Eclectic Muddlehood

How's this for a perplexing beginning? I am a great many things, but none of them are me. At least not in my entirety. This is the little corner where I attempt to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts as I muddle through being a wife, a mother and a woman... among other things.

Name:
Location: Virginia, United States

Here, in no particular order, is a short list of my parts from the mundane to the pretentious, some or all of which may surface in future attempts to work on the whole: wife, mother, doula, childbirth educator, writer, yoga student, homeschooler, amature organic gardner, kitchen witch, all-around foodie, spiritual truth-seeker, daughter, clutter-bug, complusive list maker, bibliophile, homemaker, friend, homebirth/natural birth advocate, impulse shopper, wine snob, knitter, artist, lover, sensuist, and email junkie (There may be more later, but that's it for now.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why I Love Miranda Bailey & Rachel Green

Almost every one of my childbirth ed students can easily recollect the sitcom episode when Murphy Brown gives birth, screaming like a lunatic, shaking her support people like ragdolls as she strangles them. It is a cultural image burned into the mind and spirit of most childbearing women I come across these days. As a matter of course, most television shows portray birth as some grisly means to an end that is more painful to endure than bamboo splints under one's fingernails.

So imagine my delight when right there, on one of my favorite television shows this season (Grey's Anatomy), I hear my favorite character say, in the middle of her labor, after calmly finishing a contraction sitting on a birth ball-- "Epidurals increase the risk of c-section, besides women all over the world do this at home every day with nothing more than a bowl of hot water and a pair of scissors" Miranda Bailey, a doctor-- a surgeon, no less-- chose natural, unmedicated childbirth as the best and safest option for the birth of her first child. Strong, independent, well-educated women of America take note-- it is not just hippies and weirdos that choose to experience childbirth as a natural rite of passage.

Think it was just one random fluke? Take another incredibly popular show that aired for ten seasons, filled with typically mainstream images. Rachel Green of Friends also chose natural birth. Did you miss that? It's on DVD now- go back and watch the episode if you like. She labors with Ross' help in a variety of positions, including a scene where she is standing, leaned over the hospital bed while Ross massages her back. She has no "routine" IV drip. She is not strapped down by continuous electronic fetal monitoring. As she is certainly not laying flat on her back in bed with an epidural and no control over her legs. What's even more amazing about Rachel's birth experience that with absolutely no unnecessary drama at all, her daughter, Emma, is born breech, vaginally. Missed that too, huh? While Rachel is pushing, her doctor tells her she can see Emma's bottom instead of her head. She says it calmly and without panic, like it is simply a variation of a normal birth. She tells Rachel she just needs to push a little harder. She never says the words "Cesarean section." Rachel pushes and Emma is born. Without metal forceps pressed into her tiny skull, yanking her head out of her mother's vagina. Without Rachel suffering the genital mutilation of a large and unnecessary episiotomy. And without major abdominal surgery for child removal.

Childbirth without unnecessary intervention and fear. Just normal women's bodies accomplishing the incredibly miraculous, yet simultaneously ordinary purpose for which we were created. Now that's good television!

2 Comments:

Blogger Aryn said...

I noticed Bailey's natural birth, and I attribute my awareness to you :)

I wonder about the people that wrote these two episodes you mentioned--were they trying to subtlely send a message, or were they unwilling to compromise something they believed in?

Were the writers women who had their own children naturally?

6:53 PM  
Blogger Rose Child said...

Friends in general is a very progressive birth show- Phoebe had a vaginal birth for the triplets and both Rachel and Ross' ex-wife were very open about their breastfeeding. In a featurette on one of the season DVD sets, one of the writers brought her nursing child to a meeting, so I would think that she was probably advocating for natural birth and breastfeeding in her own quiet way. Not sure about Grey's Anatomy, but I would love to know the back story!

7:33 PM  

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