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Concerning Maternity Part III: Ethics, Care and Subjectivity

The Concerning Maternity network at the University of Humanistic Studies welcomes you at this international conference on the 7th of May, where we will analyze and explore the lived experience of both pregnant and maternal subjectivity, as well as that of midwifery, in order to consider the question: what are pregnant and maternal subjectivities and how can maternity care attune to them adequately?

An increasing number of mothers and professionals in maternity care are advocating for Respectful Maternity Care, care that integrates the voices of pregnant and birthing people to be heard and taken into account. Pregnancy, giving birth and motherhood are unique and existentially transformative experiences, that can change the way one experiences oneself, one’s body, one’s relations to others, and to the world. Being relational in their core, pregnancy and maternity pose problems to the Western view on individuality as separate and demarcated, in both an ethical and an existential perspective. 

In order for Respectful Maternity Care to become a common ground in practice, two things need to be investigated on a theoretical level: 1) the potential of a new ethical framework suited specifically for the relationality at stake in maternity care; and 2) the possibility of a philosophical conception of the pregnant and maternal subject who we claim to be at the center of ‘woman-centered-care’. For who exactly is this person? What can we say about the subjectivity of carrying, birthing and taking care of a child? 

Please join us to discuss these questions with writers, mothers, midwives, and academics in midwifery theory, philosophy, care-ethics, and psychosocial theory. 


Professor of Midwifery and midwife Mavis Kirkham
PhD-student and midwife Bahareh Goodarzi
Professor of Philosophy of Childbirth Stella Villarmea 
Assistant Professor Care Ethics Inge van Nistelrooij 
Professor of Psychosocial Theory Lisa Baraitser 
Professor of Philosophy Jonna Bornemark 
Writer Neske Beks
Midwife and writer Beatrijs Smulders


Rodante van der Waal (PhD student)

Booking fees

(whole day including lunch, coffee, tea and a drink) €25
Students/ Low budgets: €10

Apply now

Venue, accessibility and children

The conference will take place at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The university can be easily is reached by public transport (not by car). It is at a 20 minutes walking distance from the central train-station.

We welcome people with disabilities and want to be of your assistance, please contact the reception: 030 2390100. 

Parents are welcome to bring their children and babies. If you need to pump breastmilk (kolven) during the conference, please notify one of the contactpersons listed below beforehand so a quiet room can be made available.   


If you would like further information, please contact: or

PDF-bestandFull programme

Contactpersoon Sophie Albers en Rodante van der Waal
Locatie Kromme Nieuwegracht 29, Utrecht
Datum 7-5-2019
Openingstijden 9:00-17:30
Toegankelijkheid mensen met een beperking Please contact the reception first, 030 2390100