Monday, April 30, 2007
The Business of Being Born
I just got home from New York and I would say I am exhausted from partying all night except that I am still feeling a natural high from the main purpose of the trip: The premier of a documentary called "The Business of Being Born," produced by Abby Epstein with Ricki Lake (yes, that Ricki Lake) as the executive producer. The film, just shy of 90 minutes, makes a truly compelling case for home birth (one of Lake's sons were born at her home, in the tub) among low-risk women, showing how birth can become more complicated and medicalized in the hospital.
I make several appearances in the film to provide some historical and cultural context, but the true stars were those parents who welcomed the camera into their home or birth center to chronicle their babies' arrivals. The film also features many of America's 'rock stars' of birth, including midwife Ina May Gaskin, author Robbie Davis-Floyd, and public health expert Eugene Declercq, all of whom traveled great distances to attend the premier.
There are also home birth midwives who shine in this movie despite how little the mainstream knows about them. And of course, kudos to obstetricians in the film, who freely admit that low-risk births are boring and are better suited to be attended by midwives -- not doctors.
At the end of the movie, through which I experience a full range of emotions and choked back tears a few times, there was a standing ovatation from the packed theater. The producers were busy field pitches from potential buyers immediately after the screening, so it looks hopefully that the film will be widely distributed soon. I certainly hope so.