Sacred Pregnancy: Birth, Motherhood, and the Quest for Spiritual Community
Sacred Pregnancy is part a retrospective on changing paradigms of and feminist discourse on motherhood, part sociological study of changing religious demographics and understandings of religious experience in the United States, and part exploration of the spiritual movements and spiritually guided reproductive health services that bring all these themes together.
Resting on the premise that motherhood in general and pregnancy specifically should not be brushed aside as beneath intellectual inquiry or as settled subjects, Ann Duncan explores a new form of religious community: a growing number of diverse movements that blend business with a spiritual approach to the reproductive health of women. This new mode of spiritual ritual is centered not around a particular conception of the divine but by the shared experience of pregnancy and birth as sacred rites of passage and women's reproductive health as an avenue toward spiritual experience, community, and even economic opportunity.
These spiritual birth movements are an invitation to further investigate and understand not only the social construction of motherhood and the cultural understanding and practice of pregnancy, but also the life-changing experiences of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood and the concomitant desire for religious ritual in the lives of American women.