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Birth in the Age of AIDSis a vivid and poignant portrayal of the experiences of HIV-positive women in India during pregnancy, birth, and motherhood at the beginning of the 21st century. The government of India, together with global health organizations, established an important public health initiative to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child. While this program, which targets poor women attending public maternity hospitals, has improved health outcomes for infants, it has resulted in sometimes devastatingly negative consequences for poor, young mothers because these women are being tested for HIV in far greater numbers than their male spouses and are often blamed for bringing this highly stigmatized disease into the family. Based on research conducted by the author in India, this book chronicles the experiences of women from the point of their decisions about whether to accept HIV testing, through their decisions about whether or not to continue with the birth if they test HIV-positive, their birthing experiences in hospitals, decisions and practices surrounding breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding, and their hopes and fears for the future of their children.
Even childbirth is affected by globalization--and in India, as elsewhere, the trend is away from home births, assisted by midwives, toward hospital births with increasing reliance on new technologies. And yet, as this work of critical feminist ethnography clearly demonstrates, the global spread of biomedical models of childbirth has not brought forth one monolithic form of "modern birth." Focusing on the birth experiences of lower-class women in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Birth on the Threshold reveals the complex and unique ways in which modernity emerges in local contexts. Through vivid description and animated dialogue, this book conveys the birth stories of the women of Tamil Nadu in their own voices, emphasizing their critiques of and aspirations for modern births today. In light of these stories, author Cecilia Van Hollen explores larger questions about how the structures of colonialism and postcolonial international and national development have helped to shape the form and meaning of birth for Indian women today. Ultimately, her book poses the question: How is gender--especially maternity--reconfigured as birth is transformed?
Through vivid description and animated dialogue, this book conveys the birth stories of the women of Tamil Nadu in their own voices, emphasizing their critiques of and aspirations for modern births today.
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