A few people told me to watch the first movie a while ago and I have to admit I dragged my feet a bit. I'm not a big fan of documentaries because you can't unwatch horrible shit and I didn't want to see bad things happen to babies. Plus, I considered the medical system my only birthing option when I was pregnant and I didn't want that ruined. If truth be told, I'm a little bit of an ostrich that way.
Thankfully, I did suck it up and watch it and it was amazing. It's not graphic or creepy but merely points out how we give birth in North America came to be and how that may not be the only, or even best way. I came away feeling enlightened and much more "fuck yeah" about the way a woman's body is made to give birth whether you are at home or within arms reach of the machine that goes 'ping'.
So when I got an email asking me if I'd like to watch More Business of Being Born (or Being Born with a Vengeance! if it was in the Die Hard series), I jumped at the chance.
The series is broken down into 4 DVDs. Each dealing with a different aspect of birth.
The first DVD is Down on the Farm: Conversations with Legendary Midwife Ina May Gaskin. Now as far as I'm concerned, Ina May Gaskin in the Obi Wan Kenobi of midwifery and she is the kind of person that anyone would want around while giving birth. She's kind, brilliant, articulate and knows everything about birthin' babies and is one of the main reasons that people are starting to realize what a valuable resource midwives are.
The DVD features The Farm Community in Tennessee and introduces us to a number of wonderful women that are skilled in the art of helping women bring babies into the world. They talk about some of their techniques, the history behind what they do, and give us just a glimmer of their unbelievable wisdom.
I loved everything about this DVD except for two things: One, there was some talk about ultrasounds, pitocin, epidurals and the combination of them playing a part in the cause of autism. As you know this is very close to home for me, and while I think it was a VERY valid observation made by the midwife, I don't think that kind of speculation should be put in the film. Not. Fucking. Cool.
Secondly, at the end of the DVD they featured the Safe Motherhood Quilt which featured the names of women that died due to complications from hospital births. Again, I think this is a very lovely idea and noble endeavour but for any woman watching that has to have a hospital birth because of a high risk pregnancy, this might be really scary and I don't think that's helpful. Considering the audience that this movie will probably attract, I thought both were irresponsible editing decisions.
Still, the brilliance of the Lady Garden Goddess, Ina May Gaskin, far outweighed those two glitches and I think it gives wonderful insight into the world of midwives.
The second DVD is Special Deliveries: Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight on Birth. All I could think of before watching this one is, "Great. I get to hear all about Gisele Bundchen's birth and how she's better than me on another 18 levels."
I mean, why would I care how celebrities gave birth? You know why, because it gave me context. Sure, I don't *know* these women but I do know *of* them so it made it that much more applicable to me. By the end I was thinking, "If Sabrina the Teenage Witch can give birth naturally, I bet I could too." and that is saying something. All the women had great, honest stories that were the real deal. None of this "there was no pain and it was only magical" horseshit.
I really loved Alanis Morissette's birth story (even though there was an entire sentence she said that I had to Google) because it was humble and honest and awesome and that surprised me. I also realized that Gisele Bundchen isn't 18 levels better than me, she's about 82 levels better than me because she's pure and calm and that kind of South American wise that makes me feel like a greasy Oompa Loompa. I'd like to curl up at her feet and stare at her adoringly (then secretly fois gois butter down her throat while she slept to pack on some pounds – that kind of thin, beautiful and nice just can't happen. I'm sorry.)
This DVD was awesome and even if you don't plan on having a natural home birth, I think it gives you a great feeling of "Yeah, but I could if I wanted to" and that's the kind of perspective we could all use.
[Side note: almost everyone in the second DVD seemed to be wearing the same awesome gold hoop earrings. Now I need a pair.]
The third DVD is Explore Your Options: Doulas, Birth Centers & C-Sections. This DVD is chalked full of incredible information and I totally could have used this back when I thought the difference between a midwife and a doula was someone who yelled "push" and someone in birkenstocks who didn't wear deodorant (I won't tell you which I thought was which).
I did feel they got a little heavy in the c-section portion at times, but maybe you do have to spark a little fire to get the pendulum to swing back to center. Some of the statistics in this are unbelievable and I found it to be a real eye opener. Even if you have a scheduled c-section booked, I think it's a great insight to what's up with them.
The fourth DVD is The VBAC Dilemma: What Your Options Really Are. Seeing as I was talked into a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) by my doctor, it just blows my mind that there are places that won't actually let you try a VBAC. So this DVD really helps wade through the myths and the facts about VBACs. Handy tips like, will your uterus actually blow apart like a Go Diego Go piñata as many of the medical professionals imply. The madness in this video makes want to kick down a door and piss in an office plant like an angry feral cat. It really never does cease to amaze me how people can dictate the way you get a person out of you.
All in all, I really can't express how comprehensive and valuable these DVDs are. Save your Thursday nights and just watch these instead of going to pre-natal class (if you're like me, you're just sizing up who had gained more weight than you instead of watching the acid-wash birth movie from 1982 anyway).
Even if you know exactly how you want to give birth, it's such a great way to really get a holistic picture of what's out there. There was just so much that I had never given much thought to when I was pregnant as I kind of clicked into auto-pilot because I was treading in an area where I didn't have much experience. I didn't feel like it was the time to venture out and wanted "the most common way" women gave birth because I thought that translated into the safest way for me and my baby which isn't always the case. In fact, I now know that the only knowledge I really had at the time were the horror stories people had told me and movie birth – you know, when she's screaming in a hospital then grabs someone by the shirt and yells, "Get this baby out of me!". Hugh Grant is often involved.
Anyway, I have no rating system so I give it 10 hell yeahs and fuckin' eh! Which is pretty damn good.
Best part is if you leave a comment below, you will be entered to win a digital download for each of the DVDs. I'll draw a winner next Tuesday (December 20th) because I was late posting today.
Good luck and please let me know what you think of the movie when you watch it. Here's the link again, www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com, cuz I'm pushy like that.