Variances within a Nation

There were clear differences between birth in A Walk to Beautiful and Born in the USA. Here, I would like to call attention to the within nation differences and use that to address the between nation differences. During Born in the USA we saw several different types of births in America. Though it wasn’t a complete list it definitely gave enough perspectives to be labeled as birth in America. In A Walk to Beautiful, only one type of birth was seen and we have labeled it, in our class, birth in Ethiopia. I think this is an unfair label. ¬†As stated in class, a lot of women in Ethiopia, especially in cities, give birth in a hospital. Though the problem of fistulas is a grave one, it presents only one view. I think we should be cautious in taking one view, especially our first and only view, to be the beacon of truth for an entire people.

3 thoughts on “Variances within a Nation

  1. Excellent point! And feel free to caution us in this class not to assume that one type of birth or any other phenomenon related to birth, is homogeneous for a whole country.

    However, according to the most recent Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS), very few mothers (34%) make at least one antenatal visit and even less receive delivery care from skilled professionals. Twenty-eight percent of births were assisted by a traditional birth attendant (TBA) and 57 percent of births were assisted by a relative, or some other person. So 85% of the population does not deliver with a health professional in a hospital. So it is the norm, rather than the exception. But keep us mindful of not making assumptions!

  2. I completely agree with your statement about the tunnel vision our discussion in class had. There was one form of birth we were shown and all of our conversations after were based on this one method. That written, I feel this is a typical response when viewing documentaries like the one we were shown. It was centered on fistulas in women in a rural setting of Ethiopia and there was a clear focus on the area and the complication of fistula as opposed to birth practices. In the context of the documentary it would be easy to get caught up in thinking that the birth displayed is how most Ethiopians practice birth. This is something to be mindful of when discussing documentaries, which will always have an air of bias in my personal opinion.

  3. Hi Stella,

    I’m responding to a very old post, but I had some thoughts about the documentary myself. In the class where we talked about “Walk to Beautiful,” it was mentioned that the movie drew some criticism due to the fact that it made the villagers seem callous and uncaring. We had a lengthy discussion about whether those claims were valid or not. Although the movie clearly talks about fistula, I actually think culture played a huge role in the presentation of the problems of fistula. The move seemed to portray a lot of the cultural practices in a negative way, and there was no explanation explored for the practices. This, to me, creates a skewed view of the issue, just as you say a skewed view of birth existed in the movie. In short, it wasn’t a very comprehensive documentary in terms of culture in my opinion, but there is validity to the approach for sure because young pregnancy does result in fistulas and as Dr. Foster said, most births do not occur in a hospital. Great observation though!

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