I was so excited to go to Belly Sprout, in Fullerton to see the Business of Being Born. I had heard good reviews of it and I love birth, so it seemed obvious I would love this film. Belly Sprout is a great little space, with natural items for babies and moms, with room in the back for classes or film screenings. It was fun meeting new people as we waited for the film to start.
The film overall was enjoyable. The intention of the film seems to be showing how homebirth can be safer and better than hospital births. There were interesting interviews and quotes throughout the movie. Some wonderful home births were shown. They were empowering to me as a natural childbirth enthusiast. These same births could be seen as scary by moms who are afraid of the pain of birth. As a Hypnobabies instructor, I know birth can actually be comfortable and enjoyable if you have the right hypnosis tools, so I wish a Hypnobabies birth had been included. I worry that some moms might see the births in this film and say that is why I am going straight for the epidural.
They did discuss some of the different problems that come up with hospital births. Including the cascade of interventions, though I wish they had been a little more explicit in that, because while as a childbirth educator I am well aware of what that entails, many women are not. It was fascinating to see OBs interviewed and when asked the question, “How often do you see a natural birth?” They were sitting there dumbfounded. The answer was basically never. My friend’s husband is doing his residency in Obstetrics and he agrees with this statement, they never see a normal, natural birth. They are taught not to be lifeguards, jumping in if something goes wrong, rather they are taught only how to actively manage birth, which leads to problems of their own. So how are they going to learn to support moms who want this?
The ending of the film ruined the whole film for me. I think it was important to show that at times it is medically better to have a hospital birth (in this case the baby was preterm and breech). This birth would have been better towards the front of the film, I am thinking after the OB says “95% of my job is boring, but then 5% is exciting/scary” Ok, show the scary birth at that point of the film, then spend the rest of the film showing the wonderful 95% that are safe at home. I think they were trying to have this moms story be one that wound its way throughout the film, but I really think its position in the movie undermines the whole purpose of the film.
Since this mom did end up with a cesarean, PLEASE use this as a chance to talk about VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and how next time this mom can have a vaginal birth and it would be ok. Tell the world about ICAN and how it is a wonderful organization to help moms avoid cesareans or recover from them if they have one. Let this film really educated and help the world in more ways than just homebirth. It would add maybe 1 minute to the film, but would have the potential of helping thousands of women.
Overall I guess I would give the film 3 out of 5 stars. If they could edit it and change where the cesarean birth is in the film I would make it 4 out of 5. I would not recommend my Hypnobabies Moms watch it while pregnant, as I want only positive images in their mind as they prepare for their births. But I do think it would be a great film to show in a college class to help women think about births before they are in that stage of life. If we educate women earlier about their choices in birth and their power as women and mothers, we can change the world!