Tomorrow, March 3, 2015 Lifetime will air a new reality show titled “Born in the Wild”. The very dramatic trailer has everything a good drama should have; dramatic music, yelling! Falling! Storms! It’s has everything!
It has everything, including a lot of controversy surrounding it, which exactly what Lifetime is looking for.
On the one hand, home birthers, natural birthers, Doulas, and Midwives everywhere are excited to see out of hospital birth on TV at all. On the other hand anti home birthers are chomping at the bit hoping something goes dramatically wrong to prove a point that home birth is dangerous and scary.
In the trailer this controversy is briefly mentioned by Audrey, a Midwife who has an “unassisted” birth on the show. At first I thought that it seemed ridiculous that they would compare what happens on this show to home birth, and then I read the show facts.
Several things stood out to me right away.
- Every family was required to have a detailed emergency transfer procedure in place
- 5 of these families birthed with skilled midwives in attendance
- Only one, a certified midwife herself, birthed without “unassisted”
- Advanced notice was required to be given to the nearest medical facilities
- Medical assistance was made available to the participants, (medics standing by off camera just in case as with all reality shows)
So, other than the Alaska birth, which was 150 miles from the nearest hospital, these were all basically extremely safe, well prepared home birth situations that just happen to have occurred outside.
I couldn’t readily find information on how far the rest of the births were from hospitals, but I’m guessing not far considering most states have extremely strict laws regarding that type of thing….usually 30 minutes or less. As far as Alaska goes, well, it’s Alaska, the state is bigger than the rest of the contiguous U.S. with a low population density and common sense tells us babies are born that far from hospitals pretty regularly there, without medical staff standing just off camera.
Also in the fact section, Lifetime included a quote from the CDC website.
The entire point of this show is entertainment. Looking at the snippet above, I’d guess that someone in the beginning stages possibly wanted to document the safety and beauty of birthing in nature Of course, that wouldn’t get many ratings, except for those of us in the birth field who would be watching it either way. We really can’t help ourselves
The moral of the story is: Take this, and ALL television birth shows with a grain of salt. Here in the US we have a birth culture that is bent on drama, fear, and sabotage.
Instead of allowing fear and drama to make decisions for you, look inside of yourself and find what YOU want YOUR birth to be. Find the power and strength that you have to choose the birth that YOU want. Follow the evidence, trust your instincts and birth the way that makes YOU feel most supported. Colorado Mountain Doulas supports you in your choices. We work as a team with your qualified medical practitioners, whether in a hospital, at your home, in a birth center or next to a babbling brook. YOU decide what empowers you and we are here with you, every step of the way.