I have to precede this review by saying up front that the topic of this film -- the "business" of childbirth, the skyrocketing Cesarean section rates in the United States, and the impact of managed births and unnecessary childbirth interventions on mothers and babies -- is a topic near and dear to my heart. When I heard a while back that Ricki Lake was involved in producing a documentary about homebirth and midwifery, I was immediately intrigued. I recalled hearing through the natural childbirth circle in Seattle that Lake had had a homebirth with her second child, after a first birth in a hospital with all of what many women have come to accept as the "usual" childbirth interventions, and I was interested that she was now using her ability to reach women through her talk show to advocate natural childbirth.
So to be fair about my perspective going into this documentary: I am a mother of five, and I have had babies in just about every way you can have them: an induced hospital birth that resulted in a forceps delivery, a caesarean section, and then three natural births with midwives, two at home and the last in a hospital after six weeks in the hospital on bedrest for preterm labor. I think it's safe to say I've had a lot of experience with childbirth in its various iterations, but those experiences are, of course, my personal experiences. Nonetheless, the impact of my natural births in particular has necessarily shaded the view I'm likely to have of any movie that concerns the topic of natural birth -- but I also think that anyone watching a film like this is going to come to it with their particular biases in place. Now you know mine.