and her passionate advocacy for society to treat mothering as a profession and better accommodate the needs of mothers and children. I agree with her: New mothers need more support, less isolation, and lots more understanding.Then came the chapter on breastfeeding, which dropped my overall rating down to 3 stars (and if I could rate it on a chapter-by-chapter basis, I'd give this particular chapter 0 stars). I was so incredibly disappointed with her very brief treatment of breastfeeding where she basically says "eh, breastfeeding's good and all, but do whatever you want." The rest of the book is such a vehement defense of everyday women who have to grapple with profit-driven hospitals and litigation-paranoid doctors in order to have their ideal birth experiences...I would have expected her to take up the cause and defend breastfeeding as a feminist issue, too. Instead, she refers to La Leche League as "lactation fascists" and in one fell swoop, undermines the work that ordinary women are doing to promote breastfeeding as the healthiest beginning for babies (a fact that is literally undisputed in scientific data). Where is the mention of the multi-billion dollar formula industry that lobbies and sends free samples and does everything in their power to make breastfeeding seem too difficult, too time-consuming, too socially-uncomfortable? But no, in Wolf's opinion, the women who speak loudly trying to create a viable voice in opposition to this profit-driven industry (and who dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to helping women learn to breastfeed when challenges arise) are "fascists." Give me a break. Wolf loves Ina May Gaskin but doesn't like lactivists? How is this possible?? Anyway, she gives literally one paragraph to addressing the proven health benefits of breastfeeding for babies, doesn't even mention the myriad health benefits for mothers, and sails on to say that it is "unrealistic" to expect many American mothers to breastfeed.As you can tell, I ended the book with negative feelings. The breastfeeding "chapter" (really just a few pages) was toward the end of the book, and she never got me back after that. Which is too bad; I vaguely remember now that I really enjoyed the majority of the book. I would recommend this book up to about page 264!

  • Sarae
    2019-02-01 10:17

    Feminist author Naomi Wolf's mix of personal story and in-depth research made for a super-easy read that was fillied with information about what people don't expect (in Wolf's opinion, what mothers are kept from being able to expect) about pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenthood. Most interesting (and frightening) for me was learning about the way the hospitals and doctors handle birth - keeping themselves safe from malpractice is above the woman's (and at times, the baby's) experience, and leads to a more medicalized, invasive birth than may have been necessary. She helped me see how I could look with a more informed eye at common practices (prenatal tests, various types of monitoring, support and interventions during labor) and learn whether or not they are right for my situation or not. In my opinion, a must read!

  • Katie K
    2019-01-23 16:40

    Great book for mom's or women who would like to be moms someday. Don't be put off by the feminist writer. She takes a very balanced view of the whole birthing process and how over "medicalized" it has become. Not to say that I am not grateful for modern medicine. There is just a lot of hooey that you get from hospitals and insurance companies trying to placate you with birthing rooms and hot water whirpools, when in the end they care more about the bottom line and not being sued. I also like how she kind of puts an end to the whole working mom vs. stay at home mom controversy. In short, the greatest thing we can be is mothers. The more we value each other, the more society will value our role. We shouldn't criticize each other for our differences but embrace each other for what we have in common.

  • Cass
    2019-02-04 13:31

    This was the book that changed everything for me.It was my first pregnancy and I had no idea, so I did what a person like me does... I headed to the local library!! I stumbled across this book and it changed the way I thought about pregnancy and birth. I had a couple of experiences around other births, I had seen two family members give birth. I remember being at the hospital waiting for my sister-in-law to give birth and ushering in the room when she did. I knew nothing and all I cared about was gving her the present I had bought. She was sitting on the bed looking very drugged out, the baby was there but she was barely coherent. It struck me that this was the most joyous moment of her life and she looked like she was on drugs (it had been a vaginal deliver but she had used drugs for pain relief).The memory of that birth made me want to seek a better way. For me this led me down the road to a homebirth assisted by two amazing midwives. My husband and I never considered ourselves to be that crunchy, we scoffed at the idea of a homebirth when we first began our quest, but since then we have had two home deliveries, the second birth was a powerful experience that I will never forget.The journey began with this book.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-15 15:43

    Basically the antithesis to What to Expect. She even talks about WTEWYE early on, and how it's meant to soothe. This book is anything but soothing, but I appreciated very much the stormy emotionality of it. Given that I mostly hated pregnancy for a good two months, it was nice to read something that waded around moodily about it, that offered no rainbows, etc. A little too dark? Probably. The chapter on pregnancy-as-facing-impending death is troublesome. But, I also, so far, prefer ignorance about the details of what could or could not happen at labor. So I'm a bad audience for that. I definitely want to know how much of the information included, the statistics, etc, which are some of the most informative and disturbing about the book, have changed in the last decade. Overall a very good and necessary read, and for me, reassuring in its darkness - it's okay to think that pregnancy is really fucking hard and that you're not cut out for it. That message isn't presented in a lot of the other media available, and I wish it was.

  • Meridith
    2019-01-17 13:40

    Dripping with entitlement on every page. Newsflash: upper middle class women used to getting everything on a silver platter discover as they approach now-or-never childbearing years that -quelle horreur!- there is no one to hold their hands through pregnancy & childbirth. Beware of the high-pitched whining throughout. It makes for a difficult read.

  • Iznaya
    2019-02-07 09:28

    I couldn't finish it. I rarely do that.I found the ethnocentricity exceedingly overpowering, and the privilege of moneyed whiteness to be a big yawn. If you want a good feminist read on the role of birthing, breastfeeding and mothering then read Gabrielle Palmer's "The Politics of Breastfeeding" - that will really take you into socio-economic dynamics, commercial protectionism and the patriarchy with MUCH more vigour, zero self-consciousness, and a real discussion on sexual politics.And, then, for a rational discussion on birth choices that transcends political agenda of the author and busts a whole bunch of birthing myths, read Marjorie Tew's "Safer Birth?". Tew is a statistician, well-outside of the political interests of the birthing 'industry' who conducts statistical and historical analysis of birthing, outcomes, and the health professionals involved.I had read these two aforementioned titles years before I came across Wolf's book, and it pales in comparison. I'm sure that this is a ground breaking book for many women who are still conditioned to believe "doctors and hospitals have your best interests at heart", and as I already knew this was a dangerous misconception, 'Misconceptions' stated the obvious to me. I'm glad she is in a position to highlight the issues that are relevant to her socio-economic status, because it will reach a number of women who are inclined to fall victim to the arrogance of similarly educated professionals (women who have been to university are more likely to go along with the skewed 'professiona' opinion of someone else who has a uni certificate on their office wall and less likely to question them).Meanwhile, if you really want to gain insight into mothering, you'll need to read a few books written by better positioned people. For the lay person, both of the aforementioned books are very readable.Sorry, Naomi, I just couldn't!

  • Emily
    2019-02-12 08:44

    I found this to be an eye-opening critique of maternity practices in the U.S. This book is not without its flaws (not the least of them the ethnocentric viewpoint), but it weaves the personal, political, and cultural together into a compelling read. Not just for pregnant women, Wolf has written a well-researched book about topics that makes the usual "What to Expect" language about pregnancy and birthing look all-too-tame. Really, though, who doesn't get squeamish thinking about things like episiotomies and grunting on all fours in order to give birth? Her mission to "tell the truth" about the medical maternity complex is certainly the truth from her own point of view, but it's backed up by a lot of research and sheds light on an under-studied, yet vital, part of modern life and Wolf is an excellent guide.

  • Amy
    2019-02-12 11:33

    This book is busted. It's about all the terrible injustices a rich white highly educated straight married woman experiences when she is pregnant. For example, she's not thin anymore and people seem to treat her differently. Can you believe it??

  • Kate Lansky
    2019-01-17 08:15

    When I picked up this book, I admit that I wasn't quite expecting what I got. I figured it would read kind of like Pushed - what I got was something else entirely. What I got was Naomi Wolf's personal experiences beautifully framing an anthropological look at birth in America through interviews with friends and other acquaintances. Naomi is a bit of a poet, I think. She is a strong woman, a feminist, an artist. It was very easy to identify with her as a human being, to see in her a reflection of myself. It made reading her work a familiar thing, a deeply informative and personal act. I think some people will be a bit resistant to a section on women and the loss of power in relationships with their partners after the birth of a child. I could feel her raw emotion as she was writing, the sense of societal and personal betrayal throughout. And though I could understand what she was saying and could identify with it completely - even without having kids - I don't know that everyone will react well to the emotion that is sunk into that section of the book. Still - I found myself thinking "yes, this is how women feel - this is how I feel, just looking forward and knowing what pregnancy and childbirth will bring." It was so good reading a book that expressed the uncertainty, the deep self-examination of all the changes that take place, while still coming from such a strong woman. Our culture doesn't dwell on those changes. We as women are expected to be static creatures who work until we give birth, then come back a few weeks later completely unaffected by what has just occurred - and by that I don't mean just the birth of a child, but the changes that take place to our bodies, our minds, our souls over the course of pregnancy and what follows. We are changed, for better or for worse, and this is a secret often tucked away in our culture. The prevailing world view seems to be that we are not SUPPOSED to change. Naomi walks us through those changes, through the fear, and allows us to admit the truth of it. I will say this. The book (and Naomi freely admits this herself) focuses on a very specific segment of the population. It focuses on middle class white women, usually working, and largely feminists. It is for this reason that I call the work an anthropological study, and I think that if it were labeled as such rather than as a book strictly for expectant mothers, it becomes an understandable level of focus. I would, however, suggest that you go into the reading with that knowledge. Definitely a worthwhile read.

  • Leslie
    2019-01-28 08:38

    Misconceptions is all about the "ugly" side of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. While it's nice that something like this exists that's not sugar-coated, I had a really hard time reading it. Everything was so negative and it made me feel guilty for having a good pregnancy, childbirth, and feeling happy about being a mother. Why does every sentence in this book have to be a complaint, rant, or pity party? Parts of it felt judgmental or made me feel shame - for instance, when she discusses morning sickness. At one point she discusses her struggle with morning sickness and feels the need to defend it by saying "interestingly pregnancies complicated by nausea and vomiting have a more favorable outcome than do those without." Is that an absolute? I'm looking at my daughter right now and I'm thinking she's REALLY favorable, and I was lucky enough not to have morning sickness.Some of the things she complains about seem unnecessary. It's one thing to talk about the medical field, natural birth vs c-sections... but at times she would complain about things like indoor play spaces. I get that it's nice to have your child play outdoors, but when there's no safe environment, I don't see what's wrong with letting your child go to an indoor play area with other children. Is this something to make mention of? Is it really that big of a deal? Some of her other examples also seemed extreme. She would talk about adoptive parents not wanting a child because it's latino, or a woman using her eggs to get back at her ex-husband. I don't think these are things that happen every day.I get that the book is titled "Misconceptions" so it's obviously about the negative side. Women and men SHOULD know that not everything will be easy, but personally it's a hard pill to swallow when I just want to be positive. I want to like it more. I want to be a feminist and yell I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR! But, this book just doesn't do it for me. I think it would be great for someone who maybe just began her first pregnancy. But for me the book was just too negative and highlighted so many of the things I heard over and over again from friends and family members. Trust me, you learn more than you want to know when you're pregnant because everyone loves to give you "advice" and comments.

  • Tonya Wertman
    2019-02-16 09:34

    I am almost eight months pregnant and as my husband and I begin to develop our birth plan, I feel like I read this book in just the nick of time. I finished it in two days and not a moment too soon....I have read a pile of books about pregnancy and motherhood and this is definitely one of the most important and useful ones. I found it an incredible soon as I started reading the 'truths' about pregnancy and found myself all over her pages, the ugly realities that other books don't want to write about. I finally felt "normal." The section on childbirth and the hospital/childbirth myths was incredibly informative. It was hard to read, but also has helped me immeasurably to make decisions about my child's birth and medical interventions. If you think an epidural is, as "they" say over and over, just a way to deal with pain..."why have pain when you can have this drug and have it taken away?" READ THIS BOOK! Although parts of what she says are scary, it's also so empowering...I have a much better idea of my options, of how to manage the medical establishment, and of what to be wary of. The section on post-partum life, relationships, marriage, career, was also terrifying...but I feel much more prepared to deal with it now. As Wolf says in the section on childbirth and pain, most women have no idea of just how painful it will be...but knowing about the pain, at least intellectually, prepares us to take an attitude of "we are entering a battle," and that she says, is how women are more successful at dealing with the pain. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. There are serious feminist issues, women's issues, family issues and government issues revealed here and it really solidified all the suspicions I had, from the rising rate of C-sections to the increasing number of families I meet who want "alternative" births. It is graphic and traumatic and honest. From the Introduction: "Being pregnant and giving birth are like crossing a narrow bridge. People can accompany you to the bridge. They can greet you on the other side. But you walk that bridge alone." - African Proverb

  • Alice
    2019-02-10 16:20

    YES this book reeks of self-indulgence, entitlement and ethnocentricity. It's essentially a book about the shock of being white middle/upper class and being the only woman ever to fall pregnant. That said, Wolf clearly writes from a highly personalized perspective, and as such this was always going to be a subjective experience rather than a broad overview of pregnancy. Personally, I had a love/hate relationship with this book. There were so many occasions in which I felt Wolf giving a voice to so many of the suppressed misgivings I was experiencing during my pregnancy, and it was the first and only time I've heard some of these anxieties acknowledged. Very few of my personal experiences seemed to align with the expectations that had been instilled in me by common maternal culture and I was left feeling abnormal, conflicted, irrational and unable to even express why I was feeling so alienated from a process other women appeared to relish. So in many respects this book was a great source of reassurance, and even refuge.On the flip side, each page of this book fed my bitterness like a self-indulgent resentment bonfire! Call it pregnancy hormones, but I actually felt like I had a minor panic attack during the chapter on 'Birth' which caused me to throw out any objectivity, and seriously (and confusedly) question the medical options I had been pursuing, without any clear alternatives. I felt frustrated by Wolf's approach of: The system sucks, you will suffer. And you know what? A lot of my expectations about pregnancy and motherhood were broken, but it wasn't the dark tunnel of deception the author describes. A lot of it is tough and strange, but I found unexpected pleasures in equal measure, and this balance to the experience was glaringly lacking in this book.All of that said, I'm thoroughly glad somebody wrote this book. It has genuinely added a richness to the dialogue surrounding female experience, and resounded greatly with me, especially when I was at my most self-indulgent.It's a total bummer, though.

  • Andrea Paterson
    2019-02-05 15:24

    Possibly the most insightful book on pregnancy, childbirth, and becoming a mother that I have read yet. Wolf just gets it. She writes a scathing critique of the birth industry in the United States, while still providing hope for better birth experiences for women. Her own willingness to share her dark anxieties and fears about birthing and motherhood was reassuring and revealing. She finds the darkest corners of the journey and shines light into them and she celebrates all that is mysterious and awe inspiring about becoming a mother. Her book is highly research based and does a fantastic job dispelling the myths perpetuated by both the technologically obsessed hospital based birthing industry and of the equally obsessed fringe "naturalists" who can be diabolical in their insistence on intervention free birthing. Wolf orients herself somewhere in the middle, with midwife Ina May Gaskin put forth as the incarnation of good birth practises. Despite all that is wrong with out birth practises today I'm coming out of this book feeling positive about the chance for alternatives to emerge and grow stronger. Wolf believes that women are fully capable of giving birth and she helps the reader to gain a similar confidence

  • C
    2019-01-25 11:35

    I liked this book alot. I read it while I was pregnant and it was refreshing to have an "academic" perspective on motherhood. Of all the material I read during my pregnancy, this is the only book that even approached the subject of "loss of self" upon becoming a mother. Motherhood is very difficult and made harder in the U.S. by the attitudes that prevail. The government pays alot of lip service to family values, yet maternity leave is uncertain for most and paternity leave is almost unheard of.The worst part of the book is the author's seeming hatred of medical intervention (despite the fact that she says modern medicine and holistic medicine should work together for maximum benefit to the mother and child). Also her birth story is horrific, so just be aware of that and take her criticisms with a grain of salt.However, alot of her insights are amazing (in light of fluff books like What to Expect..., etc.) and provide a more intellectual perspective on motherhood. I would recommend this book if you are prepared to think and filter out the more alarmist commentary.

  • Ellen
    2019-02-08 09:39

    It wasn't that this book was bad, it was just a bit extreme to me in some areas. Specifically, while Wolf's opinions on the "medicalization" of pregnancy and birth are shared by many women, I continue to count my lucky stars that such medical interventions exist. I did love how the author continually discounts the "wisdom" of What To Expect When You Are Expecting (see my review if you have any doubt of my feelings). Also, I could strongly relate to the chapter on the unfairness in the division of labor between men and women and the chapter on feeling a loss of your pre-parent self and the grief that can accompany it. In the end the book told me what I already figured out from my first trip through becoming a parent - mothers are made, not born, and while there is unbelievable joy in parenting, it can be one tough rodeo ride and this tough aspect is often glossed over.

  • Jenevieve
    2019-01-25 10:29

    I wish some wise woman in my life would have handed this book to me as soon as I found out I was pregnant. It really would have saved me a lot of pain and isolation and fear. Naomi Wolf is as candid and lovingly honest and sardonic as she can be about the journey to contemporary Motherhood and I identified with almost everything she described. This was up to and including the momentary death of all previous notions of feminism and self which lead to a rebirth of a more fleshed out and stronger (rather than weaker, more docile) view of Woman, her power and her place in the world.This book has been highly influential in the way that I now think of myself as a Mother and in my current art work. I will faithfully pass it on to any of my friends who choose to become a Mother.

  • Sarah Cannon
    2019-01-25 13:31

    Interesting book - it lends new insight into our current medical profession through the lens of laboring practices. The last few chapters discuss new American family dynamics from a feminist perspective. The author uses a combination of statistics, quotes from the medical community, interviews with new mothers, and her own personal journey as evidence in this manifesto. I found her rhetoric both informative and endearing. Her honesty in describing her own post-partum depression and birth trauma increased the credibility of the book.

  • Trish
    2019-02-06 08:38

    Read this book before you get pregnant or before your partner gets pregnant. It is essential if you are thinking of having a baby....sheds light on the medicalization of childbirth while giving readers a personal perspective.

  • Catherine
    2019-01-21 09:24

    I would have given it four stars but there was just too much biological essentialist, women are hormones, stuff going on for my taste

  • Momm DePlume
    2019-02-13 15:38

    Naomi Wolf prattles on and all I end up reading is blah blah blah

  • Kim Dulaney
    2019-02-11 09:19

    This my my second time reading this book. The first time I had just given birth to my first child. Although the book is a little dated and some of the childbirth practices are a little different than they were, I still think it is a very valuable read for anyone expecting a baby whether you are a mom or a dad. It really helped validate a lot of my feelings that I had after childbirth – all the things that people don’t tell you to expect. In the end, it gives a vision of what a society that truly values the work of parenthood might look like. Definitely a feminist book in the best sense of the word .

  • Heather
    2019-02-11 08:20

    The compulsive heteronormativity of this book was off-putting to me. I also found Wolf's whole approach towards pregnancy, birth and mothering to be surprisingly disempowering towards actual women. She should have just written a memoir, instead of claiming to be writing a reflection on a culture she then reinforces in the same book. Disappointing.

  • Viola
    2019-01-24 14:44

    Misconceptions is one woman's memoir about her first pregnancy and a collection of pregnancy issues that are often not discussed in polite company. It is not a comprehensive pregnancy guide. Instead, it strives to fill the holes of pregnancy guides by highlighting the unsavory aspects of pregnancy. It is based upon the author's experience giving birth to her first child in 1995.The book is divided into three parts. The first is the author's memoir about the nine months of her first pregnancy. While it was interesting to read, I did not personally relate to her. Every pregnancy is different. Some women may relate to her, but I did not. The second part discusses birth and specifically how giving birth has become a medical procedure. The third part discusses life after birth and the author's experience with post-partum depression. The entire book has a somewhat foreboding tone with a cautionary message. It warns its readers to be wary of the medical community and to advocate for yourself, otherwise, you'll become a victim to the medical community which only serves itself.Considering the fact that I read this book in 2009 and gave birth to my first child in 2010, I found this book to be outdated in many ways. However, it's outdated because of all the progress we've made, and perhaps this book contributed to that progress. Pregnancy and giving birth nowadays is not what it was in the mid-1990s. The medical community nowadays just isn't as bad as she portrays it in the book. Here are just a few examples showing how Misconceptions is outdated.(1) In the book, she complains about the lack of information available about doctors and hospitals. She relates how difficult it was for her to get a statistic on the percentage of C-sections her hospital performs. In my experience, I had no problems in locating this statistic as well as many other statistics on all of my local hospitals and corresponding doctors using a very quick internet search(2) Similarly, she complains about how unnecessary episiotomies are performed on all birthing women. Again, this is outdated. The medical community no longer performs episiotomies routinely, and moreover, I can easily get this statistic for all of my local hospitals and corresponding doctors. In my area, the percentage of episiotomies hovers around 10 - 15%.(3) In the last section of the book, she relates her experience with post-partum depression and the lack of support in dealing with it. Nowadays, the medical community is much more aware of post-partum depression, and the condition has also become less stigmatized. In my experience, being screened for post-partum depression was a routine part of my first prenatal appointment.Overall, I have mixed feelings about Misconceptions. I learned a great deal about pregnancy and the many medical issues surrounding it. It was the one book that prompted me to think seriously about many birthing decisions. It showed me that I had to be a stronger advocate of my personal birthing preferences. Thus, I am very grateful for the author in bringing those issues to my attention. However, I did not encounter the resistance from the medical community that she did. I had a very supportive medical team for my labor and delivery, and I walked away with very positive memories of the entire experience.

  • Margaret Samuels
    2019-02-03 15:25

    Because I’m a natural birth and women’s rights advocate, and a birth junkie, I thought for sure I would enjoy this analysis of how our society’s view of birth negatively affects women, especially psychologically. In part I, Wolf’s overly dramatic writing style is annoying and makes it difficult to take her seriously. While her assertions are backed up by research, it doesn’t seem like she fully researched the issue before making that assertion. For example, she accurately states that most adoptions in the US are international adoptions as opposed to local adoptions, and then says the reason is because couples older than 35 are more likely to adopt, and they only want a white baby. She then gives a few anecdotes describing all these couples who either refused a domestic adoption because the mother lied about the race of the baby or spent a fortune on international adoption from the soviet union to get their ‘perfect’ baby. I take a few issues with this right away. Most couples shy away from domestic adoption because you either have to do an open adoption through an agency, risking the birth mother changing her mind, or adopt out of the foster care system. To do this, you must first become foster parents, and risk that the first baby placed with you will return to his original family, and not ever become available for adoption. Couples faced with infertility are terrified of another loss, and opt for an international adoption. They accept babies from china, which are decidedly not caucasion, and from former Soviet union countries, where babies often have suffered permanent brain damage from neglect in overpopulated orphanages. These points aren't even addressed. Its the same, issue after issue. Part II is great. A simple list of 10 common misconceptions about birth. These are all accurate and well researched, but, again, after following naomi's despressing and ridiculously dramatic journey through pregnancy its hard to take her seriously. Part III is an interesting take on equality among a very specific group of married couples, which she views to be most married couples. Basically, all these Type A career women moan about an unequal division of responsibilities in their post-baby home,but they don't offer any real solutions. Most considered themselves feminist, and formerly equally divided domestic duties with their husbands. Post-baby, they rsented giving up job time, personal time, or baby time for any reason because because their husbands don't have to make those same decisions. This seems like an analysis of such a small segment of the population. These women seem to be creating their own problem. I think growing up they were told it was possible to be successful and fully devote yourself to a career while fully devoting yourself to motherhood. They're dissappointed and resentful that its not possible, and, from my perspective as a happy young mother, it seems these women shouldn't have bothered to have children in the first place.

  • Kate Ditzler
    2019-02-14 15:32

    Naomi Wolf's book about her own journey to motherhood was really wrenching. It was a book that I started reading while first trimester pregnant and nauseous, unable to sleep at night because of the discomfort -- but yet still exhausted. Two hours later, I scribbled the first of many lists and drafts of questions for my future midwife, trying to decide if the Alternative Birthing Center that I was about to tour was truly alternative, or simply a draw to lure me in for a c-section. I had my husband read two of the chapters in the book. Chapter Seven Months and Chapter Calling it Fair. Seven Months is the chapter about the birthing center debacles that is American Midwifery and Obstetrics, and when he read it he came out more understanding of my fear, and more behind the decision we had been discussing to employ a doula. Following his reading of Calling it Fair, we were able to have a frank discussion about his male privilege in wanting not to put his career on any sort of slower path, nor wanting to live his life in any way that isn't his ideal. With the help of what I've read elsewhere (Halving It All: How Equally Shared Parenting Works) we were able to have a discussion about how we're both going to be involved in creating the fabric of family life, and how it may be difficult, but we have to reach for the stars before we settle. I don't know. I like this book, but it adds to my sense of heaviness, that there are too many forces at work for me to actually triumph, for me to be happy, that I'll be forced into the "machine mother" role that Naomi describes in my career, or attempt to be superwoman, and fail. I don't want to be naive. But I am glad that she shared this experience in the book, it helps to know that others have been there, and others have come out the other side.

  • Michelle
    2019-01-20 15:35

    This is the first Naomi Wolf book I have read. I enjoyed reading about her personal thoughts and feelings about her own pregnancy. With regard to her views on the hospital system, whilst her anecdotes were compelling- I think she was almost bordering on propaganda on how pro- mid-wife she was. To some extent I agree with her assertion that there is not enough support for mid-wife driven pregnancies. But she does not delve into the fundamental reasons why this may have occurred other than 'ominous male obstetricians trying to take over pregnancy deliveries' - she doesn't look at the health policies and America's outrageous insurance premiums in enough detail to look for answers there and instead comes off sounding mindlessly pro-wife driven and ends up plugging one particular practitioner. The later segment of the book post pregnancy was fair- overall she points out how difficult a transition it can be which is fair enough and a fairly universal acknowledgement these days. Her concluding chapter provided some excellent suggestions going forward. Overall Naomi's style is engaging and approachable but for me, I would probably not go out off way to read her other books based on this book. Having said that, I understand the topic is a difficult one to discuss and highly subjective, as a 'feminist' it is her role to have a view and stand by her view and defend it- I respect and generally agree with most of her insights although this book lacked enough substance to back up all her claims. Oh, I did enjoy her criticisms of the 'what to expect when..' books!! A bit harsh, but fun to read her abject disdain for them. Overall, I hope Naomi continues in the difficult and challenging role as a public 'feminist' to advance and follow up on these values she upholds.