“The Business of Being Born” is a passionate ground-level examination of home childbirth, anchored in a scene in which its executive producer, Ricki Lake, the actress and former talk-show host, gives birth to her second child in a bathtub. That graphic scene, and several other unblinking sequences of home birth attended by a midwife, are intended to erase any stigma from the situation. Practiced widely in Europe and Japan, home birth has largely disappeared in the United States, the documentary states, because of an image as a primitive, unsanitary ritual.” ~New York Times (for full article, click here.)
My mind-set before watching the film
As stated in my previous post, when January rolls around, my sweet husband and I have decided to have our baby at home with a midwife instead of going the now-traditional route of hospital birth.
If you asked me a year ago if I would rather have a hospital birth or a home birth, I probably would have said hospital or at least have been really on the fence about the decision. But after doing my own research, meeting with a midwife, and getting the privilege of watching my amazing friend deliver her baby at home, my husband and I realized that a home birth just sits right with us. I do not think home birth is right for everyone, but I believe it is important that all women know that it is an option available to them.
I want to also mention that I refused to watch “The Business of Being Born” before Taylor and I decided that we in fact wanted a home birth. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t jumping on any home birth bandwagons (sometimes I get really excited about ideas before I give them enough consideration). For our fellow Ozark House members, this film played a major role in introducing them to the idea of home birth, which is awesome since that is the main purpose of the film.
Over all, I found the film very interesting and full of information on how home birth went from the only way to bring a child into the world to what it is today, accounting for less than 1% of births in America.
Every single birth in the film made me break out in tears (I am gonna blame that on the pregnancy hormones). They did a great job of showing that birth is not scary like seen in most films. There isn’t always a lot of screaming or blaming the husband for doing this to her. It is a wonderful experience, yes hard and painful but amazing all the same. With that being said, WARNING: This film has a lot of tig ol’ mama bitties so be prepared!
But the births were all such beautiful pictures of pregnant women allowing their bodies to do what they were made to do, AND at the rate their bodies were meant to do it.
My last statement is in reference to how many hospitals handle the “business” side of birth. Hospitals can sometimes be like waiters in a restaurant: the faster each customer leaves, the more money the restaurant (or hospital) can make. Many (certainly not all) hospitals will only allow a woman to be in labor for so long before they want to take more unnatural steps to make the labor go faster. As the film talks about – and I have heard many personal stories of this happening – once pitocin is given, usually contractions are intensified and nearly unbearable, then comes the epidural, which slows down labor, so more pitocin is given, only to unfortunately end up in Cesarean section. I say “unfortunately” only for the women who go to the hospital wanting a natural birth, for whom ending up with a c-section would be the worst case scenario, given that both mom and baby are good and healthy. This vicious cycle gets women in and out of the hospital and also uses more procedures which fattens up the bill.
On a less soap box note, I did think the film was certainly one sided (which it would be) and though it tries to give good, unbiased facts, at some points almost demonizes the hospitals. Women should be very aware of what could happen if they give birth in a hospital in reference to the above paragraph, but not all doctors are out there trying to milk you for all you are worth (heehee “milk you”). There is even a little cartoon of a hospital birth that shows these evil looking nurses walking around looking mean. Though I am pro-home birth, I also believe that hospitals are good and necessary. Births are not emergency situations, in my opinion, but many women just feel more comfortable in a hospital.
One thing that the film did not mention that I thought was very important to note was the health conditions of most American women. I don’t think home birth is right for all women for two reasons: (1) if the individual is not comfortable with it, then home birth is not right for her. (2) Home birth is a very safe option IF the woman works hard on her diet and exercise. Just because birth is something that women have been doing for centuries does not mean that women have always been eating such processed and unhealthy foods as well as being so inactive. Birth is natural but Americans’ poor health is completely unnatural. Obesity is out of control and many diets consist of total crap. These women cannot have natural births because they wouldn’t make it through hours of labor, without coming to such a point of exhaustion that they would not be able to push.
This is assuming that they would be a low-risk pregnancy in the first place, which many American women are not. This is not a weight issue but a health issue.
This is an important point to me because now that I am pregnant, I fight the idea that I can eat whatever I want (which is so not true), and I am tired and don’t want to do my workouts all the time. Click here for some prenatal power foods.
I am not a health nut and it is really hard for me to be disciplined, but I know that everything that goes into my body can either help me the day of the birth or it can hurt me. I want to be ready for that day.
This film was certainly worth watching if just to educate people that home birth is not weird and totally hippie, but a real, safe option. If home births conflict with your personal preferences, that’s fine. The number one question I get now that I have said that I will be having my baby at home is, “Do you know the risks?”. I do know the risks of home birth, and I know the benefits as well. If you want to give birth to your baby in a hospital, I would like to know “Do you know the risks and the benefits of hospital birth?”. Don’t let your birth situation decision be automatic. Consider all the options.
Oh, and here is a picture of me and my little bell pepper at 18 weeks along!