Since we're already piling up the posts about both mothers and
pregnancy, now seems like a good time to issue a call to action on an
issue that doesn't usually come up when we talk about reproductive
rights: home birth.
The 2007 documentary The Business of Being Born
was, for many women (and men) an eye-opening look at the increasing
medicalization of birth in America and a compelling illustration of the
way midwife-assisted home birth can be a powerful alternative to the
standard hosptial delivery. The film—which was produced by home-birth
advocate Ricki Lake—along with books like Jennifer Block's powerful and
well-researched Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern
Maternity Care, brought the subject of home birth out of the fringes
and into the mainstream. Soon enough, home birth was a hot topic in the
pages of the New York Times, Ricki Lake and BoBB director Abby Epstein's book Your Best Birth was published, celebrities like Cindy
Crawford, Demi Moore, and Lisa Bonet were testifying to their own
home-birth experiences, and birthing tubs were flying off the
Internet's virtual shelves.
Before I started writing about women's reproductive health, I'd pretty much resigned myself to being a film journalist for life. All the free movies, premieres and parties were a lot of fun, but I was beginning to think that my choice to give a film five stars or one star was being unfairly swayed by whether the complimentary pastry was stale or if the air conditioning was turned up too high.