BIRTH is a documentary-style play based on over one hundred interviews Karen Brody conducted with pregnant mothers across America about their birth experiences. It tells the true stories of 8 women painting a portrait of how low-risk, educated women are giving birth today..
The themes in the play are universal. Go to any industrialized countries today and you’ll find:
- a surprisingly large number of pregnant women not knowing their birth options and the risks of medical interventions
- coercion of pregnant women physically and verbally
- that whisper of knowing in every pregnant woman that her body ROCKS
and wonderfully wise play..”
- Dr. Christiane Northrup, MD, FACOG,
author of Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom
Moving between first-person monologues, some dialogue, and the voices pregnant women heard on the day they gave birth, BIRTH is the first piece of theater to confront what City Lights Theater Company called, “The naked truth about childbirth.” In BIRTH you’ll meet:
Jillian, a stay-at-home mother of four children, who shows us that one unhappy birth experience does not have to be repeated.
Beth, a 35-year-old successful, high-powered computer systems manager from New Jersey, may shock you when she talks about her planned a cesarean.
Vanessa, a buyer for a major department store who never had a doubt that she wanted an epidural, will make you laugh and cry.
Janet, a lesbian in her 40s, who despite her feminist background wanted a medicalized birth, fearing the safety of her and the baby. And then there’s…
Lisa, an African-American who felt intimidated and used by her medicalized midwives and the healthcare system she was trapped in.
Sandy. Get to know Sandy, who thought birth was “just one day” but found out that that day changed her world forever and turned her into a birth warrior for her second birth.
Natalie will get you thinking about physical betrayal. And,
Amanda, an athletic, confident stay-at-home mother will get you chanting ”My Body Rocks” so loud it’ll make you wonder if you want what she got.
WHY KAREN WROTE BIRTH
Perhaps I am a pioneer. Someone had to go first. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a mainstream play depicting childbirth.
Women got The Vagina Monologues. But somehow childbirth had been left out of the dialogue about women’s bodies. Nobody wanted to touch birth.
Believe me, in the fall of 2003 I knocked on every door of every editor of every main-stream magazine. The response? Lots of shut doors.
Either they were all deaf or somebody wasn’t interested in hearing the details about childbirth.
A prenatal yoga article? Yes. A hypnobirthing piece? Absolutely.
But the act of giving birth? The door was slammed tight.
“Please don’t tell me about the baby coming out,” one editor told me.
That made up my mind. I was going in.
Women all have vaginas. Maybe that’s it. Women have vaginas, but not every woman gives birth. I couldn’t figure it out.
I couldn’t figure out why when a woman’s vagina opens far wider than she ever imagined and another human being comes out this is not something people want to hear about?
Someone I know once told me childbirth was “gross and animalistic.” Maybe that’s it.
So I called everyone I knew and I asked them to call everyone they knew to tell me their birth stories.
I sent out requests for birth stories to listservs, alumni magazines, midwifery newsletters.
I approached women in supermarkets. The response was overwhelming.