The Business of Being Born

I just watched the Business of Being Born last night. It’s a documentary produced by Ricki Lake that explores the different options available to mothers and babies these days – and the costs associated with each choice. I recommend watching it if birth choices are something you are passionate about. I don’t recommend it if: 1. You’re a man 2. You are not either pregnant or already a mommy 3. You are easily offended.
I liked most parts of the documentary and it presented some interesting facts. Did you know that the c-section rate in the U.S. is the highest of any developed nation? I didn’t! In most other developed countries in the world, midwives attend 60-70% of all births. In the U.S., it is less than 1%, and the American Medical Association intends to keep it that way. The AMA does not want to allow someone who is not a doctor to do a “doctor’s work,” including delivering babies. I also learned that homebirth midwives are true professionals – they bring pitocin and other drugs should they be necessary, other medical equipment, and they have a detailed backup plan should anything go wrong.
On a more personal level, I learned something about induction using Pitocin that shocked me and made me cry. The filmmakers interviewed a doctor who explained that Pitocin (the induction drug which I was given) short-circuits the body’s natural form of that same hormone, oxytocin. Pitocin causes contractions, but oxytocin causes both contractions and strong feelings of attachment, love, and protection in the mother towards her soon-to-be-born child. The doctor mused that if all births become inductions, mothers on a whole will be less attached to their babies. Now – I know plenty of moms who were induced and did not experience postpartum depression. This is a topic I have left untouched on my blog up to this point. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if short-circuiting my body’s own hormones could have been partially responsible for my struggle with PPD. That’s all I’m going to say about that, draw your own conclusions – and don’t judge me please.
Oh, and don’t worry – I don’t think I’ll go the homebirth route for #2 – even after watching this movie. But I am considering a birth center when that day comes, a loooong time from now.

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4 responses to “The Business of Being Born

  1. I watched that movie a few weeks ago and it is actually very educational for us women who haven’t had children yet. Both my mother & mother-in-law had natural child births (mother-in-law had 2 at home). I used to think they were insane, but now I think they were brave to stand up for their beliefs. I think I might be the crazy crunchy lady who has a home birth…but we will wait and see on that one…..

  2. Well, cool! Maybe it was just my “feel” of the movie. It was very emotional for me to watch it. Maybe it would be a bit more objective without already having kiddos.

  3. Wow, Laura, I think that does explain a lot of your experiences. You were so close to labor that I wondered if you even needed pitocin or not. I, too, had a very emotional time of it after your birth with pitocin. I am glad I didn’t need anything like that the second and third time around. 🙂

  4. I am very thankful for you sharing those pieces of information. I was blessed to be able to go natural for both, and felt very pressured and bullied by the hospital staff. My cousin had a home birth last year and I may follow in her footsteps if the Lord allows for another child in our family. It takes a lot of strength to even question the medical community, thanks again for sharing and giving some things to think about.

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