Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Business of Being Born

Wow! I just got back from seeing a screening of The Business of Being Born. It was fascinating! It's a documentary put together by Rikki Lake and it explores the way child-birth is done in the United States. Which is sad to say where Australian child-birth especially in the private sector seems to be going.

I think the biggest thing seems to be the fear surrounding childbirth. Women and Doctors are afraid. We're afraid of the pain and the unknown and we don't believe that our bodies can birth our children without a ton of medical intervention. But if that were truly the case then the human race would've died out many years ago. The fact that childbirth death rates were so high not so long ago was because of cross-infection from medical ignorance moreso than complications. Also, Doctors are afraid of litigation and being sued so they cover their butts by jumping to the c-section fast because then in a court of law they can claim they did everything they could to save the baby.

I don't claim to be perfect and I don't claim to have all the answers but I must say that giving birth was the most amazing experience I've ever had. It was hard work! It was painful! But it was amazing. I can only attribute my success in having the birth I envisioned to having had great childbirth education classes followed by a belief that my body could do the job of birthing my baby. And of course the grace of God to strengthen me and get me through. I also am not saying that all births can be like mine just because of these factors. We live in a fallen world that is tainted by sin and because of that our bodies will not always work the way they're supposed to but I think this fear that they won't work and belief that most of the time they won't is a self-fulfilling prophesy. We need to believe that God created our bodies to give birth and 90%+ of the time they can. (The World Health Organization believes that c-sections should not happen any more than 5-10% of the time.) In Australia the c-section rate is the highest in the world at 31%.

A couple of books that I found helpful reading when pregnant and will be revisiting if and when I should get pregnant again are:

New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas
The Pregnancy Book & The Birth Book by William & Martha Sears

There are of course tons and tons of other great birth books out there but these ones are the ones that stick out in my mind. Also watching several natural childbirths really gave me the courage and belief that my body could do it.

Editing to Add this on May 4, 2008. A message board I visit had a link to the whole documentary available online. Definitely worth watching especially if you're planning on giving birth soon or again in your life-time, but you'll probably need fast download to be able to enjoy it properly!


erika said...

I just blogged about this movie too!!! Can I add a link to your blog from my blog?

Rachel said...

You can defintiely link here!

Anonymous said...

I just commented on erika's about this - have been meaning to send you the link to my aunties midwifery blog on home births - am sure you'll find it interesting!