Thursday, July 17, 2008

"The Business of Being Born"

Hi! This is Andie East, publicist at Seal Press and this is a guest post.

Last night I watched this truly amazing film, "The Business of Being Born". I'm sure most of you have just had the words "Ricki Lake" pop into your head and for good reason. She was the executive producer of the film and the film does feature her, and director Abby Epstein, in their quest to learn more about the capitalistic culture behind childbirth.

I learned that many women don't know their options when it comes to childbirth and that hospitals and doctors have things on a tight schedule that encourages interventions to speed up the process of labor. I also learned that laying flat on your back to give birth is the absolute worst option and, surprise surprise, rather than midwives being a more expensive and unsafe way to give birth, are actually more safe and less expensive. A midwife costs around $4,000 start to finish for a birth whereas a hospital birth that is completely normal will cost $13,000. In fact most doctors have never even seen a natural childbirth that does not involve drugs.

The most amazing part of the film were the numerous women who were documented having at home births. I can't tell you how beautiful it was to see a baby drop down from between a woman's legs, and have it held to her chest and then see the look of wonder and joy on each woman's face. Women in their own homes being held by their partners, their other children nearby patting the newborns head. It was amazing.

The saddest thing to me was that so many people didn't know the facts and figures and options when it comes to childbirth. It made me think of a book we published a few years ago called "Deliver This!" by Marisa Cohen. It's a comprehensive book about the choices out there and how to make them regardless of what you hear from doctors, friends or society.

Though what I'd really like to hear is your own labor stories. The choices you made when it comes to childbirth. I myself have never had a child and had never thought of having a child at home. But after watching "The Business of Being Born" I don't think I could do it any other way.

Let me know! What did you do? What did you experience? When are you going to see the film!


Browne Molyneux said...

There was something I found shocking about the business of being born. I knew of a woman who was on welfare. She had four children, she said after the second child they know longer gave her pain medication when she went into labor. As if it were some kind of punishment. I don't know if this is true or not, I would like to do some research, but I thought that was really shocking that you can be punished in that way in the United States, because you're having a baby and you're poor.

Andie East said...

I was shocked that they would push this expensive form of birth on people when there were easier, safer and cheaper options. But to be honest, I think it's terrible that someone like that would happen to someone in the US, but I"m not that shocked. The state of health care in this country is ridiculous, especially the way poor people are treated. Especially since in other countries they'll give any stranger health care from off the street. Even foreigners. And our citizens aren't even taken care of.

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