Today's movie review is also going to be a little of another one of my rants. Because it's a documentary on something that I feel more passionate about than almost anything in the whole world: Home Birth. The film is called The Buisness of Being Born and I personally think it should be made illegal for a woman to give birth without watching this film -- yes, this is an extreme statement... but women need to be educated about all of the different birthing paths that are available, weigh the pro's and con's, and then learn to TRUST their bodies and make the right decision for them personally so that they do not feel cheated later on (and some women's birth path leads them to a hospital - so please don't think I'm condemning all women whose bodies and mind need this way over the home birth way).
I know some of you are feeling a tighness in your chest right about now, relax, I'm not going to make you feel like an awful person because you chose or may choose a hospital birth and may also choose or have chosen an epidural. But, I will say how I feel about this topic because I don't think enough women who share my passion do. And that can make the rest of us feel very alone when we actually aren't. There is strength in community, and this is one of those things we need to hold tight to and support eachother on.
I haven't had a child yet, but I can honestly say that it's something I look forward to every single day of my life. We are somehow given these bodies, and they are so extrordinary that they are able to not only produce life, but give birth to it. It is the one thing that separates us from our male counterparts, our birth right. So why has our country become so afraid of birth? Afraid in the sense that it's become the norm for women to want the outcome of the baby, but skip the 9 months of pregnancy (or should I say, the gaining weight part) and especially skip the entire birth process and pain that comes with it. Some women would rather schedule a c-section and then follow that up with an immediate tummy tuck and magically have a baby at the end of it all.
Men don't understand the relationship that a woman has with her unborn child, so sometimes the idea of a home birth isn't something they're going to jump on board with right away. And a lot of the time, the woman who chooses to home birth is hassled and made fun of and called a bad mother by other women, women she looks up to and respects. Is it ever bad mothering when the child's best interests are at heart? On the same note, is it ever bad mothering when a woman chooses to trust her body to do something that bodies have been doing since the beginning of time?
It's not fair that women have to constantly battle the way they chose to mother - they battle against mainstream society, the media, their friends, their families, and sometimes their own husbands. And I feel this battle even now, as a twenty-something who doesn't see a child in my future for at least two or three more years. I hear women constantly talking about how afraid they are of birth, and when I'm not afraid there are times that my ideas are shunned because of it. I'm told that I live in a fantasy world because I want to experience my birth, and I want to feel it and wrestle with it and come out the other side a stronger woman because of it. And I'm not willing to compromise on that.
The United States has the second highest infant mortality rate of all industrialized nations in the world. We are also a nation that has normalized hospital pregnancies and have stopped listening to our bodies. We don't listen to our bodies about what's healthy to eat, drink, or do... so I guess sadly this is another instance where we aren't listening. And when you aren't listening, the universe will make you listen. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but there will come a time when we learn the consequences of our actions. The consequences of our constant battle with nature (my guess is it will come in the form of an idea about why adhd and autism and sids are so prevelant in our country).
Many women are afraid to give birth at home, but I am afraid to have birth in a hospital. Afraid that my birth plan won't be cherished and I'll be given Pitocin when I don't go into labor on the doctor's schedule, talked into an epidural, and then have my baby rushed away into another room for vaccines and a circumcision. The thought of trusting surgeons over my own body and insticts quite frankly creeps me out and is one of the scariest things I could ever imagine. If I am not sick and my baby is not sick, there is no reason for us to be in a hospital which has been designed for sick people.
I hope at this point I have at least sparked your interest and if you haven't before, you'll take time to research the benefits of a home birth rather than letting our culture make you believe there is only one right way to give birth. And if you aren't willing to do the research, I at the very least hope you will think twice before judging a woman as she chooses the birth path that is right for her. Birth binds us all together as women, and if we aren't willing to support eachother in listening to our bodies then we really have nothing to gain and everything to lose.