20/20 Shame

2 January 2009 at 11:22 pm 2 comments

20/20 aired a segment on Orgasmic Birth that many of us have been waiting to see since the spring. The segment was fairly even-handed and Debra Pascali-Bonari should feel very proud to what her film has contributed to the larger conversation about birth and the mother’s mental state.

After  additional segments that could have been called “Wacky Things Women Do” it featured serial surrogate mothers who have birthed more than one dozen babies, women nursing their children past the age of five, women who spend thousands of dollars on newborn dolls and stroll them outside, and finally the most outlandish segment on homebirth. 

While interviewing the woman who authored the book Unassisted Childbirth, they began to weave clips from the Business of Being Born with new footage of Elizabeth Vargas interviewing film creators Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, not clearly explaining that homebirth is usually overseen by some sort of midwife.

I kept waiting for the voice over to explain the choice of homebirth with an attending midwife as a more popular choice, but midwives were never discuss in detail. The producers intentionally blurred the distinction between homebirth with certified midwives and unassisted birth. They had to to make the homebirth segment seem more fitting with with the other “Wacky Things Women Do.”

It is pretty offensive for mothers who researched the safest birth options with the least intervention with midwives to be compared to the sincerely sad, childless women spending thousands of dollars on newborn dolls to get strangers to talk to them.

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Protection for Breastfeeding Mothers Breastfeeding photos pulled from facebook

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah  |  10 February 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I had the same reaction–home birth and unassisted birth are not the same. Just like breastfeeding a 2 YO is not the same as breastfeeding a 9 YO. Very frustrating.

    I work with a nonprofit that is sponsoring a contest with a $1000 prize for the best educational video about options during pregnancy and childbirth. It would be fantastic if you wanted to help us spread the word by blogging about it, sharing with all your local contacts, etc.. Contest rules are here: http://www.birthmattersva.org/videocontest.html or you can send people to the Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=73753459808#/group.php?sid=e146cf29ff029d1148a6a465af742146&gid=73753459808

    Reply
  • 2. Sheryl  |  28 March 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I agree.

    I am a loud and proud advocate of unassisted birthing for low risk women so on one hand I am glad to see any media coverage that exposes this option but I also feel that the whole concept of UC/Homebirthing etc was lumped together with the doll thing and even the surrogates, giving the autonomous birthing option a bad rap.

    Reply

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