Feminist Breeder’s Live Homebirth Blog Event

You must check this out.  “The Feminist Breeder”, aka Gina Crosley-Corcoran gave birth at home today to her daughter in the water.  Sounds pretty normal to those of us in the homebirth community, right?  Except that it happened over the Internet.  With thousands of people watching–and interacting.

Click here to see the “story” of this event as it was documented in pictures, videos (which only worked on my Safari browser), hundreds of play-by-play comments and posts from actual and virtual “attendees” at the birth.

We really are in the digital age aren’t we?  It’s kind of kooky but also intensely inspiring to me.  I guess if you’re a popular blogger like Gina, having an audience of oh, say…a few thousand people at your birth is no biggie.

Congrats to Gina, her hubbie and little brothers on the safe, healthy, home/water and Online birth of Jolene Crosley-Corcoran.  Now I’ve seen it all (and so did everyone else!).

7 thoughts on “Feminist Breeder’s Live Homebirth Blog Event

  1. (Re)Production Value?
    Whence comes the motivation for one to “Youtube” their birth (or in this case “live feed” it to the world?) Is it political statement, art, self-expression, assertion of women’s solidarity, ego-centrism, or simply “it’s hip and possible, so why not?” Likely some combination of all the above I suppose. One thing is for sure: the net cast by the Web is wide and across it the traditional boundaries between “public” and “private” are virtually erased. We have already seen people broadcast their death, and of course every possible angle on the collective human bedroom is but a mouse-click away. But I wonder: does this wide-open accessibility threaten in a real way to diminish such intimate life moments and passages? We are born once and we die once. Along the way, we may have occasion to witness the births and deaths of a few other people. Doesn’t the inherent rarity of these life events imbue them with a certain sacredness–a dignity–a meditative/spiritual quality enhanced by intimacy and, yes, privacy? Certainly the medicalized treatment of birth (and death) strips it of these values. And media documenting homebirth is essential if we are to see that these values are easily recoverable. But, I question the necessity for the “paparazzi” approach to birth, with its real-time blogs, and logs, and vids, and pics, and the thousands of fans keyboarding madly into the ether. Like so many things Internet, doesn’t it risk reducing the birth event, blessed as it is, to so much spectacle?

  2. Another slant on this phenomenon: In our visual media-saturated culture, we have found it all too easy to reduce the stories, both tragic and joyful, of individual people to a form of entertainment. We look on the news and there’s someone whose house has burned down, there’s someone whose child was abducted, there’s the legless veteran who won a marathon. We follow with rapt attention the latest affairs of Brad and Angelina, suck in “Reality” show ruses, and sit for hours watching people’s broadcasts of their lives on Youtube. We are fundamentally disconnected from these people because we do not know them and their stories, while entertaining, are essentially irrelevant to our daily lives. Images of them become commodities. And the unique lives and events of real people thus become another part what we so rapaciously consume. Do we now want to throw our birth stories into this maw? In a consumer culture where it seems everything has “E-value,” is nothing beyond reach?

    1. i find it interesting, i jones, that you have made these comments on a website that features a film series about the birth event, set in the intimate and “sacred space” of families’ homes, with raw, explicit images of women giving birth. how is the essence of what i’m doing with this project different than FB’s live birth blog? i see it as not much, outside of the “live” part.

      it may not be your bent, or mine, to broadcast this event, but it is FB’s choice to do so. and it was her fans choice to stay up all night to “participate” in it. in fact, the video clips, in addition to being pretty shoddy in quality, were quite truncated and showed no nudity. there were also very few of them. yet, i think her birth “post” is a fascinating and maybe even revolutionary document–and quite possibly something entirely new. personal choice, technology and openness made this possible. i think it’s an inspiring use of technology–to open up the sacred spaces and share those experiences with people that want to connect, support and learn. i think FB has vision, and yes, is possibly–a la lady gaga–an opportunist trying to push the bar a bit further to stay in the spotlight. but it still remains amazing to me that thousands of people “attended” her birth and were encouraging and supporting her throughout. if the average US woman even had a smidge of all the positive energy, support and affirmation that were bestowed on FB for her choice to give birth to her baby naturally and at home, how could our culture of birth–and society, in general–be so much different?

      i remain inspired.

      here’s a link to a new site/film project that resembles my own vision around developing and extending “at home in maine” to “at home in…(the world).”

      one world birth: http://www.oneworldbirth.com/fe/10058-one-world-birth-how-it-works

      as always, thank you for your input and insights.


      1. I too share the irony, but I see a clear distinction between what WIM is doing and what FB put out there (or at least what I saw of it—I was not one of those who participated in the real-time birth “blog-event.”) There is a qualitative difference between the sensitivity and care with which WIM approaches the documentation of a birth story and the way FB produced her high-profile “performance-birth.” WIM pieces are sensitive, quiet portraits that are intended to educate and enlighten people into the beauty and possibility of home birth as a choice. They are ever-respectful of the participants’ wishes and needs, and their frank depictions of the entire process of birth are handled deftly by a “mediator”—that is to say, they are created to show birth in its entirely in a way that also protects the participants’. They quietly advocate; they do not intend to shock or entertain. They are not something one chooses to watch for entertainment. As such they achieve a most delicate balance: they protect the sacredness and personal sanctity of a womans’ (family’s) birth, and yet they share it with others who may want to do the same thing. The difference here is the mediator/filmmaker who is creating the medium.

        That is decidedly not the feeling that emanates from FB’s birth extravaganza. I remain unconvinced that any educational/enlightenment/solidarity value of her event was not eclipsed by its excessively over-produced, and essentially “no holds barred” content. In the end, I still wonder if hyping one’s birth as a “blog-event” doesn’t diminish the possible rational, intelligent, respectful consideration of home birth as a viable choice by reducing it to so much more viewable content. Or worse, as a sword to pick up. Just look at the reaction Dr. Amy posted.

        As for creative use of technology? Not really. Skype and Facebook are wide open portals for any content. The fact that thousands of people (mostly women to be sure) watched FB and cheered her on is not all that impressive given that we live in an internet culture where the bigger the spectacle, the more transient attention it will attract. The cute little dog doing tricks on Youtube will likely get a million viewers too, but does that mean there’s a groundswell of support out there among dog lovers to promote dog training? I don’t believe the type of necessary awareness and conversation around a home/natural birth will ensue simply by using the technology to permit thousands of people to blog their birth any more than the abundant availability of images of people having sex has encouraged a healthy awareness and behavior around sexuality. If anything, our notions of sex and sexuality have arguably become more distorted as a result of this wide availability.

        No. Images alone are just images—and left unguided, given no context for the debate, no mediation, the viewer is likely to make anything of them they wish. And they will.

        Sorry WIM. I’m with you. But I think the route FB took is a dead end.

      2. do you know who dr. amy is i jones? she is one of the most rampant anti-homebirth pariahs out there. sorry…not the best reference to back your position up. she’s nasty and mean and anything but about supporting choices for women in childbirth. strike from the record please.

        more later about your post.

  3. Dr. Amy does indeed seem to be the self-appointed antagonist of homebirth–and the people who support that choice. But, I actually think she is the perfect reference to support my contention. What do you suppose it was about FB’s publicized homebirth that raised Dr. A’s hackles so and caused her to spew more slander and attack? What triggered this “rampant homebirth pariah” to vent more of her outrageous polemics? Maybe FB’s offering of her homebirth as a high-profile internet media event provided Dr. Amy with context to grind her axe. Rush Limbaugh taking on Jerry Springer?

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