Pregnancy is so thoroughly entangled with birth and babies in the popular imagination that a pregnancy which ends in miscarriage consistently appears as a failure or a waste of time – indeed, as not proper to pregnancy at all. But in this compelling book, Victoria Browne argues that reflection on miscarriage actually deepens and expands our understanding of pregnancy, forcing us to consider what pregnancy can amount to besides the production of a child.
As well as politicizing miscarriage as a feminist issue, Pregnancy Without Birth articulates a philosophy of pregnancy which embraces variation, invites us to sit with ambiguity, contingency and suspension, and enables us to see subjective agency in all pregnancies, even as they are shaped by biological, political and social forces beyond our personal control. What emerges is a relational feminist politics of full-spectrum solidarity and care (rather than individualized choice), which breaks down presumed oppositions between pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth and live birth, and liberates pregnancy from reproductive futurism.
Victoria Browne is a Reader in Political Theory at Oxford Brookes University and a member of the editorial collective for the journal Radical Philosophy. At the launch she will be in conversation with Lisa Baraitser, Professor of Psychosocial Theory at Birkbeck, University of London.