Early Motherhood in Digital Societies offers a nuanced understanding of what the digital turn has meant for new mothers in an intense and critical period before and after they have a baby, often called the ‘perinatal’ period.
The book looks at an array of digital communication and content by drawing on an extensive research project involving in-depth qualitative data from interviews with new mothers in the United Kingdom and online case studies. These stories are analysed to investigate the complexity of emotions around birth, the diversity of birth experiences and the myriad ways in which television, the press and social media impede and empower women giving birth. The book asks: what does the use of technology mean in the perinatal context and what implications might it have for maternal well-being? It argues for a balanced and context-sensitive approach to the digital for maternal well-being in the critical perinatal period.
By doing this, the book fills a gap in media studies, addressing itself to gaps within audience analysis, health communication and parenting. It will be essential reading for research and teaching modules in media studies, cultural studies, sociology, health communication and sociology of medicine and health.
Table of Contents
Foreword Chapter 1: Mediated mists of the early days Chapter 2: The Perinatal Ideal Chapter 3: The Good Birth Chapter 4: The two sides of support rhetoric Chapter 5: Short-lived ties, lasting implications Chapter 6: Perinatal Anxiety and its Mediated Social Shaping Chapter 7: Perinatality and the digital: Cautious-optimism Bibliography Index
Ranjana Das is Reader in Media and Communication, in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Her recent work has focused on parenting, parenthood and technology, with a particular focus on health and well-being. More broadly, she is interested in empirical and conceptual explorations of people’s everyday engagement with emerging communication technologies and has researched media audiences and users in numerous projects. Her work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.