The film “The Business of Being Born” allowed me to realize that a woman is responsible for how she treats her own body. The increased dependence on doctors, hospitals and Cesarean sections has caused birthing to be a medical emergency. Do women not have the right now to spend as much time as they want to in labor? The injection of drugs and a quick visit to the hospital is of utmost importance, rather than the woman’s experience. A mixture of capitalism, sexism and racism can explain this shift from the home to the hospital, as hospitals sought out a way to increase funds, and sexism and racism caused people to believe that doctors could perform births better than midwives who were often minorities. The film suggests that women can take control of their bodies and their birthing experience by choosing to have home births with midwives. This film highlights the role that the midwife plays in providing a calm, healthy birthing experience, compared to the intimidating and rushed experience in a hospital. The women who were shown to give birth at home were opposed to the hospital birth and wanted to experience birthing as naturally as possible, and in this way, they took control over what they wanted. Recognition that pregnancy is not an illness and does not require the help of a doctor is a powerful thing for certain women, and can allow them to reject normal practices of medicalization that typically go hand-in-hand with birthing. Knowing that infant mortality is higher here than in other countries, is it that a majority of women lack the knowledge about birthing options and that capitalization completely controls the woman’s choice? Is complete rejection of birthing in hospitals necessary to gain this responsibility over our bodies back?
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.