Another Review at MyShelf.Com


by Karen Brody


It comes in waves it seems, every twenty years or so, a period of revolt followed by a period of acquiescence. But it seems in the area of natural birthing a little of the gain is retained each time. Still, over the past twenty years or so, natural birthing has been increasingly suppressed by the medical community. Somehow normal childbirth became risky, requiring medical intervention. Obstetricians pushed Caesarean sections to the point that today more than one-third of all births are C-sections.

Now, in the 21st century, Karen Brody’s play, Birth, has fomented another revolt; one that recognizes and honors the intrinsic wisdom of women’s bodies throughout the birth process.

Birth is not a statistical review of studies conducted by scientific researchers. Rather, the play was drawn from numerous interviews Brody held with birth mothers. It is a play of experiences, eight women relating their birth stories. "There are too many... mothers who are injured from their birth experiences," Brody says. "While I never set out to write a play that was against the medical community, my one commitment when I wrote the play was to tell the truth. It became difficult to tell the truth... and not find at the end a negative picture was being painted of the medical establishment."

Birth is not merely a play; it is a phenomenon with the force to change business-as-usual within the medical community. The point clearly made is: Birthing should be woman-centered; normal birth is a joyful experience to be embraced. This powerful, epiphany-inducing play is being performed all over the world to packed houses.

The well-crafted play is beautiful in its simplicity, itself a motif of the exquisite simplicity of natural birth. The play’s unobtrusive framework acts as a setting for the jewel-like experiences of the eight women characters. That this is Karen Brody’s first play is astonishing. That its message is so exceedingly welcome, less so. Brody’s insightful work is excruciatingly unbiased, a work of refreshing honesty and clarity. I urge you to read it; see it; embrace it.

The Book

Trade paperback
1-4343-7741-5 / 978-1-4343-7741-8
Fiction / General / Literary / Play
More at
NOTE: A documentary-style, activist play

The Reviewer

Deb Kincaid
Reviewed 2009
© 2009