Image: PANGAIAN WILDS by Daniel Mirante. Thanks Daniel!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Business of Being Born

A couple nights ago we watched The Business of Being Born, produced by Ricki Lake. Ricki Lake?? I know, I was surprised too ... I almost expected cat-fights and paternity tests resulting in more fights, hair pulling .. you know, typical scenes from "talk" shows like hers back in the day. But I think motherhood has had its affect on Ricki and she's grown up a bit - this was a really well done film. It pretty much solidified in my mind and in Gregg's that we are definitely having a home birth.

What Western medicine (and undoubtedly other organizations with a vested interest) has done to this most incredible natural process is appalling to say the least. And very calculating .. they had to get rid of the competition, right? They stifled the midwife profession, making them look crazy, uneducated, unsanitary, not competent in the least to deliver a baby ... especially not in a home setting. They even put out propaganda with photos of midwives saying, "would you trust this woman to deliver you child?" Of course, then they were right there to give women another option ... "Be a modern woman, have your baby in a bright shiny clean hospital with male surgeons who have no experience in this field, and a bunch of drugs so you barely remember the experience!" (that was obviously not word-for-word ... I improvised) It worked. Women were duped ... scared into not trusting their own bodies, not trusting a profession that had been alive for hundreds of years. The deception continues today as seen in that article from the Detroit News posted on this site.

We got a lot of hard facts in The Business of Being Born: one of the most shocking - the majority of births done in a hospital are C-sections!! That's not even the shocking part ... the reason isn't that the majority of the babies are compromised .. it's because these "doctors" don't want to sit through a 12+ hour labor, they want to get home for dinner. Sickening. We also learned that the drugs that are given to induce labor and for pain actually cause complications and the need for the C-section in the first place. The docs know this, but don't communicate this little fact to their patients. So for me, I have concluded that they know exactly what they are doing ... creating an environment where the woman is out of her own mind and body, then they scare her and tell her if she doesn't want her baby to die then they have to go in and get it out - NOW.

Now, I know that my words are strong (I'm pregnant for godsake!), but before I get any emails I want to say this ... I do appreciate that the hospital is there in case of a REAL emergency. I know that there are mothers and babies that are at high risk and should go to a hospital for care. And I'm not saying that ALL doctors are lying, deceitful, self-centered assholes. I am saying that overall the system is flawed and has failed us as women. The fact that only 1% of births take place in the home, to me seems ridiculous. It is only that way because we have had intense fear placed into us that birthing is a terrifying and horrible experience. What's terrifying about it is the setting that most of them take place - the hospital! In the movie they show both home births and hospital births ... the home births are so much more peaceful and natural ... I just received an email from a friend and client of ours and this is what she wrote:

I was birthed at home, as were three of my siblings (my mother was herself a doula). I remember her giving birth to my brother while my sisters and I were eating oatmeal in the next room. No screaming, nothing scary (like we’ve all seen on t.v.) and then we all went in to see the new baby. It was fun!

Much different from what I have seen and heard about the birthing process. I have to say, before seeing this movie, I was pretty scared to have a natural birth ... how in the world would I be able to get through it with no drugs, no relief at all?? Now, it doesn't seem so scary ... it seems empowering as a woman to be present at the moment that I bring life into this world. Oh, and before I forget, another critical piece of information ... those drugs that are given to numb and induce also stop critical hormones from being released by mother ... the same hormones that are also released by baby that connect them, bond them together. This is why so many moms have a hard time breastfeeding and connecting with their child. It doesn't have to be this way for the majority of women!

So for us, it will be a home birth ... I want to have the full experience, to see my body in it's greatest form - giving life. We have started looking for a midwife .. if anyone has any recommondations, please send them our way. And for all the women pregnant or planning on having a child, please please educate yourselves on your options. Like everything else, we have to take responsibility for our own bodies, our health, our lives ... that means asking questions, researching the facts, making educated decisions that fall in line with our own beliefs and values - not just rolling over and submitting to "the man". No pun intended, really :)


Jen said...

Angela, I belong to a local natural parenting group, and several of the members are doulas and midwives. One of our members just had a HBA3C!! If you're interested,

Motherhood is so sacred. Savor every minute of this journey! :)

Stephany said...

Hi Angela! It's Stephany in San Francisco. When I lived in Ann Arbor in 2000-2001, I babysat/assisted the most wonderful woman, Anna Petru-Alf, a trained doula whom I met in the steam room at the YMCA, of all places. I know she knows many local midwives. She is a DREAM. The only way I know to contact her now is through the business her husband, Gregg (good name!) runs out of their home. He is a violin maker. You can locate/contact the Alfs via Good luck! They are just the most wonderful people. Feel free to tell them that their babysitter for Leo from 2000-2001 says hello!

crystalpomerico said...

i had this movie the day it came out on netflix. i kept it for a week and watched it every day and cried every single time. i love it. - crystalp

crystalpomerico said...

i had this movie the day it came out on netflix. i kept it for a week and watched it every day and cried every single time. i love it. - crystalp

idoru said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy. My wife gave birth just over 3 months ago. It was a natural birth in a hospital with a midwife. It was a wonderful and beautiful experience. Our birthing room had a view of the pacific ocean, and baby Milla came at sunrise after only 5 hours of early labor. Actual pushing took only 20 minutes. Mind you she was 1 week "late" and was "induced" at the last minute by breaking the membrane.

Here in Southern California, we have lost a great resource in midwife birth options when South Coast Medical Center closed their maternity ward (only 1 week after we gave birth to Milla). It was 1 of only 2 hospitals that grant hospital privileges to midwives in Orange County.

Our midwife, BJ has started an organization to draw awareness to this issue:

I know this location is far from you, but in case you have readers in the Southern California area looking for a midwife:

And finally, this post wouldn't be complete with pics of our little one: