Monday, April 6, 2009

Arizona Mama's Homebirth

The Arizona Republic (online version) published a homebirth story and picture show; here they are:

Slide Show

For the most part, pretty good! I've been really impressed with the Arizona Republic's willingness to publish natural birth articles this week.

A couple of complaints, though...

(1) The pics they show focus somewhat on the sensational - like the mom screaming in pain. Most people are not ready for these pictures. Indeed, most mamas don't print those kind of pictures anyway!!

(2) The scene really has a hippie feel to it, especially the dad, who has long hair and a long beard and is shirtless. For most mainstream birthers, this is going to be a big turnoff.

I think that if I were to advise a re-do on this shoot, I would have them hire a professional photographer to focus more on the beauty of homebirth, and to keep the shots more modest. I personally am completely comfortable with total female nudity in the labor/birth scene, but most people are NOT. I read some of the reader comments on this article, and had to stop reading pretty quickly because they made me so angry. Most were along the lines of, "That is so gross!" "Weird!" "That was disgusting!" etc. I think those of us in the birth world who are accustomed to birth pictures and birth art forget that it is a learned taste. The mainstream public is not going to be able to dive head-first into birth photography and find beauty there. This article has hopefully done some good, but it has likely also done some harm - by driving the idea of homebirth further into the "those stupid hippies who don't care about their babies" niche in the mainstream mind.

Of course, if these pics were taken by a newspaper photographer, then the parents/midwife probably didn't have much say in which pics were chosen - and a newspaper photographer probably would want to focus more on the sensational than the beautiful.

It might also have been nice if the paper had published a more thorough article focusing on explaining what is going on and on the safety and training of midwives and midwife-attended birth.

But still, good job to the paper and to the family! It takes guts to be willing to be willing to publish nude pics in your hometown paper! And I'm very grateful that the paper was willing to publish this material.

Thoughts, anyone? I'd be interested to get input from both those who are used to homebirth pics/stories and those to whom this material is new.

1 comment:

  1. While I am totally supportive of home births I agree that this one felt very hippie. Even so I think it's great that she was willing to share her experience publically. Before I started researching homebirths I think I was a lot like most people in society that assumed that homebirths were for crazy, hippie like people, I'm glad I know better:)


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