Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Throughout this book I have argued for increased recognition of pregnancy, birthing, and childrearing as social activities that involve simultaneously physical, intellectual, emotional, and moral work from those who undertake them. This work calls for a number of skills and also requires broad social support if it is to be done well by pregnant women, birthing women, and male and female providers of childcare in a number of different kinds of social circumstance.
The first three chapters of this book were devoted to philosophical analysis of pregnancy. I argued that pregnancy is a subject that has been overlooked or distorted by an emphasis only on ethical issues that arise in unwanted pregnancies. This discussion was followed by a brief chapter on birth in which I argued that focus on the medicalization of birth needs to be supplemented by increased awareness of how privatized women's experiences of birth are encouraged to be and how we should not think of birth as involving minds controlling bodies to the greatest extent possible. The following two chapters were devoted to the next stage of reproductive labor, caring for children once they are born. In chapter 5 I argued that our understanding of caring for children needs to be extended to include the many different situations in which children are and can be cared for and that we need to consider the needs of both care providers and care receivers in evaluating these different situations.