Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: 11 Mothers, 12 International Experts
Director: Debra Pascali-Bonaro
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
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Maxine Brown | 08/04/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"As an ex-doula who has attended birth as a sole birth attendant, this is not a film I would recommend. The authors of the film took a term and concept well known in radical midwifery circles-- "orgasmic birth: the nine month orgasm"-- and applied it to a film that is about three-percent on the subject of orgasmic birth: A two minute clip of renowned midwife, Ina May Gaskin, giving a statistic from a survey she had taken amongst women who had birthed with midwives. The statistic of women who had experienced orgasm during labor and birth was much higher than she had anticipated-- in the twenty-plus percent range.
There was talk about how birth is sensual, and orgasm is possible during birth. However, the examples of birthing in the film were mostly not examples of an orgasmic birthing experience. There was one orgasmic birth documented, and quite frankly it appeared to me to have possibly been an acting job on the part of the woman. What this film does contain is documentation of a mix of what I would describe as normal, healthy home births with several women. Births which ranged from easy, quick labors to relatively long labors. And two hospital births, one of which was downright traumatizing to watch. Scare tactics on pregnant women are not the way to improve birth. Having women who have had traumatic births tell their stories, without the actual visuals of a traumatic birth, is, in my opinion, far more effective in educating women about what they will be in for in a planned, non-emergency hospital birth.
It concerns me that this film offers the idea of "birth methods" and an orgasmic goal for birth, rather than emphasizing the physiology of natural birth and what is required to make birth safest overall. One midwife in the film, as well as a man from the World Health Organization, do offer comments on the physiology of natural birth and what is required for it to be safest: quiet, low-lights, few to no interruptions, uninhibited movement, as few people as possible, drinking and eating by mother on her own. The film misses emphasizing this, though. It left me feeling it was shallow in its attempt to educate, and confused me as to what it was really trying to achieve. Capitalize on sales with a radical title, or encourage women by documenting how safe home birth truly is?
The film's most redeeming moments are contained in the few-minutes long story of a childhood sexual abuse survivor/adult rape survivor who birthed with a midwife at home. Because she was able to birth uninterrupted at home, her birth became a most empowering moment for her. In this portion of the film, they have a short clip of DONA founder and natural childbirth advocate/researcher Penny Simkin, talking about the special concerns for female sexual abuse survivors at the time of birthing their children. She suggests the hospital environment and their policies to interrupt natural birth to "check" the baby and mother were particularly detrimental to the abuse survivor. Another redeeming moment was a clip of one of the other home birth mothers saying how her birth with her second child at home made her feel very proud.
This film does not, in my opinion, live up to its title. Nor does it, in my opinion, significantly help increase any woman's odds of having a better birth by watching it. There are much better documentaries on home birth available, even the very mainstream "The Business of Being Born" documents births that I feel would be more encouraging to any mother-to-be. The Midwifery Today website, as well as DONA International website, has many of those other documentaries available. Your local public library may have some of them, and certainly a local midwife will have them available for her clients to watch.
Bottom line, if you want to increase the odds of having a pleasurable and safe birth, my highest recommendation to anyone would be to read any and all books by Michel Odent: "The Farmer And The Obstetrician" is my favorite. And Frederick Leboyer's classic "Birth Without Violence." From a woman who has worked with birthing mothers, I can attest to this as a fact: birth can be elegant. It can be perfectly safe for the greatest majority of women, especially at home or in a natural birthing center, without unnecessary interventions by either an obstetrician or midwife."
Phenomenal, Awe-Inspiring, Informative, Transforming!
Halley Watson | Columbia, MO | 12/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's not very often that a book or movie comes out that has the potential to directly change people's lives, but "Orgasmic Birth" is such a movie. Debra Pascali-Bonaro's film is monumental in it's message for women everywhere: birth can be empowering, transformative, and even pleasurable! The film chronicles the pregnancies, labors, and births of about 10 families, and does an awesome job of depicting the diversity of an empowering experience: homebirths, birth center births, hospital births, water births, and families of different races, religions, and customs. Additionally the film includes the story of a mother who was sexually abused as a child and a young adult, and she shares that "My birth became the most powerful thing that's happened to my body...and I was transformed." The women's stories also depict that birth can be spiritually orgasmic, emotionally orgasmic, or even physically orgasmic -- but the point being that regardless of the orgasmic element itself, it can be orgasmic period! What a crucial message for the young women of our society! We've been raised to believe that childbirth is the most painful thing a woman will ever endure -- how much healthier and how much more hopeful is it to instead believe that birth is something to be treasured and ENJOYED?!
I recently hosted a screening of "Orgasmic Birth" at my school, the University of Missouri. It was WILDLY successful, with over 100 people in attendance -- everyone from the local midwives, to professors to feminists, to mothers, to college women, to freshmen boys! Following the film, I hosted a panel of mothers and professional midwives to answer audience questions -- the questions poured in for 45 minutes! I've been hearing rumoring about a new campus organization: Med Students for Home Birth! One woman stood up and announced to the auditorium that this movie had changed her life forever -- "I know what I want now -- I want to have my babies at home with a midwife!" Another woman wrote a paper about the film, and still another created a project about the film for her Psychology of Women class. I just heard that someone else bought the film online after seeing it and is giving it out as Christmas presents!
Do yourself a huge favor -- SEE THIS MOVIE. Especially if you are a woman of childbearing age! KNOW your options before you get pregnant! Find out what's right for YOU! I'm sure many people reading this review have seen "The Business of Being Born," which is also incredible. I would distinguish the two by simply saying this: BOBB shows birth they way it is. Orgasmic Birth shows it the way it COULD BE. My cousin put it this way: "BOBB was eye-opening. Orgasmic Birth was heart-opening.""
Rae Davies | Ponte Vedra Beach, FL | 12/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret This excellent film demonstrates what women can do. Women can give birth without excessive medical intervention including the epidural, IV, and episiotomy. You see women in comfortable surroundings supported and cared for by skilled midwives that respect and trust the normal birth process and allow the women to birth in an undisturbed, safe environment. Are they all "orgasmic births"? No, but the message in the film is not about orgasms, but about reframing how we view birth. I applaud the film maker, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, for being so bold in giving the film this title - many women that I have told about the film Orgasmic Birth have stated that "they want one too"! A must see film."
Educational, informative and inspiring! A must see!
Jennifer D. Shryock | Cary, NC | 12/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having given birth 3 times already and been exposed to interventions immediately upon arrival of the hospital and even before, I wanted to view this film to make the best choices for my upcoming 4th birth. This film provides a refreshing perspective that so often is lost and completely disregarded. The meaning of "natural birth" has changed over the years and this film brings it back to its true meaning. The strength and ability of our body to birth naturally has been lost and left out in many delivery rooms. Discussion of intervention, c section, inductions and pain management are routine vs. discussion of individual strength, natural ability and benefits of less or no intervention. I appreciated the statistics and information provided along with all of the wonderful personal experiences shared. Seeing the support of the husbands as well as the active role of midwives and doulas really was beautiful and encouraged me to continue my own research in birthing options. This is a must view for women who are truly wanting to know all of their options when it comes to birthing their baby.