The End of Privacy: Giving Birth in Front of An Audience

Self on 10.11.11
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Photo: Manuela Imre/dpa/Corbis

I only have flashes of memory about the birth of my first child. We were watching The Sopranos when I went into labor, and my doctor said the contractions were far enough apart that I could finish watching the episode, and Deadwood after it.

Then being wheeled to my room at the hospital because all pregnant ladies are put in wheelchairs (liability issues, I guess). Asking for an epidural sometime around 2 or 3 a.m.

Them turning me on my side during active labor to see if the angle change would help ease the little guy out and my becoming SO uncomfortable that I freaked out for the only time during the ordeal.

That blissful moment when his head came out and within what seemed like seconds, it was finally all over.

That burger, fries and shake I ate afterward, the most amazing meal I'd ever had (realize, I hadn't eaten in nearly 24 hours by this point and had just had the workout of a lifetime).

Seeing my face in the mirror and wondering who in the heck that was. All that pushing really makes you puffy. The photos taken then are utterly frightening.

So I read this morning about Brooklyn "artist" Marni Kotak spending up to the next five weeks in Bushwick's Microscope Gallery as part of her work, "The Birth of Baby X."

Until the baby's born, gallery guests will be treated to films she made of her time pregnant with the baby. And afterward, she'll turn the show into "Raising Baby X," though on film and not necessarily in the gallery.

I can't help but think this child is going to end up rebelling by becoming a stockbroker on Wall Street. Or maybe a politician. Definitely Republican.

The New York Post points out that this isn't really out of the ordinary for Kotak, who has "staged re-enactments of her own birth, attending her grandfather’s funeral and losing her virginity in a blue Plymouth."

Well, then.

Anyhow, when the time comes, the child's father and a doula will be on hand. If things get really crazy, she's not averse to going to the hospital, if that's what's necessary. So that's good, I guess.

Given our reality TV world, I suppose I'm not all that shocked that someone is doing this. It was only a matter of time. But who actually wants to go see someone giving birth? (I'm thinking most of those will be people who didn't have to live through it themselves.)

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