There is a new show that has been stirring up a lot of attention in the birth world. It’s Lifetime’s new series, Born In The Wild.
The focus is on women who decide to give birth not only outside of a hospital, but in remote locations with no medical professionals.
The question that keeps coming up over and over is WHY?
Why is this appealing? Why aren’t they in a hospital? Why are their partners encouraging this? Why aren’t authorities taking those women into custody? Why are producers filming this?!
It polarizes the community. There are those that view birth as a totally natural experience that should be allowed to progress on its own time and in its own way. And then there are those that feel birth needs to be managed, should take preventative measures, and should be in a place that can anticipate and treat any issues that comes up.
This show seems to be taking "natural experience" to its most literal definition. The trailer shows a woman taking a boat ride to a secluded place with a non-permanent structure in the woods where she then gives birth.
So what really is going on with this show?
Well, I think we can agree it is sensationalizing an event that has a tremendous amount of emotion involved. A majority of people have been near or experienced birth.
It is very hard to separate ourselves from this topic and allow for a woman to make decisions that will be best for herself and her family. (The same can be said about co-sleeping: for & against, reproductive rights: 10 pros and 10 cons, and breastfeeding: There is some that question this study and The Mayo Clinic's opinion)
There is evidence that women in low-risk pregnancies do not need to receive care from an obstetrician, or even be in a hospital. Birth In The Wild, well, that seems to instigate the masses.
What I keep hearing is “What if?”
- What if that baby goes into distress?
- What if the mom starts hemorrhaging?
- What if her blood pressure is too high? Or too low?
- What about infection?
- What about antibiotics? And the big one…
- What if someone dies?!
As a doula serving the Chicago area, I can't say that for all the women I have been with.
Some women feel that if they hire a doula, they will be empowered. Well, maybe. That could be.
But here is a part of the equation that is essential - a woman has to make decisions. If she brings on a care provider, a midwife, or a doula in hopes that their decisions will empower her, that just won't work.
I am present to help mothers have an educated choice, to be witness to a mother make that choice, and then support that choice. The power comes in the deciding and the doing. The power comes from standing up and finding one's voice. The power comes in being present and making choices.
I wish for all my clients, regardless of how their babies come out of their bodies - in their home, or in a hospital - that they feel they were a part of the decision for birth to happen in that way.
The women who are on Lifetime's new show may not be having babies in a way that makes sense to you, but they are taking responsibility for their birth choices, and I respect that.
Authored by A Swift Doula