Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Birth in the media

At one time, when birth was taken out of the home and moved into the hospital, no one in our society actually saw birth. When childbirth classes started up and we moved into the more informational age, expecting couples might see a handful of births during their pregnancy in their childbirth classes. Now days, with reality t.v. and Health channels, etc. anyone that wants to see births can. However, is what they are seeing really telling them about Birth?

So many of these shows only follow complicated crazy births, where everything is an emergency. Even when thy 'try' to follow what might appear to be normal births, they all seem to be treated as an emergency waiting to happen. Very rarely do we get to see a really good, truly NORMAL birth.

A Normal birth that I am talking about is a very low intervention, vaginal birth. Where the mother is not induced and goes into labor on her own. She works with her labor, she trusts in her body and her baby, the birth unfolds and happens with support and help. The birth is not being directed by someone else outside herself telling her what to do and when. Some of these births can and do occasionally happen at hospitals. More often these types of normal births take place at birthing centers or at homes. Every once in a while I will happen upon a nice, fairly normal birth on one of the standard birth shows, however usually it is all about how scary we can make even normal things seem, by adding voice overs to what is being shown on screen. I have had a Labor & Delivery nurse tell me that the shows even scare her, when she knows that what they are saying in the voice over, and what they are showing on the screen are inconsistent, and do not show how things really are.

It seems that most of the channels out today that show birth shows, if they decide to show normal birth shows, call them by some sort of name that often carries a slightly negative connotation. Titles like, "Unconventional Birth" are tacked on to a show about women choosing to have unmedicated, or out of hospital births. The show was really good, but why the title? It seems that they have to have something a little edgy or they think the vast majority of people wouldn't watch it. One of the best shows I have seen that consistently shows normal births is, the Miami Birth Center - about a Midwife at a freestanding birth center, and they have really wonderful births. However, I don't know if this one is still airing, and last I heard it was on at 4 am or some other crazy time in the middle of the night, when very few people would be watching.

The channels, it seems, would rather show some crazy show where all the births are emergencies, most are surgical deliveries, and even if someone 'tries' to deliver naturally, they often fail in that attempt. Having been induced or having labor augmented artificially with drugs, the women are strapped into beds, and can't handle the intense drug induced contractions, and ask for drugs to deal with the pain. All of these interventions often lead to failure to progress, or fetal distress, and many women end up with cesarean sections. Sadly, this is in fact the way modern birth often plays out.

Women are afraid of birth. They hear the stories from their friends, about birth today, and they hear the stories from their mothers and grandmothers about birth in yester-year when birth was in fact pretty scary, mom's were dropped off at the door, drugged and tied down. They often didn't see their baby until a day or two after birth. This is the legacy we've provided for our sisters and our daughters... and now, to add to it, they can tun on the t.v. and right in the middle of their own living room, they can watch emergency births with all the fear mongering that the producers intended. No wonder most mom's are afraid of birth.

Today I read about a group who is trying to get a petition signed to encourage a station to produce and air a show about positive Normal births. If you are interested, check out the link and add your signature. Pass it on to your friends. Perhaps if we can get information about positive birth, less moms will go into the birth process so full of fear.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This is why I do what I do...

I read this blog post and felt like this doula & mother, puts into words quite nicely why we feel so passionate about birth and why we want to share this with others.

Check out her blog.