Friday, June 17, 2011
Why There Is No Excuse For Pregnant Mothers to Not Know
A recent LA Times piece that reports "a shockingly high number could not answer basic questions regarding the pros, cons or safety issues associated with epidurals, episiotomies, Cesareans and other childbirth options" has got me thinking alot about why I wrote the play BIRTH.
Back in 2004-2005 when I was interviewing pregnant mothers about their birth experience I continually got the line "I didn't know."
I DIDN'T KNOW that there could be complications from a c-section.
I DIDN'T KNOW that if I had an epidural my baby may get a fever and me too.
I DIDN'T KNOW that once I had the baby they were going to take him from me immediately.
and one of my all-time favorites:
I DIDN'T KNOW midwives delivered babies other than out in a cornfield in Iowa.
I needed a deep breath. And that deep breath turned into my play BIRTH.
While I found it shocking 10 years ago that pregnant mothers did not know so much basic information about childbirth, today it's not only shocking it's inexcusable. Ten years ago women only had a few okay childbirth books and if they were lucky they got to see one of a few low-budget films on childbirth that talked about birth options. Today pregnant women can literally swim in an ocean of empowering childbirth information - both on the web and in the theatre. There is no excuse for not knowing your childbirth options today.
In addition to my play BIRTH which is performed in locations around the world as part of the BOLD movement, there are now widely distributed films like Ricki Lake's super-fantastic The Business of Being Born (and her online community My Best Birth), Debra Pascali-Bonaro's passionate boundary-breaker Orgasmic Birth.
The information is out there for pregnant moms. And these creative efforts have had impact. So the question I ask myself is what next? What is the next step so that even more pregnant women "know"? (so that every pregnant mother knows!)
For me, I have recently gone beyond my play BIRTH to train birth workers in my FEAR to FREEDOM Birth Facilitators Program which uses my play BIRTH and other tools to empower pregnant mothers. And I'm thrilled to hear Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein's next step is doing more too. I believe their soon-to-be-released More Business of Being Born films and my FEAR to FREEDOM Birth education will revolutionize childbirth education to become a hip, upbeat experience where childbirth empowerment is not a dirty word but celebrated as a woman's right.
So when I read the LA Times piece today it made me even more determined to wake pregnant mothers up. (and the young doctors, who the article said, prefer to c-section mothers than encourage vaginal births).
Your birth choice is your birth choice, but to walk into your birth uninformed is not a choice. It's a cop-out. I know pregnant women are better than that. Let's learn how to shed the fear about childbirth that we've been taught by our culture and educate ourselves about an act that affects not only our baby's body, but our body.
As Amanda says in my play, "My Body Rocks!"
Do you want to rock? Know your birth options.
By the way, you can support More Business of Being Born to distribute it to the most people possible here.
The next FEAR to FREEDOM Birth Facilitators Training starts September 27! Our pre-launch class this summer has 31 women from 4 continents!