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Birth Imagery, Metaphor, and Myth

  • By: Lori A. Walters-Kramer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Through language and imagery, birth has been used as a vehicle to elucidate other concepts, usually new, complex, or controversial. Often, representations of birth are metaphors for creativity or beginnings. Accordingly, birth metaphors appear in creation narratives and holy texts. Writers and other artists have also employed birth imagery to address issues such as feminism and even war.

Visual and oral symbols convey and shape a society's ideologies about the world, including the event of birth. The language and images chosen to represent the birthing experience echo and perpetuate the presumptions of a community of symbol-users. As a result, there is a relatively homogeneous comprehension of birth and birthing practices, which has been questioned by academics, practitioners, and parents.

Birth in Religion

Scholars have drawn metaphor from religious ...

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