Early Motherhood in Digital Societiesoffers 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 wellbeing? It argues for a balanced and context-sensitive approach to the digital for maternal wellbeing 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.
Chapter 1: Mediated mists of the early days
Early Motherhood: Why the Perinatal?
A mediated framework
A synopsis of this book
Chapter 2: The Perinatal Ideal
The intensive perinatal
Mediating early motherhood
The Perinatal Ideal
Chapter 3: The Good Birth
The YouTube case
The visual logics of mediated hypno-births
Chapter 4: The two sides of support rhetoric
A cathartic, rationalising and empowering space
Discursive and perceived silencing of ‘horror stories’
Rhetoric around labour
Individualisation of birthing responsibilities
Chapter 5: Short-lived ties, lasting implications
The normative and regulatory texture of information
Temporally inexpensive, affectively expensive
Newly forged online ties and the shaping of pre-existing offline ties
Chapter 6: Perinatal Anxiety and its Mediated Social Shaping
The cultural coding of maternal anxiety
The red herring of infant wellbeing
Nuanced complexities of support systems and support rhetoric
Chapter 7: Perinatality and the digital: Cautious-optimism
Uneven contexts of access and use
The case for optimism
The case for caution
Cautious-optimism: Representations, connections, intrusions
A space for the perinatal in digital wellbeing
Locating the perinatal in digital wellbeing
A (careful) case for the digital
The Global Gender series provides original research from across the humanities and social sciences, casting light on a range of topics from international authors examining the diverse and shifting issues of gender and sexuality on the world stage. Utilising a range of approaches and interventions, these texts are a lively and accessible resource for both scholars and upper level students from a wide array of fields including Gender and Women’s Studies, Sociology, Politics, Communication, Cultural Studies and Literature.