Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

First and foremost I thank my life partner, Lisa Chatillon. She introduced me to feminist ideas long ago, literally labored through my introduction to fatherhood, and shared her books on both topics as I developed my own perspective on birthing. ...

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Chapter 1: American Fathers and Hospital Childbirth

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pp. 1-31

Kevin hunched forward in the booth of the coffee shop, rolling the mug slowly in his calloused hands. “We didn’t really know what we were getting into; hell we didn’t even know we were going to get pregnant.” His shock of blonde hair and his slight, muscular frame suggested an inner tension that energized his slow movements. ...

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Chapter 2: Couvade in Society and History

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pp. 32-75

In June 2002, international news services reported that doctors had implanted an embryo into the abdomen of a thirty-five-year-old man. The fetus was said to be developing normally and the world could follow its progress at the Web site of the father, Mingwei Lee, and his partner Virgil Wong (Lee and Wong 2002). ...

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Chapter 3: Standing Vigil: Fathers in the Waiting Room, 1920–1970

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pp. 76-103

The traditional role of fathers in American childbirth is captured in the image of the distraught husband pacing the waiting room floor. For most of the last century, as birthing mothers were admitted to hospitals, delivery room doors swung forcefully closed behind them. ...

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Chapter 4: Birthing Revolution: Men to the Barricades

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pp. 104-134

In 1968, the United States seemed poised on the brink of social revolution. Students demonstrated against war in Vietnam; women organized against patriarchy; and Blacks took to the streets to demand power. These public conflicts were accompanied by a much more private movement to change one of life’s most intimate moments ...

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Chapter 5: Birthing Classes: Training Men to Birth

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pp. 135-160

Men in the United States do not learn about birth from their fathers around the campfire, nor do they watch other dads in the delivery room. They do not generally talk about it over beer or basketball. In fact, men are not much of a source of information for birthing fathers. ...

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Chapter 6: Men’s Experience of Birth

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pp. 161-210

Mark fought through the grogginess of early morning sleep, responding to a voice that sounded important. Warm flannel sheets conspired against him. Words assembled as images in his mind, even before he understood their meaning. “Mark, wake up.” His eyes flew open and he stared at the ceiling. ...

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Chapter 7: Fathers, Birth, and Society

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pp. 211-242

Kevin, who opened the first chapter, was initiated into fatherhood by the powerful rituals of hospital childbirth. As he cut the cord and handed out cigars, he filled a much larger role—he was the stage manager in the drama of birth. He performed a carefully scripted performance in birthing classes, the labor room, and during the final delivery. ...

Notes

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pp. 243-246

Bibliography

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pp. 247-256

Index

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pp. 257-259

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About the Author

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Richard K. Reed is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Trinity University in Texas. His work explores birthing in American hospitals as ritual, specifically the process by which men make the passage to fatherhood. This is part of his larger interest in masculinity as an ever-changing cultural construction. ...