Tonight at 10pm EST/ 9pm CST, Lifetime will premiere it's highly anticipated series "Born in the Wild".
In the birth world, there is a quite a stir and debate in support of or denouncing the new series. It causes birth workers and supporters to think, what would we do? Would we attend a birth like those that will be depicted on "Born in the Wild"? What is the liability of attending a "free" or "unassisted" birth, as a midwife, as a doula? Dare I say - what are the benefits?
Here are the facts of the show and what each birthing mother had to do and comply with in order to be a part of the show, from Lifetime's "Born in the Wild" Fact page:
These women were low risk, have given birth previously, had medical plans set up in case of a true emergency, each hospital was notified of their potential arrival and medical assistance was made available to all of the birthing mothers. Additionally, not all of the births were "unassisted", and some had medical assistants in addition to a midwife.
As a doula, I appreciate the awareness that is brought to birth outside of the hospital. Birthing in nature? Some may consider it the extreme. While I do believe it will be dramatized because, hey, it is a reality show made to garner ratings, I believe it brings a different perspective on birth choices to the table.
We are used to seeing birthing women portrayed in movies or on television with a gush of their breaking waters, a scurried, frantic trip to the hospital, screaming in pain and yelling obscenities at their partners. Will "Born in the Wild" take the public view of birth to different extremes?
My hope is that it continues to stir conversation - no blaming or shaming, but conversation about the choice women have today about where, when, with or without whom and how they give birth.
I do not know the women who are portrayed on "Born in the Wild", nor do I know their background or their situations. I know that I do not have a right to say whether or not they are doing or not doing what is in their best interests or the best interests of their unborn child. However, I do know each woman will have to be accountable for her choices, good or bad, right or wrong, just as I am accountable for the choices I make as a woman and as a doula.
I have supported women in hospitals and at home. I do not believe one is better than the other. I am certain that each woman I have supported and will support in the future is making the best choices for her and her baby.
Are you curious about the choices the women in "Born in the Wild" have made? Will you be watching the series tonight?