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Abstract

Anthropologists and other social scientists as well as many in the field of healthcare have for decades published articles on the detrimental effects of the medicalization of pregnancy and birth. There is no dearth of information in the academic databases, yet little progress has been made in stopping the harm being done by unnecessary medical procedures such as Caesarian sections (World Health Organization, 2021). Since Smokey the Bear was introduced, the concept of humanizing topics by putting faces and voices on social issues is recognized as psychologically effective (Herbert, W. 2013), and that is what the documentary “Birth-Time” does. It gives voices to the words on paper found in our databases. The video offers first-person stories through interviews of women and their partners who felt traumatized by their birth experiences as well as confirming testimony from experts in the field. It offers important insights into the problems inherent in our medical systems that lead to women feeling traumatized and often suffering from postpartum depression or PTSD after the birth of a child, the helpless feelings experienced by partners and fathers who feel left out of the birth experience, an understanding of how denial of culture affects minority women, and also why those in the medical fields often feel compelled to work in a system they themselves do not support. What is unique is that in addition to identifying the problem, the documentary offers ideas for solutions.

Note on the Author

Gloria Bobbie is an Anthropologist at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh and has researched and taught about the effects of the transfer of ideas and practices from developed to developing nations for over 20 years. One such transfer is the medicalization of health issues, especially those affecting women. Her work has received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest award given to teaching faculty in the SUNY system.

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