Saturday, January 24, 2009

Orgasmic birth on "The Doctors" (CBS TV) 1/26/09

Last week I took a quick trip to Hollywood where I spoke ever so briefly about orgasmic birth on The Doctors (CBS TV). The show airs this Monday (Jan. 26th). Because it's syndicated, in some areas it airs on other networks. For local listings click here.

While most of the recent press I've done has been about unassisted childbirth, orgasmic birth is actually a subject I've long been passionate about. I first wrote about it in my 1994 book, Unassisted Childbirth and newsletter "Letters From Home." My article Orgasmic Childbirth has been on my web site since 2000, along with several other articles about the sexual nature of birth. In 2002, The Mother Magazine (UK) published my article Orgasmic Childbirth! What's the Secret? and in 2005, I was interviewed about it by the London Times. I also spoke about it in 1999 in the unassisted childbirth documentary A Clear Road to Birth and have done several radio shows about it over the years. Most recently, I was interviewed about it by the Huffington Post.

My interview for this show was quite short - I believe they asked me 3 or 4 questions. They may also be showing a short clip from my first homebirth. Of course, I would have loved to have shared more of my thoughts on the subject. But for the most part, I felt good about the interview and thought the doctors were fairly receptive to what I had to say. All in all, it was a fun trip!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Thoughts on 20/20's Extreme Motherhood show

Last Friday, "20/20" (ABC TV) finally aired their "Extreme Motherhood" show. All of the segments are now online (click on the videos in the articles): Unassisted Childbirth and Homebirth with Midwives, Orgasmic Birth and Long-term Breastfeeding. (There were also segments on "fake babies" and "serial surrogates" but they didn't interest me and I didn't watch them.)

The homebirth piece was quite short (5 minutes) but I was happy with how I was presented, and felt that the essence of what I wanted to convey came through! The beautiful opening shots of the mountains were taken near my home in Boulder.

There's been somewhat of an uproar in the homebirth community because there was no distinction made between unassisted and midwife assisted homebirth. This surprised me, as the producer had read my book (Unassisted Childbirth) and spent several hours (both on and off camera) interviewing me. I'm sure she knew they were two different things. Perhaps it was an editing mistake, or maybe they didn't feel it was important to distinguish between the two approaches to birth. Yesterday I wrote to ABC and encouraged them to do another show, specifically about unassisted childbirth. Actually, the producer that originally contacted me last year had hopes of doing an hour-long show completely devoted to unassisted childbirth. But apparently the higher-ups nixed the idea.

Most homebirthers were also disappointed by how Abby Epstein's birth was presented. Abby directed Ricki Lake's film The Business of Being Born. Because Abby transferred to the hospital (after going into labor prematurely and discovering that her baby was breech), her story was used as an example of a homebirth gone horribly wrong. While it's true that Abby was fairly panicky in the cab ride to the hospital, in the actual film I didn't get the impression that she or her baby were in grave danger. Her midwife felt there was a problem, and they headed to the hospital. In any case, I was glad to see the film mentioned, and thought Ricki did a nice job answering Elizabeth Vargas's questions.

The orgasmic birth segment was excellent! Debra Pascali-Bonaro, producer of the new film Orgasmic Birth, did a great job explaining the concepts behind the film. Amber Hartnell, whose incredible birth was featured in the film, spoke eloquently, as well, as did Christiane Northrup, MD, author of "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom." I was interviewed for this segment also, but didn't make the final cut. A couple good articles have been posted about orgasmic birth in the past few days: Orgasmic Birth: The Natural Reality Behind The Hype by Lee Stranahan for the Huffington Post (I was interviewed for this one) and Orgasms During Childbirth? It Happens by Yvonne Fulbright for Fox News.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my dear friend Veronika Robinson, publisher of the Mother Magazine (UK), in the breastfeeding segment! I didn't feel this segment was as positive as the others but Veronika spoke beautifully, as usual.

While the show left a lot to be desired, I was happy to see these subjects dealt with on national television. It was a good introduction, if nothing else.