Archive for May, 2007

Children of Men, specifically the birth scene

Zargon and I rented Children of Men over the weekend, which I’d actually become interested in watching only after reading this review over at Pandagon. I highly recommend it. It was an entirely enthralling film, and we fell asleep talking about it and woke up talking about it, which is always a sign that a movie engaged us.However, the birth scene? Yeah, what a missed opportunity. I know it’s based on a book by a man, in a movie directed by a man with a script written by men, but for all that, so much else was done so well that I expected better.

Here’s a woman giving birth, the first birth in 18 years. This seems to me like a pretty prime opportunity to show a birth done instinctively, without so much cultural pollution. But instead, what do they show? The same old pop culture movie birth – woman, lying on her back, panicking while pushing (uncommon – this would be more common in transition, not seconds before the birth), being reassured and directed by a male between her legs.

This is not to say that women never instinctively lie on their backs to birth, or panic while pushing, or appreciate a little reassurance and direction. But most women, left to their own devices, are more likely to assume a hands and knees position to birth in, and breath and moan in a very natural way while pushing.

I also question whether a young woman in her 8th month would spontaneously go into the birth process in such a dangerous situation unless something else was wrong. We’re mammals, after all, and most mammals don’t start birthing and do pause birthing when in dangerous or threatening situations because oxytocin (the labour hormone) and adrenaline (our dangerous situation hormone) are antagonistic, you can’t actually release both at the same time.

So this leads me to the thought that I should take on yet another part-time career, that of birth script consultant. I should totally do that.

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