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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review of "Birth Rights: The Risk of Choice"


Birthrights: The Risk of Choice is produced by Betsy Kulman, distributed by Al Jazeera, is a 25 minute documentary featuring several doctors, families and birth choice advocates in an attempt to bring awareness about the choices surrounding cesarean sections as an option to birth. The film starts with a couple from Columbus, GA traveling to Atlanta, 2 hours from home, to deliver their baby at a hospital with the only doctor they could find that will allow a trial of labor in order to provide VBAC services. Another scene in that doctor’s office shows other pregnant moms talking about why they chose him. One woman reports calling over 30 OBGYN clinics looking for a practitioner that would allow VBACs before she found Dr. Tate. She said that she was told by other doctors that she would not find anyone who allows VBACs and “it’s for a good reason.”
            Dr. Tate is a OBGYN who is a man of Jewish faith. He believes that it is his traditional Jewish upbringing that gives him a healthy respect for nature’s intention of the way almost all women are able to birth naturally. He also believes there is a time and place for cesareans and interventions to help deliver vaginally and that he will provide them when necessary. And even though many doctors are performing Cesareans because of the fear of being sued, he leaves that in the hands of his faith and provides the best medicine for his patients that he has determined is in their best interest, not his.
            The documentary also gives statistics such as the WHO recommendations that the cesarean rate be below 15%, that the risk of Uterine rupture during a VBAC is less than 1%, that cesareans are the #1 surgery performed in the USA, and that 77% of OBGYNs will be sued at some point in their career.
            It is because of the risk of being sued that many OBGYNs will jump to section a mother. When utilizing cesareans as a normal part of their business, they don’t have to work the longer hours of a practitioner who waits on natural labor, They can schedule more mothers that are due in the same month, they won’t be under the stress of anything else that might happen which could create risks of being sued and they get paid more money when performing the cesarean. There is no incentive for them NOT to use them or, in many cases, over use them.
            The film also highlights support for mothers who have undergone cesareans and seek community to process the emotional issues surrounding these traumatic births, such as ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and Jill Arnold’s website www.TheUnnecesarean.com where people can access studies, research, data, birth stories and other resources to make informed choices about birthing practices. Jill says, “The overriding theme is frustration and desire to change the system.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dance to Heal the Earth

Dance To Heal The Earth. Whenever you dance, wherever you dance, dance to heal the earth! Dancing is power. Dancing is prayer. Some say that all is dance. Maybe. Now there's a big dance coming, a dance to heal the earth. If you're reading this, you're probably part of it. You take part whenever you do whatever you do to help heal the earth. When you recycle. When you choose to show love, to fight for justice, to bring healing, to bring out what is good in others. When you avoid cruelty and dishonesty and waste. When you are outraged. When you speak out. When you give. When you consider the generations to come. When you protest to the oppressors and encourage those who feel the cutting edge of injustice. And, of course, when you dance. There is a tree that all the prophets see, and whenever you let your love show, you make the flowers grow.
Soon this dance will be done in a big way, in the old way, on sacred ground. All living things will take part. If you want to, you can take part. No one is twisting your arm. You can stop any time you need to, and start up again whenever you're ready. If you've read this far, you probably know what I'm talking about. You've probably been doing it in one way or another for a good while. Soon will be the time to make no bones about it! Cut loose!
Anytime you dance, anywhere, whether at a party or in church, dance to heal the earth! Let your feet beat a healing rhythm into the earth. Let your feet beat a strengthening rhythm for those who struggle the hardest. Let your feet beat a life-giving rhythm for all peoples, regardless of race or national boundary, regardless of whether we're human or whether we're the trees, the air, the fish, the birds, the buffalo, the bear, the crow. We come out of hiding, we come back from the dead, and we dance, and our dance is a prayer, and our songs and our rhythms and our breath give life.
Is the music they're playing some mindless jingle? Never mind, as long as it's not bad music, and you can dance to the beat! Make your own words, and make the words a prayer. A prayer for the end of exploitation, a prayer for the end of lies, a prayer for healing, for justice, for life. Remember your prayer-song, feed it and let it get strong and pass it along. Dance and pray, whenever you dance, dance to heal the earth.
Have you seen anything? Wear it out! Make it so that all can see what you see! Take a white T-shirt and mark it with your dreams. Is there anything you'd like to tell the world? Take your shirt and mark it with your song! This is the way it has been done, so you can do it too. Use any color except black (there are reasons for that that will become clearer later), and you'll probably find that a loose, pure cotton T is most comfortable for dancing in. Because this is an actual dance, you dance hard, you sing and breathe hard and sweat. Wear it when you plan to go out dancing, to dance to heal the earth.
Some people do this dance while fasting, and dance for several days straight. But even a few minutes of dancing helps, and joins with all the other dancing going on, everywhere on Earth. Not everyone can fast these days. Besides, you never know when you're gonna dance, and you have to eat sometimes! But if you plan to dance, hold off eating till later, or just have a little. It's easier to dance if you don't have a hotdog weighing you down.
Some people say, do not do sacred things where people are drinking and partying. But all the universe is a sacred place. It really doesn't matter what others are doing, you can make a place sacred wherever you are, with your intention and your prayers. Some people use smoke to make a place sacred; a cigarette or incense stick will do fine. You can dance to heal the earth anywhere, even a party or a bar! The earth is everywhere, so you can dance anywhere to heal her. Only one thing. Please hold off drinking or using any other intoxicants till you're done. It works better that way.
The Lie has gone far enough. It spreads and makes everyone sick. Now is the time for this dance to begin. It, too, will spread, and it will bring healing to all. In the beginning, they say, God put a rainbow in the sky, to let us know that Spirit never forgets. Now is the time for us to put a rainbow across the earth, to let God know that we, too, remember.
Dance to heal the earth. Not just when you're dancing, but always. Live the dance, whenever you move, in all you do, dance to heal the earth.
~Dee Smith