Perspectives on pregnancy and motherhood in literature, art, philosophy, and medicine: discussion reflection

On November 26th, 2021, the Uppsala MotherNet members arranged an interdisciplinary outreach event at Uppsala University on the subject “Perspectives on pregnancy and motherhood in literature, art, philosophy and medicine”. Four speakers were invited: Professor of Philosophy Jonna Bornemark (Södertörn University), art historian Ylva Hillström (Moderna Museet/The Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm), poet and writer Helena Granström, and MD Sara Sylvén, psychiatrist at Uppsala University Hospital.

Jonna Bornemark talked about her new book that will be published shortly on pregnancy, childbirth and childcare from a philosophical perspective. Helena Granström read from her novel Hysteros (2013) and a novel in print, Königsberg about the status of the unborn child. Sara Sylvén’s contribution dealt with post-partum depression which affect 10–15 percent of pregnant women and new mothers. Ylva Hillström presented the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002), noted for her female and mother sculptures (represented at Moderna Museet in Stockholm).

The presentations were followed by a conversation between the speakers and a spirited discussion with the audience. Among issues brought up were questions about the body – the limit between the maternal body and the child; maternity care, experiences of childbirth; feminist perspectives on pregnancy, childbirth and care.

Discussion was organized by Jules Kielmann, Lisa Grahn, Sigrid Schottenius Cullhed and Anna Williams

Moderator: Anna Williams