I have seen commercials for this program for a few weeks now. I have debated mentioning it here because I really want this space to be about Caleb, about my journey in life after him. But this particular topic is so wrapped up in all that I have come to know here in db land, I felt the need to say something.
I am really angry about it. I haven't seen it yet, as it hasn't aired, but everything I have read so far, shows me a really irresponsible and heavily slanted perspective of what I can only say is a ridiculously naive decision by mothers who think they are doing right by their babies.
The US has a relatively high morbidity rate for childbirth given the 'development' of our nation. Some of this can be attributed to lower income, uneducated, young mothers who don't seek out prenatal care, who are substance abusers or who literally choose to ignore their pregnancy because they just don't know what else to do. In my state, where we have a very high percentage of illegal immigrants, many are afraid to seek out medical care because of deportation. But when their babies are born here, with a 'poor outcome' they become a part of the US birth statistics, good or bad. Another part of the statistic is us. The dead baby moms. We all know that for most of us, ending up here on the wrong side of the numbers, had nothing to do with the medical care we received. Not all of us, but most of us. In fact, as some of us here have managed to get lucky enough to have a subsequent pregnancy, we have invited, if not begged the medical community, for even more intervention in a desperate attempt of avoiding another 'bad outcome'.
What gets me so angry about this show is that it defies all of the medical advances made in bringing babies into the world safely. It encourages simple-mindedness and uninformed decision making. It tells women that the medical community is suspect and has nothing to offer in childbirth that they can't do at home. The women I have seen interviewed so far for this 'show' have said things like "I am the safest one to deliver my child into this world" or "I don't need any prenatal care from a doctor, I can do it at home". And while I am quite aware that in many cases you can get lucky and be right about either of those statements, there are also many cases where that is 100% wrong and the baby is put into far worse jeopardy because of the blind arrogance of the mother.
The irresponsibility of a program like this shakes me to the core. And while it remains to be seen I seriously doubt that they will do justice to all of the 'bad outcomes' that result from the 'free.birth' philosophy. They will not talk about mothers who lost babies because of undiagnosed GD, or other manageable blood disorders, they will not talk about babies lost to IUGR or babies born with undiagnosed congenital defects that could have been treated in utero or at least could have been born where a neonatology team was waiting for the baby. They will not, I am sure, feature any babies STILLBORN, to these 'mothers'. They will feature only successful outcomes, happy babies, happy families beaming proudly at how they 'escaped' the big bad medical community and all of its invasive technology and went and had a healthy baby anyway. They will encourage other mothers to make the same misguided decision. They will, intentionally or not, put other mothers and babies at risk by featuring this "birthing philosophy".
I wish they would produce a program that spoke to the issues of what can go wrong. A program that talks about what life looks like on the other side of the statistics. I wish that someone was brave enough to put our faces on a program to show that pregnancy loss, stillbirth and neonatal death happens to 'normal' people like us. We are not freaks, we are not drug abusers or impoverished, malnourished women living in huts. We walk by you on the street, we smile at you in grocery stores, we drive by you on the highway. We are not mothers who shunned the medical community and then had our babies die. We did everything we could that was available to us and still came home with empty arms and tiny ash filled boxes. I wish when they produced a show like the one I talk about here, they would show the real story, the real consequence of a bad decision like the one these mothers make. I wish they would talk about the real meaning of the numbers behind the statistics and instead of saying "Is this the right way to go in childbirth" they would say "Why this is such a ridiculously dangerous decision..."
I want to watch the show but I am already so jaded by what I have seen I don't know if I will be able to stomach it.
I get that sometimes babies die, I get it. I know we will never ever be able to eliminate entirely that horrible tragedy from this earth. But seriously, do we have to watch while others choose to make it more likely? Seriously?