Wednesday, May 09, 2007

In the news

About a month ago I was interviewed for this article about unassisted birth that just came out today: "Baby's Day Out." I was interested to see how the article turned out, since so many media reports of unassisted births present it in a sensationalist fashion, often stressing the dangerous or extreme nature of giving birth without a paid professional. There's usually the obligatory quotes from unsupportive midwives and obstetricians (birth can be very dangerous, complications arise frequently and suddenly with catastrophic results). Often the media focuses on things going wrong with an unassisted birth. Scandal sells, right?

Overall, this article took an in-depth look at unassisted birthing. I was disappointed that the author chose to profile a hospital transfer story as the primary narrative, focused on several scary experiences, and included the all-too-familiar disapproving comments from midwives and OBs. On the other hand he delved into many interesting issues that many other articles have not addressed.

I got a kick out of my "quotes." I am pretty sure those were not the exact words I used, but hey, it still sounds good, right?

Articles like this fuel my desire to get my dissertation written and published. I want people to be able to understand unassisted birth, even if they do not ultimately agree with it for their own births. Because even a very thorough reporter who has done many hours of research can misrepresent things. I wonder how much editorial control he had over his article--did the choice to emphasize the sensational and the scary elements come from him, or from higher up? Hmmm...


  1. I thought your quotes were great, Rixa! I hope you continue to correspond with reporters who are writing articles about UC. You have a unique perspective, and express yourself well!

  2. I agree with Laura...but it's disappointing that the reporter focused on Elizabeth's experience...why not yours (or another positive one)? Why comments such as "with no way to check dilation"? It's odd that he took so much time to write a thorough article, but still just didn't "get there." Including things like the pacifier blurb at the end - why? Oh well - next time! Keep up the good work :)

  3. Hmmm. I agree, it definitely has a sensationalistic, "OMG you will bleed to death if you birth at home" kind of tone. Why didn't he include more info and stories about births that were successful and trauma-free, instead of focusing over and over again on what can go wrong?

    And I'm not too thrilled about the quotes he gathered, either: the moms all sound rather uneducated (except for you, your quotes were actually the most intelligent in the article, even if they weren't 100% verbatim). "Oh, I want to homebirth because I don't like doctors." "I didn't feel like going to the hospital." (And all the "like"s and "you know"s thrown in there didn't help either.) What about all the very legitimate reasons that women choose homebirth/UC? He didn't even mention the dangers of birthing in a hospital, but went on and on about the dangers of birthing at home. I think you're right, he probably chose ahead of time, "Hey, here's this radical new thing to write about, but it's INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS and I have to make sure my readers know that!"

    And some of the other comments struck me as odd too: like Jen said, why was there "no way to check dilation?" That's what your fingers are for. And the "makes her baby food from scratch" comment at the end: the baby was only 3 months, what on earth would she be eating? THere were more, but I don't recall them off the top of my head.

    *shrug* I dunno. I guess I'm glad someone is doing at least some kind of research on this and putting it in the public eye, but they could be doing a better job of it. Although I suppose it would be near-impossible to get a positive view on UC from anyone who hasn't done it themselves.


  4. Hmmm.... it was going along so well until the last few pages. I really liked the story of Elizabeth's quest for knowledge, and how she planned the birth so thoroughly. However, it is sad that the reporter focused so much on death and all the horrible things that can go wrong. Arrgggh. Oh well, you did a great job, though.


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