Posted by: amamasblog | February 28, 2008

The Business of Being Born – My Review

This post has moved, and can now be found by clicking HERE (you may have to click on the link in the pop-up window that appears).  It has been moved to the new A Mama’s Blog site.  Thank you.



  1. My First Born Daughter,HEATHER,

    Everything that you wrote is so true, factual, and meaningful.
    My computer is so screwed up I can barely type /correct, so pls. excuse the typos.

    Though I never had to endure a C-Section, I hated the Hospital experience with your bother Jeff in 1970, when I was the only nursing mother on the floor, (60 babies) ! He cried in hunger while awaiting a 4 hr magic hour,when he was “supposed to be hungry”. When they finally brought him to me he was sound asleep, too exhausted to nurse. When I was child myMother taught me the importance of nursing.I could never have bucked the system without her advice.

    Next… MY Dear Heather’s “Hospital Rooming-In” Birth Experience…in the 1970’s Still awful.. And if you are interested:

    Finally,two wonderful,bondingHealthful, and Loving ,HOMEBIRTHS Stories.

  2. I’ve been debating whether or not to try and get a hold of this before my own birth as Im trying to protect me mental birth space 🙂 . I love your description of it!!

    It’s interesting because I had 2 hospital births but chose a home birth this time. I wasn’t sure about my decision, really – there’s a lot of scary info out there and sometimes the hospital *is* the safest place to birth. Then I spent 24 hours there and I am SO GLAD I’m birthing at home. You and I know that the hospital in question is a GOOD hospital. But it’s still a different system. Things like…I was strapped down to the bed, they couldn’t just ask me and trust that I would know if I was having contractions. And they could “never” find his HB until the last nurse who actually asked ME where he was and lo and behold, his HB was right where I said it was. It’s just an entire system that relies on technology over women’s own knowledge of their bodies. And it really does an enormous disservice to women.

    I find it flooring that I believe so much in home birth now, since I come from a medical background and was taught to worship “information” and technology. What I really wish is that there could be a medical system where women were free to birth how they need to AND have access to emergency care if needed. I think we’ll need a system-wide lobotomy for THAT to happen though!

    You’d really enjoy the book “Pushed” by Jennifer Block (I know you’ve written about it before!). It goes into why all this technology isn’t helpful or even accurate. One statistic I remember from there is that in Germany 70% of breech babies are born vaginally. This DOES mean that c/s is necessary in some cases. And it leaves me wondering why, if vaginal breech birth is safe for the majority of German women, why it’s so, so dangerous for American women?

    Awesome post, Heather!

    And you didn’t fail Ryan. You did the best with the information you had at the time. That’s all any mother can do!

  3. Thanks Mom, & Feedingtime.

    Mom, if you can write your experiences, despite your computer, I am sure people would like to read about birthing in the 70’s and what drove so many women to home births back then. By the way, the film does touch on that topic too, just like you have said over the years.

    Feedingtime, you make a good point that I didn’t even touch on, that this film was NOT anti-hospital / doctors. The filmmaker actually *needed* an emergency C-section, and her baby probably would have died with out it. Like you said the hospital at times is the best and safest place to be born- but aside from those true emergencies, that is where the film explores birthing in America. It is too bad there can’t be a happy medium. Maybe one day there will be.

    I don’t think I would watch this before you have your home birh. There are a lot of scenes from hospitals that I found disturbing, not even being pregnant. You never know when one of those scenes could get “stuck” in your mind- there was way more positive aspects, but if you are trying to perserve your mental birth space, I’d hold off until baby boy has been born. 🙂

    Thanks for thre reminder too, that I really, really, need to read Pushed too.

  4. I haven’t yet seen the film; I was actually googling to watch it on-line when I found your blog. I can totally relate to you & feeling angry about your birth! I feel that way about both of mine, and now am faced with deciding what to do with the babe now within.

    Great review! I hope you can work through your feelings. Birthing, no matter how it happens, is a wonderful, unique part of one’s womanhood.

  5. A wonderful commentary.
    The older gentleman who drew a great analogy to geographers is Marsden Wagner, M.D., M.S., see
    The gentleman with a heavy accent is Michel Odent, M.D., see

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