Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Business of Being Born

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In the film The Business of Being Born, the process of birth is examined with a keen eye on home births and a strong skepticism towards hospital births. The producer, creator of the film, Ricki Lake takes her somewhat dying out flame of fame and puts it to a good use of exploring a woman’s issue; she battles the issue of how women can be forced into a certain type birthing experience they may or may not want. Also, the film investigates how hospitals work, the medicines, the business of it all, and compares it to midwifery and home birthing.

The film suggested that the increasing rate of C-Section births has greatly hampered the motherhood ultimate experience, the most natural high that one can get, giving birth naturally or vaginally. Although there are times in which one must give in to the surgical process of delivering in order to save the baby or even save the mother, the rate of opted C-Sections is more a fashion trend than a last minute necessity. The film gave a statistic saying that in 2005 1 out of 3 births were delivered by C-Section. Women’s reproductive health and care for the baby has decreased, thus the complications have increased or women have gotten so caught up in other factors of life that even planning their child’s birth has become something they pencil in. The amount of birthing shows, that more or less are horror stories of women giving birth in toilets, have greatly skewed the US woman’s idea of birth from a wonderful experience to a terrifying event.

To me, the idea of having babies is extremely scary, not necessarily because of these TV shows but because of the idea of being in a hospital. I am probably not the only woman who when thinking of hospitals, think of sad, sick, dying; I do not think about happy, life changing, feelings of ecstasy, yet this is what it should be life when having a child.  While watching the film, the midwives seemed soft, calm, and gentle. Whereas, doctors seem intimidating, powerful and almost like I would not be able to say no to anything like Pitocin or any other drug they give to mothers in labor. Doctors get to run the show, whereas with homebirths, the woman’s body does; it was like the women on the film having homebirths were not rushed, they let their bodies do what they needed to do. Not as much screaming or pushing with your legs bent up to your ears, but surrounded only by their husbands or boyfriends and the midwife.
The film was interesting, although it definitely was pro-home births and extremely anti-hospital birth. Although, I do believe there is a place in the world for both yet the film did make me want to consider if I ever would want to have children (which, the gruesome aspects of this film made my stomach turn, and turned me even more off to having babies), I could see myself wanting a homebirth. It was interesting that although the US has the “best” hospitals, better healthcare facilities for Americans, and that giving birth in a hospital is supposedly the safest and most common, the US still has the highest death rate among births. This film was insightful and changed my view on women’s reproductive rights even more.


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