Thursday, May 20, 2010

Birth and The Matrix

A few weeks ago the movie The Matrix was on TV, and my husband recorded it on our DVR. I did not see The Matrix until I could watch an edited version (because I don't watch R rated movies), but this was probably my third time seeing it, and it had been a while. Then there was a reference to The Matrix on by Dwight on The Office, and I realized that my blog title actually relates birth to this culturally significant movie.

The premise of the movie is about machines taking over the world and keeping all the humans "plugged in" to a computer program, "the matrix," so that they can use them as an energy source. The humans don't know they are in the matrix, they think it is the real world, but in reality, they are in some pod full of goo connected to a bunch of wires and tubes. When Keanu Reeve's character Neo takes the "red pill," he gets "unplugged" from the matrix and learns to see it for what it really is.

In edition to grossing us all out with the scene of a creepy mechanical bug crawling into Keanu Reeve's navel, The Matrix might actually teach us something about our birth culture. There are several parallels between this and our current birth system, which tends to benefit from keeping women uninformed and slotted neatly into their pre-arranged set up of wires and tubes--birth-by-machine, not machines that control the world, but it is about control. Most women see this as normal, as the way it is. I used to fall into that category. My own journey to natural childbirth was eye-opening in a way very similar to Neo's experience of learning the truth about the matrix in the film. And I, for one, am very glad I didn't take the blue pill.

Keep bending those spoons, ladies!

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