Friday, April 23, 2010

How television is ruining the beauty of birth...

   I recently was reading that TLC's 'Baby Story' will soon be airing a sequence of episodes documenting home births. This is great news. I am thrilled.
   It got me thinking however, about the shows more commonly known story. The hospital birth. In most episodes of 'Baby Story', it ends up becoming the same pattern or cascade of intervention. The mom starts contracting and everyone panics, they grabbed the bags and head to the hospital, they check mom she is a couple cm dilated, they admit mom to L&D, she gets an epidural, lays flat on her back, the doctor comes to check her, shes not progressing, cue the pitocin, Contractions get really intense and hard, mom isn't dilating fast enough and baby goes into distress, they all suit up and race to the OR. Then the parents get a couple glimpses of their newborn and they take him or her to the nursery while the doctor explains that they did "all they could" and at the end of the day "this is what needed to happen to save you and the baby..." I know, I know, this isn't always what happens, but wouldn't you agree, this is what happens on average in the American hospital, every day?
     No wonder American women have such a skewed idea of what normal birth should look like. This is what has become "the norm" in our culture. Interventions for normal healthy births, rushing the labor process and a 30% cesarean rate. It really saddens me. It makes me want to scream off a mountain to the American pregnant women "You can do this! This is what YOUR body is made to do and you CAN have a beautiful, natural and amazing experience!"
   Why has it gotten to this? Well my theory is that doctors like the control, they like that they can take the unpredictability out of birth and do it on their terms. "But that isn't right!" you say... Well it isn't!  Women need to take back the power and fight to get the birth they want nowadays. How horrible of a thought is that. We have to fight for a human right!
  Anyway, back to my original thoughts. I am so pleased to hear that normal birth, (home birth or not) is going to be shown on this show. In my opinion, for this show, this is a very rare occurrence. I am glad that people who are ignorant about home birth will be able to see that it is not a scary, dirty, and risky thing. I hope this will soften the minds of many and fuel many more to give birth themselves in the comfort and safety of home.
Photo (c) S. Meeuwissen

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