My husband Ryan and I watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born” last night. As expectant parents, this might sound strange, but after watching the film, the actual notion of BIRTH itself hit home for me. It felt like the tip of the iceberg of information for the many questions already formulating in my mind. I realize now, that sadly, so much of the birthing and prenatal process is doing what we’re told to do. Without doing the research outside of what the doctor tells you, you follow western guidelines through the eyes of an OB/GYN and “normal” hospital procedures. As a complete novice to the world of pregnancy even with the experience of having worked with several pre and post natal woman along their journey… this film was eye opening for me.
“The Business of Being Born” was produced by Ricki Lake and follows different women (along with the actual film maker herself who was pregnant at the time) throughout their pregnancies. It focuses a lot on the medicalized experience at the hospital vs. a home birth. Often times, what we fail to realize as women who are going through this process is that much of the birthing experience is widely based on fear. Women are made to feel like they aren’t strong enough to withstand the pain of birth when actually we’ve been doing it for years… (think cave woman style) without the help of meds, epidurals, pitocin, etc.
Speaking from my own experience, when the initial news of the pregnancy happened, it was SUCH a loaded feeling. A mix of total excitement, absolute terror and then “now what?” When we first found out, the news came at a very bittersweet time. Ryan’s father had just passed away unexpectedly and two days after, we found out. We had the memorial weekend to get through first and then proceeded to tell our families. All I kept thinking about at the time, was that there was another soul inside of my body. That feeling was so real and so unknown. I felt that because of the recent passing of Ryan’s Dad, this pregnancy was meant to be. A true illustration of the circle of life… such a beautiful and hard thing.
With all there is to think about with pregnancy, oddly enough – the first thing wasn’t the birth itself for me. It was more like “will it be a boy or a girl” “will everything be viable with the pregnancy” worries and fears about all that could or might go wrong… then the excitement around the actual planning, while the change in the body starts to occur – it is seriously endless. When it came to thinking about the birth, I don’t feel like it truly set in until I saw this movie last night. I have thought about it on a somewhat superficial level, but envisioning myself in the actual moment is an entirely different thing. Obvious realization: in order to experience the joys of this child we are bringing into the world, I will have to give birth to him.
Here I am in full awareness now. I have planned on a hospital birth up until this point, and truthfully I feel I might still go with the hospital birth. The home births that were featured in the movie seem much more up my alley, but I can’t lie and say that because I have never done this before, being in a hospital provides me with a sense of safety. We hired a doula as well, and that also provides me with a great sense of comfort to take on birth feeling fulling supported. With that being said, I feel that it would be a diservice to myself to not research other avenues. In these next few weeks, I plan on meeting with both a home birth midwife as well as a hospital midwife just to see what some of the differences/pros/cons are.
The more information we have about the actual birth process itself, the better we can formulate the birthing plan that is right for us. As as yoga teacher and massage therapist, I would coin myself as someone who is very in tune with my body and my mind. Because of that, I truly want to create through empowerment of knowledge, the space for a calm birth not out of fear, but out of strength.