If you are a loyal Giving Birth with Confidence reader or birth junkie (as we are affectionately called), you have probably seen Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s The Business of Being Born. If, however, you are just beginning your journey toward birth and motherhood, you may not have. If so, stop what your doing and See. It. Now! When I watched The Business of Being Born three years ago, I already knew so much about birth advocacy and yet, as I was pregnant with my second child at the time, the movie spoke to me, inspired me and made me realize that I needed to continue to advocate for women’s birthing rights.
Well, the directors of the original film — which caught on like wildfire, by the way — have done it again with the creation of More Business of Being Born, which is being released today. I was given the special privilege of viewing the movie in advance of the release so I could provide a review and give away a digital download to our readership. More Business of Being Born is actually a set of four films that provide a collection of real birth stories and concrete, practical information on choices in childbirth. The films are:
1: Down on The Farm: Conversations with Legendary Midwife Ina May Gaskin
2: Special Deliveries: Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight on Birth
3: Explore Your Options: Doulas, Birth Centers & C-Sections
4: The VBAC Dilemma: What Your Options Really Are
These series of films are a great follow up to The Business of Being Born because they delve deeper into subjects like birth choices, interventions, birthing locations and cesarean section, and because they offer a little something for everyone, depending on what you want to know. Anyone who has read books by Ina May Gaskin will love the first DVD in which Ricki and Abby spend time at The Farm talking to both Ina May and other midwives who attend births there. Among the discussions, they reflect on the reasons behind the rising rate of inductions and cesarean surgeries. Ina May’s comment caught me off guard, but was poignant — she said, “Doctors are being asked to do too much.” The conversation goes on to discuss Ina May’s more recent advocacy efforts to address the high rate of maternal mortality in the United States, an issue that needs more national attention.
The second film, “Special Deliveries,” is a video collage of several well-known celebrities sharing their birth stories. What gets your attention at first is the celebrities. What keeps your attention are the real narratives of women experiencing joy, fear, triumph, disappointment and empowerment. While their lifestyle may be out of reach for the average person, their birth experiences are just as real as any other woman. The take away from this DVD is that birth experiences can and will be different, and may not go according to “plan,” and that’s OK.
The real meat of the DVD set is found in the third film, “Explore Your Options: Doulas, Birth Centers & C-Sections.” If your goal is to learn more about general childbirth options and you could only watch one film, this is the one you want to see. The video talks in depth about — and shows real footage of — doulas and what they do. As informed as I am on doulas, I found this piece very informational. The film also discusses the difference between a hospital and birth center, and further outlines the difference between a hospital birth center and freestanding birth center. The remainder of the film talks about two of the biggest controversies in our maternity care system today: cesarean surgery and induction.
For those looking for more information on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), “The VBAC Dilemma” is worth viewing. The fourth DVD in the set gives a run-down on the history and complexity of the VBAC issue, the real and perceived risks, the current medical attitude (driven by liability) and the option of home birth after cesarean (HBAC). Weaved into practical information and facts are stories of women who have successfully achieved VBAC and those who had a repeat cesarean.
The resounding message from the films is that birth is not about where you do it — be it hospital, home, birth center or wheat field — it’s about having choices and attaining the knowledge necessary to make the best choices for you and your baby.
Here’s the Giveaway!
The powers that be at More Business of Being Born have provided us with a digital download of the DVD set to give away to one lucky Giving Birth with Confidence reader! To enter, leave a comment on this post answering: Why do you want to see this film? The giveaway closes on Sunday, November 13 and the winner will be announced here on the blog on Monday, November 14.
PS – The films can also be purchased individually or as a set to view digitally at www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com.