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Is there such a thing as a perfect birth?

Our society can be a mixture of contradictions, especially when it comes to anything related to motherhood or parenting. We are inundated with a lot of messages about how to be a so-called "perfect" parent, but at the same time, much of our country is lacking the resources or support to reach those high standards. The same can be said for birth in this country.

These are the facts: The United States currently ranks 60th out of 180 countries when it comes to maternal mortality rates. In fact, we're one of just eight countries to see our maternal death rates go up in the last ten years. Yet at the same time, the U.S. has the costliest maternal health care in the world. This disconnect is astounding.

It's also no surprise that with a birth industry steeped in conditions like these, women are crying out to share their stories. And, that's where we come in. With over 40 years of combined experiences in the world of pregnancy and birth, we are eager to explore this topic in more depth. We want to look at the intersection of birth experiences and the current state of the birth industry in the US. How do women's vision of birth compare with the reality, and what factors play into that? We're curious about the pressure surrounding various birth choices, and whether they're choices at all. Through investigative research, interviews and storytelling, our aim is to paint an in-depth picture of what birth looks like in our country today, and to find out if birth can truly be perfect.

 - Avital Norman Nathman & Deborah Wage, CNM