Friday, April 8, 2011

Thoughts on "One Born Every Minute"

This post is a great perspective about the new Liftetime series. I really enjoyed it and think that Barbara Herrera did a wonderful job seeing it from both sides. It is true that as doulas we want birth to be shown with less interventions and more empowering, but we also have to view it from the new mom perspective and what she is being exposed to, and how we as doulas can work within this birth environment. I have yet to see the show because I don't have cable, but this article has links to it, so I will try to do so soon!


You can’t Google about natural birth the last couple of weeks without coming up against half a dozen posts or articles critiquing the new show on Lifetime, One Born Every Minute. One of the most vocal was Gina, The Feminist Breeder, who wrote “Lifetime Shows Us There’s One (Unnecessary Intervention) Born Every Minute.” Gina says,

"So I couldn’t help myself. I took notes the entire way through this train wreck and yelled at the television every 60 seconds. Here is what I saw, and here (in blue block quotes) is what I yelled at my TV."

Kristen, from Birthing Beautiful Ideas (a blog I’ve never seen before… how have I missed this?) writes in her post Dear Lifetime: It’s not Weird, it’s Normal,

“… I worry about pregnant women and their partners watching “One Born Every Minute.” And it’s not because I think the show is going to make them want to run out and ask for every birth intervention in the world as if they’re candy. Rather, I worry that the show will create or even reinforce in women’s minds a pretty bogus distinction between “What’s Normal and What’s FREAKY-DEAKY-WEIRD-AND-ABNORMAL During Labor.”

I’d considered not watching the series, but since I’ve recently hung up my homebirth midwife hat and picked up my full-time monitrice-doula hat, I thought, “What the heck… how different could it be from what I already know to be true in hospitals?”

Last Tuesday night, I watched both the first segment, “To Medicate or Not,” (the one that had the natural birth couple in it) and the second installment, “Expect the Unexpected”; Sarah left the room. (You can see the full segments in those links.)

It turns out I was right; the shows weren’t all that different from my own personal hospital experiences… as a doula or as a midwife who’s transferred/transported women to them.

I didn’t sit screaming at the TV. I didn’t get high blood pressure from enormous amounts of frustration. Sure, I rolled my eyes a few times (some things said and done were absurd… more below), but, hard as it is to say, I stand behind the “You Buy the Hospital Ticket, You Go for the Hospital Ride” belief I’ve had for years. I don’t know if 28 years in hospitals has numbed me (I don’t believe it has at all) or if my idealistic belief that I Can Change The System has been flushed down the toilet, but I have pretty much given up any hope of seeing massive institutional changes in that area of the birth world.

To read the rest of this lovely post click here

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