I spoke at a Midwifery Today conference in New York City about eight years ago. I love those conferences.
I was asked if I minded being filmed. I said it was fine with me.
After the talk that I did, replete with my props and costumes, a beautiful woman came up to me. She told me that she wanted to use some of the footage of my talk in a film she was doing. I said it would be okay with me as long as I had editing privileges – I wanted to see what was going to appear in the film and in what context. She told me that she couldn’t promise that I would see what part of my talk would be used.
And so, I declined. I told her that I couldn’t give my permission under those circumstances. What I failed to say was that I had been filmed three times before, had agreed to be a part of whatever project it was – and then was horrified by what the narrative had said over my presentation. I trusted no one at this point.
The woman who came up to me was Rikki Lake. I show her wonderful film in my childbirth classes and lend it out to anyone who will agree to watch it. I am so sad not to have been a part of “The Business of Being Born.” I also wish I could have talked to the woman who, at the end of the film, ended up with a cesarean for a breech – I had so many suggestions that might have helped her to avoid being cut.
And so, Rikki, wherever you are – I am so sorry. I had been so burned in newspaper articles and in other media presentations just prior to your request — I was feeling so protective of my beliefs and philosophies. I do hope that someday you will give me another chance. I coined the term VBAC, just so you know, and I spend almost 24/7 doing this “birth stuff.” Your film is magnificent and I bow to you. And if you ever feel willing to film me again, I will wear my penis costume – and that’s a promise.