Inner beauty

Inner beauty

There are 4 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Oct 27, 2007, titled Inner beauty. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Our two kids, we say, are our double bylines. They entered this world at the old Prentice Women's Hospital, the innovative, Bertrand Goldberg-designed structure whose voluptuous concrete shells always reminded ...

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Lisa Leone

Blue Island, IL

#1 Oct 28, 2007
Where are the additional photos???
Arielle B

San Jose, CA

#2 Oct 29, 2007
I know Blair Kamin and Barbara Mahany's job is to review architecture, as they did in the article about the new Prentice Women's Hospital, but I see a larger opportunity in this case to talk about the current culture of birthing in America. There's something wrong with trying to make a hospital feel as much like home as possible instead of
discussing women's ability to actually birth at home.
I'm not naïve: I know homebirth flies in the face of conventional ideology. But I'm also not alone: the new documentary film "The Business of Being Born" and the book Pushed are part of a movement considering what's wrong with our current medicalized approach to birthing. Kamin and Mahany point out, for instance, that hospital
"architecture, that most public of arts" must be used for
"child-bearing, that most private of life's passage." Private indeed. Evidence suggests that even in the most well-designed hospital, women often feel unable to labor under the eyes of strangers who bustle in and out at all hours.
The article also states that the new women's hospital "is designed to give [the mother] a sense of control at a time when nature may make her feel as though she's powerless." But nature doesn't make mothers feel powerless: hospitals do, with their emphasis on managing and "improving" the natural labor process. If we allow women to birth the way nature designed—in whatever position they choose, surrounded only
by people they trust, in a quiet, dim space, with few
interventions— they tend to feel empowered. I know I did. After my first homebirth, I felt like I could do anything.
I was also disturbed in this article by the excitement over
flat-screen TVs in birthing rooms. During the birth of one's child, the attention ought to be focused on the mother and baby, not the Bulls. A laboring mother and a newborn baby have a right to and benefit from a media-free space, a small oasis of focus and stillness in an over-stimulating world.
As Kamin and Mahany point out, "Research shows that people heal better when they're home." Why not stay home to birth in the first place? Of course, birth is sometimes complicated, and needs hospitals, doctors and lots of machines to make it safe. But in the vast
majority of cases, it doesn't. For thousands of years—right up until the turn of the last century, in fact—mothers birthed healthy babies in the calm and privacy of their own homes. All of us have homebirthing ancestors. We can carry on that tradition today, and there are many benefits to be had, including continuity of care,
attendants with skills no longer taught in medical schools, and less risk of infection. Not to mention the architectural comfort and beauty of one's own home.
I chose homebirth over birthing in a hospital that tries to simulate a home-like environment. I urge others to research and consider whether homebirth is the best option for them as well.
Arielle B.
Paul Meyer

San Jose, CA

#3 Dec 1, 2007
My wife's overnight stay at Prentice was one horror story after another. Topping the list was her body-shaking reaction to a pain drug they gave her, that was met by the staff's foot-dragging response to the problem—until I had to shame nurse Diana to get her to move on it, and demand that an attending physician get paged "stat." Only to have a condescending resident show up.(Please put this body mechanic in ER amid the unconscious who won't notice her attitude.)

There's more. Like people coming to each room to offer free cookies—just what a diabetic needs; and my wife trying to order dinner, only to find that though she had been in her room for 2 hours, she wasn't in the system and it would take them an hour to get the food to her.“Would you like to try our chicken pot pie?”, intoned a recorded message.“Perfect if you’re yearning for comfort food.” Comfort food? What about all the articles and TV reports on comfort food being unhealthy? Besides that, the American Psychological Association reported in February, 2006 that “ People who turn to comfort food or smoking are starting a vicious cycle.” To be clear, the APA is categorizing comfort food with the addictive and life-threatening habit of smoking.

Prentice Women’s Hospital’s “skin,” as architects call a building’s exterior, is the only half-decent attribute to this institution. Ergo: it’s beauty is only skin deep. For it is categorically the ugliest representation of health care I have ever seen or read about.
#4 Sep 24, 2013
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