This week’s viewing of “The Business of Being Born” and our reading, “The Sexual Politics of Sickness” forced me to realize that the overall responsibility of a woman’s relationship with her body began to deteriorate when the male dominated medical profession convinced her that she was inherently sick and in need of repair. This is not a new phenomenon, but one that has been in practice for over a century.
The early 20th century doctor’s view on pregnancy was pathological, with the primary focus being a “concern about prenatal impressions.” Once the pregnancy was over, a woman “could only look forward to menopause.” (Ehrenreich, English, 123) Nearly 100 years later, that idea has left a residue on the medical field and the notion of childbirth. Due to the fear of something going wrong and the anxiety of having pain, birthing is not viewed as a process but rather as something to be cured.
The movie showcased women who chose a home birth instead of a hospital birth. It highlighted how these women took responsibility over their own bodies and their own birthing experience. They made their own individual decisions to decline medical intervention out of awareness, not fear. I do not believe it’s a weakness to want or need pain medication or some form of medical intervention, but shouldn’t it be a choice? Shouldn’t it be an option and not the standard?
Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deidre English. For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Expert’s Advice to Women. 2nd. New York, New York : Anchor Books , 1978. Print.
Epstein, Abby, Amy Slotnick, Paulo Netto, Ricki Lake, Madeleine Gavin, and André Pluess. The Business of Being Born. Burbank, Calif.: New Line Home Entertainment, 2008.