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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Who you understand yourself to be when you are pregnant depends to a greater or lesser extent on whether you wanted to be pregnant in the first place. Pregnant women may step gladly into a desired new role, may seek an abortion if the pregnancy is unwelcome, or may be forced into a new identity as prospective mother if abortion is unavailable. In either case, the bodily changes of pregnancy may alter the woman’s self-conception in many ways. This chapter explores three destructive master narratives of pregnancy: the pregnant woman as fetal container, as good mother, and as public body. It concludes that counterstories must be constructed and socially circulated to counter the master narratives that damage pregnant women’s identities, stories that more accurately represent the women and depict them as worthy of respect. Examples are stories that describe pregnant women as calling the fetuses they carry into personhood.

Keywords: pregnancy, identity, social construction, self-construction, master narrative, proleptic relationship, counterstories

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