Remember that story about the pregnant performance artist in Brooklyn who was planning to give birth in a gallery in front of a live audience and call it art?
Well, she did it. Yes, she did. She actually pulled it off.
Both mother (Marni Kotak) and baby (a boy, who was not, ultimately, called "art," but given the moniker Ajax) are apparently happy and healthy and probably quite pleased with themselves. The birth occurred, yup, in a gallery, in front of a crowd of onlookers at the appropriately named Microscope Gallery, reportedly with the baby's father on hand, at 10:17 on Tuesday morning.
And you know what? As distasteful as this birth scenario is to me personally (a baby is not a 'work of art,' a baby is a person, albeit a very small one), I bet those people in the audience ("family, friends, and select spectators") learned a hell of a lot.
I bet they emerged transported and transformed. I bet they will never look at childbirth or women's bodies quite the same way again. Even those audience members who have themselves given birth. Maybe especially those who have themselves given birth.
Having recently been invited into the delivery room by a close friend to help out at the birth of her daughter, I can tell you that the experience of watching a child emerge into this world was seriously profound. It pretty much blew my mind. (Our bodies are amazing. They really are.) In fact, I may well have learned more about labor and delivery in that room than I did during the birth of my own two children. (I was a little too busy then to pause and marvel over the process.)
So while I would never (ever) want to give birth in front of a crowd myself, I have to hand it to Kotak. You could look at her choice as ridiculously self-centered and self-indulgent. (Of course you could.) Or you could look at it as a remarkable act of generosity. She shared the miraculous process of her baby's birth with a bunch of other people. And now that we know that the birth ended safely and healthily for everyone involved, it really doesn't seem like such a terrible choice after all. Does it?
Does the fact that it all worked out OK change your opinion of Kotak's decision to give birth so publicly?
Image via o5com/Flickr