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How Did We Get Here? An Interview with Lara Freidenfelds (by Shannon Withycombe)

Lara Freidenfelds’s new book, The Myth of the Perfect Pregnancy: A History of Miscarriage in America, explores the history of pregnancy and miscarriage in the U.S., unveiling a rich story of consumerism, medical advances, mothering advice, scientific technologies, and changing ideals of parenthood, gender, and family. Using the lens of miscarriage, Freidenfelds examines how we got to our current social construct of pregnancy, as one that can be definitively determined in the early weeks of gestation, medically-managed to success in all cases, and celebrated with numerous consumer-driven rituals. Freidenfelds illustrates how pervasive the myth of the perfect pregnancy is, how many social and cultural forces present this narrative to prospective parents, and how dangerous this myth can be to so many couples in the face of miscarriage rates that are still as high as 30%. With a fascinating combination of archival research and ethnographic research on maternity websites and apps, Freidenfelds has produced a highly-readable book that should be your New Year’s gift to everyone you know.

Recently, I sat down with Freidenfelds to discuss this riveting book...

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