This is the message on the May 3, 2009 blog posting of Amy Tuteur , whom I've mentioned here on this blog before. She is a mother of four herself, former clinical instructor at Harvard (I think we're supposed to be impressed and bow down, maybe?) and is hugely against home births. At least from her negative, biting, somewhat unprofessional criticism of it.
As I await a copy of "The Business of Being Born" on loan from the library, I think of how women have to fight every day to have home births in this country, and I bet Ricki Lake was like a shining ray of light in the darkness to them. A voice that said, 'Yes, you can do this!' Depending on where you live, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to get good support from the medical community when making this decision. And it's definitely a decision you don't make lightly. Whenever I'm in conversation with someone about the 'dangers of home birth,' I basically say, 'It's not like this person woke up this morning - the eve of their due date - and decided to do a home birth.'
It's interesting, though - if you do a Google search on 'celebrity home births' you'll get some fascinating hits. Celebs who have birthed at home include Meryl Streep, Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Demi Moore and Kelly Preston (some of them more than once). Maybe they wanted to avoid unnecessary interventions, avoid the paparazzi, or whatever - but who really cares? They did it. So how come I don't hear Dr. Amy blogging to Cindy, Pamela or Christy - all of whom have probably birthed less than a decade ago - to 'stop lying' about home births? Did they either have just really supportive doctors and midwives or were they 'too beautiful, rich and powerful' to be told "no"? What the heck?
Another Google search will reveal tons of criticism about Ricki Lake, though. Included among the headlines are "Ricki Lake's home birth film upsets the AMA," "AMA to Ricki Lake: No more babies in bathtubs, please" (as if), "Doctors unhappy about Ricki Lake's home birth movie," "Ricki Lake irresponsible to promote home birth," and of course the good doctor's blog headline. Curiously there is no criticism of the countless other celebrities who have also home birthed, maybe because they didn't have the guts to make a movie about it.
While I'm sure the AMA's fear about Ricki's movie is partly due to safety issues surrounding the baby and mother, it's also sending a very strong message to the mothers who want to avoid a hospital birth: not only do they not want masses of women 'jumping ship' and doing it 'their own way,' but that they don't trust you, or your care providers, to make good decisions regarding your care. Blogs like Dr. Amy's - "The Skeptical OB" - seem to reflect the feelings of the "industry" in general: that OB's are increasingly skeptical not only of women who deliver without interventions or pain meds, but also that women can make choices and decisions about their bodies and their unborn babies. Ironically, a woman's rights are more respected when she decides to abort her baby, but when she wants to keep it, it's as if she's merely a vessel and nothing more.
If anything, the movie should serve as a wake-up call to doctors and hospitals that perhaps there is a very good reason why these women chose to birth at home - and send a message to the "OB industry": that when YOU stop lying about c-sections, VBACs, and unnecessary interventions and get over your God Complex, Ricki will stop "lying" about home birth.
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