One of the best plays I've seen ... the images still remain alive within me.
From the moment I first laid eyes on this play and then had the pleasure of reading it I've thought of this play as The Vagina Monologues for birth. This makes perfect sense. After all, the vagina is the birth canal...(and) Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues has helped free vaginas the world over - as well as its owners. Now it's time to do the same for the birth canal - and pregnant women everywhere. And that is the power and glory contained in this magnificent, funny, and wonderfully wise play. And also for BOLD, the organization that is getting the word out about the joys of normal birth....
It was with great pleasure that I first read Birth and then took part in its premiere in New York City on Labor Day 2006 - the birth of the BOLD movement. I felt hope. I felt heartened. How thrilling to see so many women and men of all ages ready and willing to trust their bodies and deepen their connection with the wisdom of birth and the birth canal. How thrilling to hear the real sounds of birth uttered so realistically by the actors. How thrilling to be a part of a much needed change of of our current high intervention birth culture and to watch the innate wisdom of the female body in birth so powerfully portrayed on stage.
Kudos to you, Karen Brody, for getting the words and the images just right. And for gifting the world with this moving, life-changing work of art.
Thanks to Karen and BOLD for continuing to be bold in childbirth. The BOLD movement is so needed and your play portrays the reality of birth today and has had such great impact around the world.
The BOLD movement is all about women supporting each other to achieve their birthing hopes and dreams.
BOLD is an amazing and necessary movement.
Birth is a great play. I took my husband to see it when I was three months pregnant with our first so he could understand why I felt the way about birth and how I wanted to trust my body. It got the conversation stared and put us on similar pages. I think seeing this play with my husband was one of the many steps I took that helped me have the natural vaginal birth I wanted!
In my 19 years of seeing theather this play moved my head and my body. Everybody has got to see this!
I laughed, I cried. I really did. An old directing professor of mine said theater was supposed to 'turn on' an audience not entertain, TV is for entertaining an audience. This was true theater.
It has been a very long time since I have been affected by a piece of theater like this production reached me. Each and every actor became the role they played, and the real stories of birth were made even more real by their immersion. I was truly, deeply moved. Thank you so much to all the actors for giving all you are giving. And for those of you who are wondering if you should attend? MAKE IT HAPPEN.
This play is is so true, it reminds me of when people tell a rape victim that they are “lucky” to be alive. That is completely ignorant because emotional well being is just as important as physical! thank you for spreading the message.
It was so good! :) Thank you! Seeing the love of women and motherhood has calmed my nervousness down a bit about giving birth! only 2 months left!
I was so blessed to be there last night. You are truly inspirational women! Thank you for reminding me of the gift of giving birth and the value of each of our individual experiences and birth journeys.
What an amazing performance! Thank you for sharing such a powerful message.
Agreed with my wife. Really awesome performance. Heart melting, really!
So proud of my beautiful, powerful wife Aimee Brill and all the beautiful, powerful women who were part of BIRTH last night. I actually went insane by the end of the show and thought we should have another baby! (Aimee told me it ain't gonna happen....) What a night of love and community y'all shared with us! Thank you!!!
That powerful performance brought up so many feelings I didn't even know I had! I'm still reeling from it, but also feeling relieved to know that my feelings are valid! Thank you so much for bring this to us!
I really enjoyed it! All were great stories and I really felt like I learned a lot. I have a whole new outlook on pregnancy and the birth process, and a greater respect for women who have given birth. Keep up the good work!
My husband and I just came back from seeing Birth. It was really great! And what struck me what that if you've had a baby, you will enjoy it and even if you didn't. My husband was even tearing up at a few points.
In the two productions of Birth that I have seen, the audience was on the edge of their seats laughing out loud in some parts and crying in others. In other words, they were thoroughly entertained.
I had the distininct honor of witnessing this performance and therefore being mesmerized by the conviction and soul of the production! The acting was nothing short of brilliant! The cast was emotionally engaged in their perspective roles, and the over-all delivery was spine chilling and thought provoking. I thought the professionalism of the production was surpassed only by the overwhelming radiance of a well-written play that infused a very “grass roots” identity and overtone. The Show was a complete success and the BOLD Talkback, at the very end, was a distinct pleasure; Informative and serious fun.
Although women in our community have access to midwives, there are still not enough midwives and moms are being turned away from the care providers they want. We are still hearing horrific stories of birth trauma, and especially as it transfers to breastfeeding outcomes. Our induction rate is high. C-sections are 1 in 4. On the positive side our group of doulas have been successful in lifting the ban of only two people to a room, a doula is now considered part of the birthing team. This came into effect last October which was a direct outcome of our BOLD production of the play BIRTH and our BOLD red tent event....yes! Since last September we have been working towards a collaborative approach with the Ob's, Midwifes and community members. I do feel a change happening. The family medicine residents have agreed to let us present at their rounds to teach about Doulas, what women want during birth, basically what ever we would like to teach - this is great as these are the doctors of our future and they need to be informed now!
It's amazing how the actors are commited to this project. They are all a professional actor's but this project changed their lives. They all say to me : "my life before BIRTH and my life after BIRTH", isn't that great?!!
Our community of St. Louis, Missouri chose to organize BOLD events - BIRTH and the BOLD Red Tent because we saw the power of women coming together to share their stories. The stories shared at our Red Tent event were diverse and rich. The event demonstrated how much birth really does matter. I love the oral history tradition not just in birth but in local and family history. This oral tradition is being lost.
This loss contributes to the culture of fear around child birth. By talking about childbirth in this type of intimate setting, we are validating mother's experiences - the challenges and the triumphs. We are acknowledging that childbirth matters. It matters not just to those chosing an umedicated birth, a homebirth, or a midwife attended birth. Birth and maternity care matters to all babies and moms.
Local groups in our area collaborated to organize BIRTH because we saw it as a way to attract a different type of audience. A way to start a dialogue about childbirth in a manner that is fresh and different. The audience in our location loved the play because it combined entertainment and education in a thought provoking manner. It brought to light some of the issues with the current maternity care system.
As the playwright, Karen, pointed out, these issues include the high cesarean rate. Cesareans like all obstetrical interventions have a place where the risks outweigh the benefits. However, women are living in a culture where almost one third of their peers are having babies surgically and a high percentages are being induced - often for nonmedical reasons. Cesarean Sections often mean a longer recovery time. Induced labors can be longer, harder, and more painful.
Vaginal births after Cesareans (VBACs) are being discouraged and banned by hospitals, even though this practice isn't supported by research. Women are being strong-armed into repeat cesareans, dropped by their doctors, or even worse having their children taken away because they are choosing different childbirth options.
The message reinforced by these actions is that childbirth is something to be feared and saved from. The play serves to open a dialogue about talking about women's childbirth experiences. It puts words to feelings that women often have but don't always receive validation for. It questions assumptions on what is defined as "normal" birth. The underlying hope for our group in performing the play Birth is that it encourages women to go out and do their own research, make their own choices, and acknowledge that one day can make a difference.
I work as a doula in Manitoba Canada. We performed the play Birth last spring and the response was spectacular. Many here assume that because I'm a doula, I expect all my clients to give birth naturally. Not the case. My role is to inform women of their choices and options, to remind them that their job is to labour and birth their baby while their care providers ensure that mom and baby are safe. I encourage women to make the choices that are right for them, whether they labour naturally or with an epidural and to be flexible with the labour and birth process.
The audience's response was that it did not push an agenda. It made the audience think about a woman's experience and everyone was able to gain from the performance, whether they were a man, woman, single, young, old or grandparents. This play was a wonderful blend of truth, activism and entertainment. I would encourage more communities to be brave enough to talk about our birth experiences. I would love to hear more women sharing positive stories, whether they birthed at hospital, home or elsewhere. Women deserve to be supported during labour and birth. It is an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives.
I am grateful to Karen Brody for creating a brilliant piece of art that, if we're lucky will encourage more families to become active in their communities and improve maternity care.
Without pushing an agenda of midwife vs. physician or medicated vs. unmedicated BOLD seeks to inform, empower and heal women, as well as the state of childbirth in the world today.
I have repeatedly seen audiences moved to laughter, tears and outrage by this play.
As a woman who suffered two hideous and deeply traumatizing hospital births, I feel compelled to point to the previously unheard of rates of Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Psychosis in this country and in others where medicalized birth has taken over as the new 'norm.' When birth is allowed to unfold as the complex physiological and mental process that it is, without being artificially rushed by drugs and other interventions, when it isn't interrupted constantly by unfamiliar people, when it is allowed to remain a peaceful, private event, rates of PD and PP become almost nonexistent. That cannot be a coincidence and those of us that have been there and back again have learned the truth of it.
When I became pregnant a third time, I was informed by an MD who is actually supportive of VBACs that if I intended to deliver in a hospital, I would have to arrive as late in labor as possible or be forced to succumb to myriad restrictive hospital policies that invariably end in c-sections. I further learned that if I refused to allow a perfectly healthy baby to be parted from me and my husband by arbitrary and scientifically unfounded hospital policies, that child protective services would be called and our child could be removed from our custody. After exhaustive, extensive research, we safely, peacefully and joyfully birthed our new baby in the privacy of our home, with a birth attendant more comprehensively trained in physiological birth than any OB. Not only was it far less painful and faster than previous hospital experiences, there was no risk of or subsequent infection, no unnecessary and painful procedures inflicted upon our healthy son and no fear, no postpartum depression. This baby came naturally into this world after I banished the sneering, patronizing words of a former OB from my mind--in an effort to validate the unnecessary surgical birth that he forced upon me, he subsequently informed me that my pelvis was far too small to deliver a baby larger than several pounds.
My son weighed nine pounds.
I was blatantly lied to. There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with modern women in the US and elsewhere. We can give birth. It is what we are born to do. I thank Karen Brody and all of the other strong, informed women striving to return sanity, safety and life to the process of birth in the world today. We must not let greed and complacency continue to kill and traumatize women and babies. Education and compassion will do more good than any other tools in this fight. Kudos to Karen for wielding them so mightily and to BOLD for bringing such a deeply affecting, balanced portrayal of the true state of modern birth to the attention of us all. Please don't let those trapped in fear and ignorance rob you of the opportunity to experience the play. Please don't let anyone else dictate your choices to you--only you can inform yourself and make the best choices, for yourself, for your families, for your childrens' futures. For that is above all, what mothers do and for most, that journey truly begins with birth.