21 March 2008

Today being almost the last possible moment to do Easter crafts, we cleared off the kitchen table and got out our crafting supplies. Before I could put away the spray bottle, though, Lily sat down with it and the comb to pretty herself up. As always seems to happen when kids and water are in the same place, our kitchen was soon a scene of complete mayhem.

Nick kept spraying himself in the face.
Then Lily would spray herself.
Sometimes Nick sprayed Lily, which she quite enjoyed.
Most of the time.

After a bit, we finally got the table dried off and the eggs pulled out. We put the pretty little tablets in the water and got ready for some eggy fun.

Dad even got in on the action with some crayons and dye.

Nick being Nick, he soon moved on from regular crafting to experimenting. My baster became a pipette for mixing colors. Lily quite enjoyed sticking foam cut-outs onto paper. She worked quite intensely for about 30 minutes. Note the look of concentration!

In the end, we had 7 beautiful and unique eggs, 2 sheets covered in foamy bits, and a sink fully of gross-looking water. Happy (almost) Easter!!!

02 March 2008

Last night, I went to a screening of Ricki Lake's new documentary, The Business of Being Born. After having an unsatisfying hospital birth and then a life-altering homebirth, Ricki wanted to do something to educate and empower women in regards to homebirths and modern childbirth practices in North America. At first she looked into becoming a midwife but she realized that with the years of education required she would make a quicker and perhaps larger impact by making a documentary.

Edmonton's Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth (ASAC) hosted a screening at the Whitemud Crossing Library last night. I excitedly attended with some friends after having read many positive and negative reviews. The tiny theater was stuffed to the brim with people filling each seat and sitting on the stairs and stage while children around in any empty space they could find.

The documentary examines childbirth in North America and compares it to that in other countries. It highlights some significant statistics about the incredibly high cesarean rate in the U.S. (33% nationally, but as high as 40% in some hospitals) as well as the high induction and epidural rates. Also discussed are the relatively high infant and maternal mortality rates and the enormous amount of money spent on hospital childbirths.

The homebirths portrayed in the documentary were beautiful. Women were shown swaying, moaning, and cursing their way through labors, and babies slid out into their mothers' hands in bedrooms and bathtubs. Contrasting this was footage of both 1950's hospital births where women were strapped into beds during "twilight sleep" and modern hospital births where women's labors were managed with drugs and surgeries.

While I've felt for some time that natural childbirth is possible for the majority of women and healthier for both mothers and babies, this documentary got me thinking of birth more from more than just a physical point of view. One interviewee explained how that sense of "I just gave birth. Now I know I can do anything" in new moms is something that we all have the right to experience. When the vast majority of women are having labors that are artificially induced, numbed through epidurals, or even outright preempted through surgery, women in our culture are not experiencing the empowering and rewarding rite that has been a part of womanhood since time began.

Also discussed is the idea of how the hormones released during labour facilitate mother-baby bonding. The "love cocktail" as they call, it helps mothers to respond to their baby's needs and enforces the instinct to protect and nurture their child. If cesareans or inductions stop this hormonal surge from taking place, there can be ramifications in the relationship. The documentary draws a link between the high rate of disrupted bonding and the problems in our society.

I found this to be a very thought and heart-provoking documentary which presents a stark view on modern childbirth in North America. I think it has the power to reach many women and to really lead to a lot of questioning of modern birth practices. As women, we should be educating ourselves about childbirth and not simply going along with the status quo, thinking that putting all our faith in our doctors is the way to ensure the best results. Cesareans, inductions, pain relief, and other interventions are all very valuable tools which have their places in emergency or medically-necessary situations, but birth is a normal and healthy process which women have been experiencing since the beginning of humanity.

The Business of Being Born can now be seen through Netflix and will be available for purchase in May. Go watch it.

Copyright 2010 In desperate need of entertainment.

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