Woman Turns Birth Into 'Performance Art'

I bet you’ve never seen an exhibit like this before.

A recent report from the New York Post told the story of a New York woman who turned her pregnancy – and labor – into a piece of “performance art.”

Marni Kotak, 36, spent the last month of her pregnancy inside an art display set up like a birthing room at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn as part of the project, which she called “The Birth of Baby X.”

On Tuesday, Kotak gave birth to a 9-pound, 2-ounce, baby boy in front of a crowd of 20 randomly selected observers. The birth was assisted by a midwife.

Now, I’m all for artistic freedom, but I’m not as comfortable with trivializing the complexity of birth. And the story left me somewhat confused – not to mention concerned – because I do not want women to think that non-hospital deliveries are as simple as letting nature take its course, as this story might imply.

When considering a home birth, it’s important to evaluate certain risk factors, such as:

-Size and position of the baby

-Location of the placenta

-Whether it is a single or multiple pregnancy

-Certain medical problems present in the mother, like hypertension and diabetes

All of these factors, if not checked out, could be catastrophic – and sometimes even fatal – for the newborn during a home birth.

However, I’m not knocking home birth all together. I think a home birth done with good monitoring, strong medical backup and a midwife or doula who is well-versed in vaginal deliveries, can be safe for both the infant and the mother.

Nevertheless, it’s still hard for me to understand why Kotak wanted to make art from something that I consider to be a magical moment between the mother, child and father, and display it in front of 20 strangers. To me, personally, that detaches the process of labor from the true meaning of birth.