Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home Birth & Pop Culture

New York magazine profiles home birth midwife Cara Muhlhahn. She first gained widespread notice after appearing in Ricki Lake's documentary The Business of Being Born.

I'm really glad that the film has been successful in broadening the conversation about home birth. The information available is much more plentiful than when I planned my first home birth 7 years ago.

The tone of article is basically impartial. But my hackles are always raised, so I sensed an undercurrent of derision. Renegade midwives vs sensible obstetricians is a familiar but stale dichotomy.

The midwife in the piece comes off as very dismissive of c-sections and the hospital birthing experience across the board. I don't know if that is the product of editing or not, but my lay midwife has a great deal of respect for both. When they are warranted or if they are simply a better fit for the parents to be.

When I did my initial research in home birth I was really inspired by the Dutch health care model. With genuine choices and support for mothers wherever they began their labors and wherever they ended up actually giving birth. When feminists talk about choice and progressives at large talk about reforming health care this is a part of the platform I'd most like to see implemented.

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