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The Business of Being Born

March 4, 2008

I heard about this film a while back and planned to go see it at a screening at the Civic Theater in Downtown Farmington. Then I said to myself, “K, you’re not very good with medical stuff or birthing scenes…maybe you want to watch this one at home.”


I sat down to watch the movie on Friday night after Jenni and Ellie left (and before D got home – it is not his type of movie). The film advocates for home and natural births and argues that hospitals and doctors all too often unnecessarily intervene in the birthing process for their own convenience and monetary gain.I don’t really have the time or desire to write a well thought out essay on this so here are just a series of thoughts:

  • The movie reports that in most other countries 70% of births are attended to by midwives. Interesting. The movie also stated that the US has the second highest infant mortality rate in the developed world. I did not know either of these facts and think they are both good for consideration and thought when thinking about the medical practices of our country.
  • I probably could never be sold on the “home birth” idea. I’ve just heard too many terrible stories about this experience. I’m sure there are lots of positive stories about this experience as well but I am far too cautious to ever be comfortable with it.
  • Birth is an incredibly natural thing for the body to do; women’s bodies are designed by God for this and I can see how some of the interventions (pitocin, scheduled c-sections, etc.) may be done more for the sake of convenience rather than the well-being of the mother and child.
  • This decision is highly personal and has to be chosen by the couple having the child. Someone with a history of medical problems or complications may feel more comfortable at a hospital with an OB/GYN. Someone more interested in natural methods and who has had few, if any, complications may be just fine with a birthing center or home birth. There is no right or wrong – just a matter of preference. I think the vast majority of mothers are making the choice they feel is best for their child. This is demonstrated in in the film through the relationship between Ricki Lake (yes, I know) and her friend, Abby Epstein. Ricki, a proponent of home birth, encourages Abby to purse this method. Through various scenes, you can tell that Abby does so reluctantly. Certain scenes show her asking her midwife questions about what will happen if she changes her mind at the last minute or if something goes wrong. In the end, Abby’s child is breach and she has to go to a hospital for a c-section.
  • What the human body is capable of is incredible – regardless or whether it is done with or without an epidural.
  • It is a miracle! Despite my apprehension, I watched each birthing scene in the film from the at home birth to the birthing center to the c-section. The most incredible thing of all is that God has a plan for each of these children and it does not matter how they came in to the world.

Now, just for the sake of clarity, no one who writes for this blog is having a baby anytime soon. Reminder: I work for a pregnancy center and it is my job to be interested in these things. Don’t go jumping to any hasty conclusions. This film is pretty good and is interesting for anyone to watch who is interested in women’s health and pregnancy. Just a warning – probably not a family movie night type of thing. Parts of the movie are very similar to what you might see in a college biology class.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Cheryl permalink
    March 4, 2008 10:54 pm

    Oooo! Can’t wait to see it. I’ve been waiting and it’s in my que at Netflix. Hopefully soon!Love your disclaimer too…didn’t even think anything of it until I read it…but I’m sure you hear that question all of the time, don’t you?!!

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