03 January 2009

my review:20/20

So I thought the 20/20 segment on Orgasmic Birth was pretty fantastic (but not the show as a whole). I do wish there had been a clear soundbite about how orgasmic birth does not have to mean that actual climax is achieved...they may have said this & I missed it, but I felt the segment seemed to indicate that an actual orgasm was a necessary part of the ecstatic birth experience rather than just the happy icing on the already-awesome birthday cake. Anyway, way to go, Debra!

But I have complaints on the show as a whole (of course!): First, the warning that the Orgasmic Birth segment might be inappropriate - wow - what about giving that warning when showing a highly interventive technocratic birth? That could certainly be more dangerous to one's psyche than seeing some women smiling and laughing.

I know the show was about "extremes" in motherhood but why the need to find such unusual examples to put with Orgasmic Birth? The piece on unassisted birth really pissed me off because they lumped in The Business Of Being Born and all homebirth with unassisted birth. I'm not commenting negatively on people who wish to have UC, but the births they showed, aside from Laura Shanley's birth footage appeared to be from BoBB and attended by midwives (at least one of which was filmed in a hospital birth center, not even at home)...UC is a small portion of homebirth and I think to suggest otherwise is at best misleading and sloppy and serves to reinforce the just-now-changing-for-the-positive mainstream opinion that homebirth is selfish (in fact that was a comment/question posed to Ricki Lake on the homebirth /UC piece last night) and foolhardy. Most people who birth at home do so with extremely qualified medical assistance. I found that segment quite hostile.

Same with the breastfeeding piece - people who are nursing 9 year olds are quite rare & that's why they make the news. But the piece started with a woman nursing 3yo twins - not rare at all, given that the average age of weaning world-wide is 4 years (props to 20/20 for mentioning this)...yet it was still portrayed as though the twins mom was doing something a little bit weird or wrong. And then there was the whole "what does your husband think - isn't he left out sexually" angle that was pretty lame, imho.

The life-like dolls...hmmm - I don't quite know what to say other than the segment made me feel a little sad. And once again, I did not appreciate the created context of "wacky/screw loose people" in which to view Orgasmic Birth & homebirth.

What about you? Please share your reactions!


fearlesschef said...

I was terribly disappointed with the show... I wanted more of an informational session than an attack session on people who choose to have their babies in "nonconventional" ways. My husband wasn't as impressed either. The only part that I like was the brief spot on the orgasmic birth... it was only enough to pique my curiosity... any suggestions for reading materials?

Hannah said...

I also thought the orgasmic birth segment was pretty good, especially as a short piece aimed at educating a broad (and likely suspicious) audience.

But I couldn't watch the rest of the show, and I was horrified at the sensationalist opener comparing the CRAZY idea of a homebirth to nursing a 6 year old or doting on a doll version of a baby. My husband actually got very angry about the whole experience, and it really took away from his ability appreciate the first piece. He's so supportive of my desire for a VBAC homebirth, but he really hated the show's slant. He was so offended, he could barely talk about it!

I thought the woman who did the reporting on orgasmic birth seemed very cool and open, though. I like that she mentioned that she had two children naturally, without medication. I can appreciate her comments that birthing felt like the opposite of an orgasm. And she still went natural, which may just inspire some mamas to try the same! :)

Anonymous said...

I was so disappointed that the lovely message Debra endeavors to bring to women was lumped in with what many will consider the "lunatic fringe" ( as my grandmother would have said.)
It's great that there is some buzz about Orgasmic Birth, but unfortunate that the buzz came in this kind of package, though it's said there is no such thing as bad publicity, right?
And I totally agree..something about the women with the baby dolls was so sad... I thought at least two of the three they profiled suffered many pregnancy losses. My heart went out to them, but the dolls were... in a word ... creepy.