Fearless Birth: A cyber-ethnographic examination of the online exchanges of linguistically positive and empowering birth narratives to reduce socialized childbirth fear in the United States
Buccino, Juliana Hathaway
In response to the growing desires of American women to reclaim childbirth from the pathologized and technocratic grips of Western medicine, the social media based organization, Birth Without Fear, provides positive birth messages and empowers followers by sharing linguistically positive birth stories and affirmations of childbirth empowerment. A cyber-ethnographic examination of the comments section on 62 blog posts, published by Birth Without Fear between February 1st, 2015 and February 12th, 2016, revealed discourses of self-efficacy, empowerment, and agency that may help reduce childbirth fear, anxiety, and self-inefficacy. Birth Without Fear simultaneously acts as a form of childbirth education intended to empower women to birth fearlessly and also as a safe and supportive kinship cyber network where women can freely exchange, share, process, and make meaning of their birth experiences. Overall, themes of childbirth empowerment, affirmation, and support suggest that positive, empowering birth discourses may help socialize American women to birth fearlessly, embody self-efficacy, agency and empowerment during birth, and have more positive birth experiences overall.