Last week my (future OB) friend, Annie, called me from NY to talk about the morning she’d had. Up there for interviews, she’d met one of the main homebirth back-up doctors featured in Ricki Lake’s documentary The Business of Being Born. That morning they’d had a showing of the movie for the residents and attendings.

A large number of them booed and catcalled during most of the movie.

(Did I mention one of their bosses is featured prominently as an obvious supporter of natural childbirth?)

Annie and I discussed for a long time the inherent polarization of the (vast majority of the) medical community versus natural advocates. And what angered me most with her story was that their behavior was shamefully arrogant and narrow-minded, and it attested to the same kind of patronizing attitudes I’ve encountered in my own experiences as a pregnant mother or doula. That is ridiculous on too many conceivable counts, but I’m not going to get into why, because I think that’s probably obvious no matter where you stand.

So this morning on my local parenting board someone posted last week’s review of the doc featured in Slate. And here’s the thing, I don’t totally disagree with the writer that it’s propaganda. Personally, on one hand, I wish there could be even-handed media to present – in an effort to quell the skeptical bias people already have towards unconventional practices like homebirth. But on the other hand, I totally understand why the movie needs to be so far that direction, because it’s fighting a monstrously large and insipid medical mentality, and it’s the shock value that usually wakes people up and makes them think. (And maybe you’re thinking even my wording’s dramatic, but.. well.. it really is the truth.)

But then the writer gleefully mentions how the director’s eventual breech c-section is a ‘counter argument’ for the cause. And that’s a perfect example of missing the freaking point: Very few people – very few- would say that there is never a need for medical intervention. Obviously this mama and her midwife decided it was time to go to the hospital. ACOG calls for 30 minutes as a window to prepare for a normal section, and when a homebirther transfers, rarely is it the ambulance screeching drama you see in movies. Which is the whole thing, that it doesn’t need to be either/or. The best case scenario would be working in tandem.

Currently it’s (excuse me) a dick waving contest.

But that’s beside the point. I’m frustrated (and resigned) that the reviewer couldn’t really discuss the documentary without her own bias hypocritically shining through. She calls the team out for statistical inconsistencies (the quote about fetal homebirth death rates) yet doesn’t cite the studies. I think I know which one she’s referencing, and the key detail missing there is that all births outside of the hospital are included as a homebirth. So late-term miscarriages, side-of-the-road emergency situations – all are lumped into the category. And there is such an incredible difference between an emergency precipitous birth in the automotive section of Wal-Mart and a planned homebirth. Stating it the way she did is highly disingenuous – and not surprising.

(Propaganda what?)

Really, I could get more steps for my soapbox and give a lengthy diatribe about egos interfering with the supposed main goal of healthy baby and mother blahblahblah, but I won’t. First because I don’t have the energy to get too fired up today, but mostly because I believe that if you are educated, you will make the best decision for your family, whether it’s in a hospital or on the moon. So if this snarky reviewer (and everyone who feels the same way) wants to dismiss the valid points made in the documentary out-of-hand simply because they are different – I mean ‘crockpot’ – well, go for it sister.

It is easier to float along when you choose not to muddle your life with critical thinking.

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