By Dr. Michelle Sexton | December 11, 2012The Business of Being Born is an award-winning documentary about the implications of the medicalization of childbirth and the ways in which many women are turning away from invasive medical models of delivery.
Just as homebirth used to be a ‘hippy’ counterculture event in the 1970’s and now has an evidence-based safety profile, the use of Cannabis as medicine is going mainstream.
And how, you may be thinking, do these two primitive practices wind up in the same sentence?
It’s simple, and in the end is tantamount to freedom.
To review a few elemental similarities, there is the relative low cost compared to hospital/pharmaceuticals; the relative safety compared to hospital/pharmaceuticals; effectiveness as measured by empowerment, quality of life and outcome; affordable access to all whether insured or uninsured, compared to hospital/pharmaceuticals; and the curtailment of iatrogenic effects relative to hospital/pharmaceuticals.
To describe a few more abstruse (my new favorite word) analogies, consider both of these practices from a more anthropological perspective.
The first would be attempts to dismantle hegemonic authority. The medicalization of childbirth and the medicalization of health have parallels in the emergence of ‘Western’ medicine.
Both homebirth and alternative health and healing could be considered as ethical challenges to the status quo.
Contemporary homebirthers and medical Cannabis users (or recreational users) are no longer necessarily ‘radicals’ or extremists, rather just educated and empowered people living their lives as they see fit.
Second, both groups could be considered to be engaged in a more ritualistic form of living, of bringing meaning to and carefully considering how to engage: the body, the spirit, the soul.
Third, the acts of ‘giving’ birth and choosing/preparing/titrating/ one’s own medicine; bring meaning and empowerment to the individual. In this sense, they could both be considered to be “manipulated rituals of technocratic subversion”.
So, if you are thinking you are all ‘counterculture’ because of wanting to participate fully in the birth of your child, you’re not.
If you think you are going to go all culturally deviant and use Cannabis for pain relief, or to treat irritable bowel syndrome, or depression or just to alter your consciousness, you’re not.
If you think you could have either of these experiences in a system of collaboration and mutual respect, you can! You are now just joining a growing culture, deliberately peeling away at the fiction of the medicalization of LIFE.
Our health and our life, how we live and how we die, do not need legitimacy in political and medical theatres. To territorialize how we are born, how we die, and how we live the ‘dash’ in between our date of birth and date of death inscribed on a tombstone (or urn!) is tantamount to freedom!