by Jesse Olszynko-Gryn.
Today, home pregnancy tests are cheap and ubiquitous. For countless women, these over-the-counter retail products mediate between the uncertainty of a missed period and the potentially life-changing decision either to prepare for motherhood or to seek an abortion. As artist Tracey Emin put it in her 2000 installation Feeling Pregnant, ‘I go to the bathroom, knowing that within three minutes my life might never be the same again’ (p.164). However, rapid and easy-to-use home tests have only existed since the 1980s. Before then, as now, many women first suspected they were pregnant when they recognized one of the more telltale signs: a missed period, morning sickness, sore breasts. Quickening the feeling of the first fetal movements in the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy, was typically interpreted as a sign that the fetus was alive and well, but most women would have already determined they were Read more...
by Charlotte Knowles.
In The Human Condition Hannah Arendt makes a distinction between the fact of physical birth and the fundamental significance of natality. Natality is not contiguous with the event of physical birth, but is a kind of ‘second birth’, occurring when we enter the public and political sphere. Natality is characterised by ‘uniqueness, action, politics and plurality’ and the capacity to bring about something new. Arendt argues that ‘the human condition of natality; the new beginning inherent in birth can make itself felt in the world only because the newcomer possesses the capacity of beginning something anew, that is of acting’.
However, with the pregnancy of Kate Middleton this separation between birth and natality is called into question, and the connection between newness and action is complicated. The imminent child has seemingly entered the public and political sphere before its symbolic entrance into the world as an independent Read more...
The MaMSIE (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics) blog endeavours to create a space for critical debates surrounding the maternal, and explore the unique site it occupies at the potent intersection between scientific possibilities, psychosocial practices and cultural representations. The blog serves as an interdisciplinary platform for research students, early career researchers as well as more advanced researchers looking to try out new ideas. We welcome all discussions surrounding the maternal, whether in current affairs, policy, clinical practice, the arts or academia.
Blog posts are usually published on a monthly basis. The blog is edited and run on a day to day basis by a team of postgraduate students working in different disciplines from across the universities of London. If you are interested in contributing to the blog please see our submission guidelines.