"in my heart, i think a woman has two choices: either she's a feminist or a masochist" --gloria steinem

"the main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything . . . or nothing." --lady nancy astor

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Business of Being Born (changed my life)

Current mood: outraged

Last night, UCF hosted a screening of this film, followed by discussion with two midwives, an ob/gyn hospital nurse, directors from the Orlando chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (, and women who have had cesareans followed by vaginal births. I didn't know most of the information provided, and thought I was fairly educated. Almost 1 in 3 women have C-sections for low-risk labors--not necessarily by choice, but because giving birth has been co-opted by the medical industry, who forget that having babies is not a pathology, but a natural process that doesn't need medical intervention except in cases with serious complications. Healthy women are jacked up on Pitocen (which induces labor) to speed up contractions (can't have women taking too long to give birth), which makes labor more painful. Women are then encouraged to take (or beg for) epidurals, b/c of the increased levels of pain (and the fact that childbirth is painful, and many women are scared). The epidural consequently slows labor down, and b/c of the pre-determined timeline hospitals impose on women between the time of water breaking to labor, women are prematurely ushered into C-sections.

This is only a small piece of ONE issue related to "the business" of being born. The film blew my mind (and my students' minds--I brought my entire class to the screening) and if you have had or plan to have children (and even if you don't), the film will change your life. It's not available to a general audience yet, though they're pushing for it--but it will be available through NetFlix very soon. I'm going to ask the UCF Library to purchase it, as well. If I've ever encouraged you to see anything--you must see this.