… at least in Spain:
This great video has been circulating around the birth-activist regions of the blogosphere recently, since it first aired a few days ago. It’s a television commercial for a bed, and the characters in the commercial are no actors. It’s actual scenes from an actual family, giving birth at home while a peaceful soundtrack plays, and voiceovers talk about the miracle, the specialness, the joy of birth, and the tradition of birthing at home.
There is no fretting about whether or not home birth is safe. There is no screaming and panicking. There is a secure and confident woman with her family by her side, bringing her baby into the world in front of our very eyes.
You could argue that this is an idealized image of home birthing, and that would be somewhat true. But it’s also true that this commercial — really a short film — does not shy away from some of the more sensitive details of birth. While the mother is strong, she does groan in pain and at one point laments that she “can’t do this.” We are shown the full scene of the baby coming out, it’s not graphic or gross, but nothing is hidden. A midwife can be seen at one point in the video, but she is obviously not the one “in charge” of the labour. It’s birth, natural birth, real birth, in all its pain and all its glory.
With all the hooplah and paranoia and suspicion and skepticism that home birth faces in this part of the world, it’s refreshing and reassuring to see that in some places, birthing at home is so normal and unsurprising and positive that it appears on television in an advertisement (the ad states that “Waira was born on March 21, in a Flex Bed.”) The mother even brings the baby to her breast immediately after birth and is later seen nursing while lying in bed — with no blurring or censoring.
To be totally honest, I have no idea whether home birth is more common in Spain than in North America, or if societal attitudes are really that different. But you do have to wonder what the general reaction would have been if this commercial had aired in the middle of American Idol or The Real Housewives of Orange County.
[This post was written by Heather Dunham]