Natal Signs: Cultural Representations of Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting

Natal Signs FINAL Cover Small

Price: $34.95

Page Count: 378

Publication Date: September 2015

ISBN: 978-1-926452-32-6

Natal Signs: Cultural Representations of Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting explores some of the ways in which reproductive experiences are taken up in the rich arena of cultural production. The chapters in this collection pose questions, unsettle assumptions, and generate broad imaginative spaces for thinking about representation of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. They demonstrate the ways in which practices of consuming and using representations carry within them the productive forces of creation. Bringing together an eclectic and vibrant range of perspectives, this collection offers readers the possibility to rethink and reimagine the diverse meanings and practices of representations of these significant life events. Engaging theoretical reflection and creative image making, the contributors explore a broad range of cultural signs with a focus on challenging authoritative representations in a manner that seeks to reveal rather than conceal the insistently problematic and contestable nature of image culture. Natal Signs gathers an exciting set of critically engaged voices to reflect on some of life’s most meaningful moments in ways that affirm natality as the renewed promise of possibility.

“Through vivid, intimate prose and visceral imagery, Natal Signs takes standard ideas about birth and shifts them completely. This groundbreaking book is required reading for anyone interested in an expanded understanding of the multiplicity and sensuality of pregnancy, birth and parenting.”
—May Friedman, Associate Professor, Social Work, Ryerson University


What to Expect When Your Avatar is Expecting:
Representations of Pregnancy and Parenthood in Video Games
Lauren Cruikshank

Masculine Pregnancy: Butch Lesbians’,
Trans Men’s & Genderqueer Individuals’ Experiences
Michelle Walks

That Fat Man is Giving Birth:
Gender Identity and the Pregnant Body
K. J. Surkan

Gay Men’s Narratives of Pregnancy in the Context of
Commercial Surrogacy
Damien W. Riggs and Deborah Dempsey

Crone and Moon, Umbilical Cords/Blood Ties
Brescia Nember Reid

Jennifer Long

Heroes and Villains:
Representations of Midwives in the Late Twentieth Century

Ontario Midwifery Revival
Elizabeth Allemang

Spacemaking and Midwifery: With, Within, Without
Mary Sharpe and Kory McGrath


Refusing Delinquency, Reclaiming Power:
Indigenous Women and Childbirth
Claire Dion Fletcher and Cheryllee Bourgeois

Resistance and Submission:
A Critique of Representations of Birth
Alys Einion

Representations of Birth and Motherhood as
Contemporary Forms of the Sacred
Anna Hennessey

Does Labour Mean Work? A Look at the Meaning of Birth
in Amish and Non-Amish Society
Natalie Jolly

Representing Birth: An Inquiry into Art Making and
Birth Giving: Implications for Teaching Student Midwives
Jeanne Lyons

Birth is a Labour of Art
Marni Kotak

Split Open
Ara Parker

Flower of My Flesh
Rosie Rosenzweig

Birth Shock: Exploring Pregnancy, Birth, and the Transition
to Motherhood Using Participatory Arts
Susan Hogan, Charley Baker, Shelagh Cornish,
Paula McCloskey and Lisa Watts

Making Meaning of Stillbirth
Kory McGrath and Lynn Farrales


Kids Aren’t Cute
Beth Osnes

Paternal Loss and Anticipation:
An Artist’s Perspective
Rachel Epp Buller

Two Mums and Some Babies:
Queering Motherhood
Rebecca English, Raechel Johns and Angela Dwyer

Go the Fuck to Sleep Prince George?
Juxtaposing Cultural Representations of Motherhood and
Exploring the Politics of Authenticity
Betty Ann Martin

About the Contributors

Nadya Burton is a sociologist and Associate Professor in the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson University in Toronto. As a social scientist within a clinical education program, her work focuses on issues of equity, social justice and diversity in midwifery, supporting future clinicians to work skillfully across differences of identity and social location.