My research in philosophy of pregnancy and motherhood began when Elselijn Kingmaarrived at Southampton. She was working on the metaphysics of pregnancy. Talking to her convinced me (a) that there are loads of interesting philosophical issues surrounding pregnancy; (b) that these linked in, in lots of interesting ways, with things I was working on.
As my work developed, I realised that I was interested in philosophical issues surrounding motherhood more broadly, not just pregnancy. Elselijn and I are now running a series of projects on Philosophy of Pregnancy and Early Motherhood.
(For those who are curious the image above is a photo of me in academic robes while around 6 months pregnant with my second child. You might not be able to see this image on some devices.)
I'm also trying to use my work to improve the wellbeing of pregnant women and new mothers. I have two key areas of interest: (1) guilt and shame surrounding infant feeding decisions and (2) policy surrounding alcohol use in pregnancy. I am also interested in hyperemesis gravidarum or extreme pregnancy sickness
I worked with the NCT and the BFN to make Feeling Good About How We Feed Our Babies a website that uses my research and the research of Heather Trickey to try to help parents and family members, health professionals and others who provide support with feeding to have better conversations about how we feed our babies. This project was funded by a grant from the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at Southampton University.
For news of the response from myself and Elselijn to recent proposed changes to Dutch law increasing state powers to intervene when pregnant women smoke or abuse other substances see here. (The article was originally published in a Dutch newspaper. An English translation is available here.)
We held a workshop on The Breastfeeding Dilemma from 10am- 4pm on Wednesday 23rd March 2016 at London Southbank University, Keyworth Centre, Keyworth Street, London SE1 6NG. This workshops brought together academics, frontline practitioners and other interested parties to discuss how to support and encourage breastfeeding without subjecting those who make other feeding choices to blame and judgement. Due to popular demand, we also held a Breastfeeding Dilemma Virtual Workshop. To take part in the virtual workshop, please click here.