Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stop Making Sense

Back in the winter we rented the DVD Stop Making Sense. Spouse had seen it several times before. In fact, his eldest-brother's-good-high-school-friend-cum-roadie has a cameo in it, shining a spotlight in David Byrne's face. Is that six degrees from fame for me?

I digress. I had not seen the film before. I loved it. In fact, as soon as it was done, I switched to the "Director's Commentary" overdub and watched it again.

There is one song, I forget now which one, in the later half of the show, where everyone runs in place. There's amazing energy as the whole band bobs up and down while singing, playing, making music. When I watched it without the commentary, I didn't think of it as "running." It was just the jumpy thing they were doing during the song.

When the director's commentary, which included the band members, got to that part in the concert, David Byrne said something interesting. He said it was the early '80s and Jogging was really popular. Health gurus were touting the benefits of jogging. Across America the fad exercise was jogging. Jogging was everywhere and Talking Heads thought it would be fun/ironic/artistic (whatever performance artists think) to include it in their show. That number (was it Love in Wartime?) is homage to the '80's running fad.

This caught in my brain. I have been a runner since the early '80s, having been on the 8th grade track team in 1983. With the exception of a few years here and there (college immersion, babies), I've run ever since. Not knowing what our culture was like before Running, it seems neither trendy nor unusual to me. It is just one of the many exercise options available.

Tai Bo? Trendy. Pilates? Trendy. Not running. But David Byrne points out it's merely a matter of vantage point. Let's face it. Exercise itself is trendy. My grandfather, who died at 93 after living independently the previous 9 decades, didn't "exercise." He sawed, shoveled, carried, chopped, climbed, sheared, shoed, and so on. It kept him strong and healthy for nearly a century.

What David Byrnes' comment makes me ponder is the point in history at which we presently are in the birth arena. We are in the middle of a shift. Both normal birth and highly medical birth are exerting novel appeal on big segments of the American Culture. These ways of birthing could even be seen as "trendy."

Yet down the road, the novelty will wear away and what remains will just be "the way things are." What will that norm be? Will holistic birth prevail? Will birthing women a generation from now assume it was always so: "You mean there was a time when the idea of laboring without an epidural was radical?

Or, as I fear, will "managed birth" become so widespread that the notion of "just having a baby" seems quaint? "No scheduled induction or Cesarean? Hard to imagine."

Let us proceed alertly with shaping our and our daughters' and granddaughters' future. We don't want normal birth to be a relic in some performance art show.

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Blogger HomeGrown said...

I stumbled upon your blog via a google search about most babies being born at night! I am also a doula and mother. I am just coming off of 5 births in the last 7 weeks and have not yet found the words to blog about my amazing experiences... We'll see!

9:11 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Thanks for the comment, homegrown. I look forward to reading about your births. 5 in 7 weeks is too intense for me!

7:27 AM  
Blogger kris said...

that's a good post. i so hope normal birth doesn't become a thing of the past. i was just having a similar conversation the other night with a friend who said she was surprised that women were still becomming doulas and midwives since these days society wants everything technological. thankfully there are still those who are inspried by the natural.

homegrown-wow! congrats!

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that things will become even more polarized; midwives and natural childbirth will continue to gain ground, but medical birth will become even more medicalized and technology-bound.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous debbie said...

I just attended a birth last night where the doctor refered to having a dial-up birth. Things are so technological now that birth can be dialed up or down with pitocin or the epidural. The doctor said this like it was a good thing. I too, hope that natural birth is not a thing of the past.

4:15 PM  

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