the business of being born

March 18, 2010

The other baby conversation we’ve had is concerning ideas for the actual birth itself.  This is a discussion that is in no way necessary at the present time, but it’s nice to have lots of time to ruminate on further choices.

It started on Netflix, with the ‘Watch Instantly’ movies.  One of the suggested movies for me was “The Business of Being Born,” a documentary produced by Ricki Lake.  I know, I know.  But I’m really glad I watched it.

There is a lot I didn’t know about birth, and a lot I still don’t know.  But I do know a lot more now about what options exist for the person giving birth.  I always sort of assumed I would give birth in a hospital, preferably one with a birthing center.  I hadn’t given much thought to midwives, water births, or home births.  But after watching this documentary, they’re all on our plate of options.

The documentary is anything but impartial, but sitting next to a medical student while watching it, I got to check in about its accuracy, and it got a fairly good rating.  Even with all the not-so-great stuff that can happen in hospitals (drugs when you might not need them, prolonged labors because of them, unnecessary C-sections), I don’t think all hospitals are bad (if the birth isn’t normal for any reason, they are absolutely necessary!)  Still, learning about the history of pressuring women to give birth a certain way, trying out drugs on women without knowing for sure what the results would be, and putting women in positions that are not ideal for their body to birth the baby were really interesting, and sad.  For normal births, having a midwife can be calm, personalized, and authentic.  Having a home birth can make you feel comfortable and unpressured, and can give you more control over your surroundings.

I want to emphasize here that I understand that sometimes you really need to be in a hospital to give birth, and I totally respect anyone who chooses to be in a hospital or have a doctor over a midwife (if not both).  But I’m just really pleased to learn about other options, too.  Seeing some of the beautiful births in this movie made me excited about the prospect of giving birth! How rare is that these days? I think it is so often made out to be this awful, terrifying experience.   I feel lucky that I will have the opportunity to have this experience, and lucky that I’ve been able to learn about  these options in advance…



  1. Hey! I just watched this movie today/yesterday and I thought it was fascinating… very interesting. I admit that it made me cry a lot. Babies everywhere!

  2. So John and I watched this on your recommendation and really enjoyed it. I mean, aside from all the crying I did. I agree with your assessment completely, and it was good to hear Kelsey’s point of view. Of course, I’m not really in the best frame of mind to be watching movies about having babies. What I mean by that is… I want to be having babies, dammit! I am a bit impatient.

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