Childbirth Isn’t Confusing, but “Born in the Wild” Is!
All this talk, all these previews, and all this…confusion…what’s a person to do? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good bowl of popcorn and I am always ready to don a full Elizabethan collar in the name of drama. But drama needs to serve a greater purpose of clarity and insight, especially when the context encompasses current maternal and perinatal issues.
Lifetime’s “Born in the Wild” sends completely confusing messages that in the current climate of the birth world, only further polarizes opinions and creates “camps”.
How is it confusing?
For many, the show leaves these questions:
- Are the births completely unassisted or are they basically homebirths outside?
- Is this dangerous and worthy of full-force, adrenaline pumping fear, or not?
- Are all people who choose out-of-hospital childbirth, distrustful hippies?
The answers to these questions are not so easily discernible and the last thing we need is confusion:
- According to Lifetime, the births are midwife-assisted. So, the expectant parents are indeed privy to medical care. However, most are birthing outside, making these births pretty much homebirths, which when planned and attended by skilled care providers, are a safe option for low-risk women with healthy babies.
- You might not know that (birth at home can be safe) based on the high-octane music and footage used in the docuseries due to the very nature of the program to sensationalize the events. For the most part, childbirth is a normal and natural event, BUT, yes, even in the best of circumstances and care, it can go very wrong very quickly. This dichotomy is what has caused many to espouse hospital birth as the only safe option, or for the other “side” to vehemently claim that homebirth is the only safe option, so as to avoid unnecessary interventions and overly cautious surgeons, which leads to…
- Just like any other generalization, it is not fair or accurate to paint parents who choose homebirth as distrustful hippies. However, because of current statistics, such as very high cesarean rates, some people do choose to avoid hospital birth due to fear.
“Born in the Wild” doesn’t make any of these questions or their answers clear, and what the viewer sees or is enticed to feel, is fear.
Fear is an interesting emotion and motivator. Most people now only see childbirth in the media, which is almost always sensationalized and polarized, (being based in fear and ignorance) including in “Born in the Wild”. These portrayals create this confused, mixed-up internal message that many will recognize,
“Birth is dangerous,
Birth needs to be managed,
intervention use is too heavy, maybe unnecessary
natural birth is better
I should avoid doctors at all costs
it’s always a matter of life and death…cycle repeat!
So what is it?
Rather than explanations of our collective fear AND accurate information on global safety, policies, attitudes, and traditions regarding childbirth, we get these snippets of “information”, and more so, we get agendas and opinions from TV, blogs, and your grandmother/sister/best friend. Because in reality, ALL of these things can be simultaneously true! Funnily enough, many people are surprised to discover that life, and the events in it, are not always black/white and either/or.
The Jacksonville Baby Company ensures that our clients have access to the most recent, non-biased, and peer-reviewed research. Our childbirth classes are top-notch, engaging, and science and evidence-based. We do not share our personal opinions on YOUR birth choices and we NEVER encourage decisions based on fear. We encourage candid talk with your providers, critical analysis of material, and authentic trust in your knowledge and intuition.
“Born in the Wild” only touches on these diverse issues and thus perpetuates confusion with dramatic birth sequences that have been the industry standard the last 30 years.
Happy Birth & Parenting!
Cheyney, M., Borbjerg, M., Everson, C., Gordon, W., Hannibal, D. & Vedam, S. (2014). Outcomes of Care for 16,924 Planned Home Births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. 59(1), 17-27.
Geerts, C., Klomp, T., Lagro-Janssen, A., Twisk, J., V.Dillen, J., & Jonge, A. (2014). Birth setting, transfer and maternal sense of control: results from the DELIVER study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 14(1), 1-21.