In the 10th grade I watched a movie for Biology class called The Miracle of Life; it was the scariest movie that I have ever seen and I literally had to leave class because I was crying so much. I cried through Biology and into my next class period. This is not a joke, KSO can vouch for me. Since then every time I see a birth I get an awful feeling in my body and I cannot watch, it truly truly disturbs me to my core–until today.
For whatever reason I decided to watch a documentary called The Business of Being Born which is all about birth in the US and the business surrounding the methods of labor and delivery. Overwhelmingly more women are getting c-sections and opting for medicated L&D over midwifery or natural child birth. I was skeptical of how much of the documentary I would be able to watch because I just of my past with birth. However, I have seen 5 births at this point and cried all of them because of how extremely beautiful they were.
I asked Jewels if she had seen the documentary because of all the friends I have and all the mothers I know (aside from my own, and hers) she is the most passionate about motherhood. Motherhood in its entirety, not just her own kid, there is a difference. That is not to say that my other mother friends are not great moms, but Jewels could and should have like a PhD in motherhood because she researches and reads and studies and asks questions and just knows her stuff. Anyway so she had seen it but expressed mixed emotions because she believes in natural childbirth but was not able to have one for her son. Which I
think know is a source of contention for her. I still plan on discussing it with her at some point because I know she will, and she knows how I feel about medicine…
However one of the women in the documentary said something interesting, “If I could do that I could do anything. To me that’s the power of birthing, and that is what we are taking away from women.” BOOM! It was like fireworks went off, the feminist in me wondered if this is a way to keep women in inferior to men? The liberal in me wondered if this is a way that conservatives get to use my body as some economic stimulus keeping doctors employed, pharmaceutical companies afloat and insurance companies in power? I just got so incredibly bothered by the fact that so many women opt out of this beautiful and wonderful experience and I wondered how many of us would choose it if we knew as much about natural birth as we did about hospital births? Not to be a total activist, I mean I know some people would still choose no pain and a warm hospital bed, but how many would not?
Then the academic in me wondered if all this shit we put in our bodies during L&D that disrupts our natural hormones is in anyway related to heightened mental health disorders for children, ADHD, Autism, etc. And lastly, the bonding…if I am absent from my birthing experience, what is the likelihood that this catalyzes postpartum depression? How does that affect the initial bonding experiences that mothers are meant to have with children?
The fact that it leaves me with more questions than answers really gives me an answer. I will not be having medicine during my childbirth. I find myself more and more skeptical of the western medical system, which sometimes causes problems with some of my Doctor friends. I just believe the human body is so amazing and that more often than we give ourselves credit for, we can heal ourselves. I do not enjoy being drugged and out of touch with my body and certainly will not accept that during childbirth unless it is a serious serious emergency. Who knew that when I was 15 years old that awful traumatic experience was just my inner Me making a statement about something that felt so wrong to her. Something that in no way represented an experience that I would one day have. And that at 28, 13 years later I would finally see the experience in a new light and be in such awe and hold so much reverence for mothers rather than looking at them like soldiers returned from war.
I am so happy that I got over my biggest fear and watched this documentary…not because I believe every single story or every single fact that was stated, but simply because it opened my eyes to my ability to choose my own way and my body’s knowledge of what is right for me.