Dr Rebekah Pryor on God Forbid podcast | The lifespan in modern Australia — Births and birthing

Earlier this month, Dr Rebekah Pryor, member of the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies, joined other experts on the ABC podcast God Forbid. The episode was the first in a series on the lifespan of modern Australia, and focused on birth and birthing. 

In modern Australia, what does it mean to be born, to live and love, and then to die?

Across the next three episodes, God Forbid will be exploring births, deaths and marriages – tracing the changing cultural and religious attitudes across a lifespan. Join James Carleton and the panel as they explore one of the most fundamental and defining moments: birth.

In this episode: 

As womens’ roles shift, so too have ideas about mothering, regarding both its appeal and anticipated challenges. How has the understanding of motherhood and birthing changed, from the stay-at-home mums of the post-war era to the contemporary mother trying to balance career and family?

Over 96% of Australian births take place in hospitals. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, this means they can be forced to travel thousands of kilometres and spend weeks away from their families to give birth. These women are often left alone and unprepared for life outside their remote communities. Health professionals say this outdated model is creating a human rights issue in need of urgent attention.

The decision to have children is an intimately personal one. Religion, culture and one’s family background can play a big role in that decision. Now added to that is a global pandemic, and a warming climate. What decisions about the future are Australians making in such an uncertain world?

Duration: 54 min 08 sec

Broadcast: Friday 12 August 2022

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Rhea Dempsey has been a birth educator and counsellor for over three decades. She’s attended thousands of births in both hospitals and in Australian homes. She is also the author of Beyond the Birth Plan – Getting real about pain and power.

Professor Yvette Roe has over 25 years of experience working in Indigenous health. She’s currently Chief Investigator of Birthing on Country, a research project that aims to improve maternity services for Indigenous women. She’s also a Njikena Jawuru woman from the West Kimberley in WA.

Rebekah Pryor is a visual artist, curator and scholar. She is also a Christian, and the author of Motherly: Reimagining the maternal body in feminist theology and contemporary art.

Presenter: James Carleton

Producers: Sam Carmody/ Sinead Lee

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