Embodying Pregnancy and Self-Surveillance
Women are regularly subjected to public scrutiny, commentary, and unsolicited touching of their bodies, especially when visibly pregnant. This chapter examines how women embody medical and popular discourses that encourage self-surveillance from pre-pregnancy through to birth. It also explores how women respond emotionally to, and negotiate external surveillance during, their pregnancies. Pregnant women are exposed to a wealth of medical advice in maternal nutrition, habits, and caring practices that are largely concerned with the wellbeing of the projected child-to-be. By listening to the stories women tell about their lived experience, this chapter reveals how surveillance and vigilance work to reproduce an ephemeral notion of the ‘perfect mother’ of that future child and the ways that women respond to this ideal.
KeywordsPregnancy Self-surveillance Vigilance Embodiment Health Motherhood
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