I was flicking through the TV channels the other night and the US version of One Born Every Minute came on. A labouring mama was sat up in bed being induced with an epidural. Her husband was at her side and her parents-in-law were sat directly opposite her, watching her labour. She looked like she was on stage and she looked bloody uncomfortable. Her father-in-law was asking how long it would take and whether they could speed things up? I’m sure that was really helpful for her to hear. Then when she said she felt like she needed to vomit (a common side effect of labour), he came up with revolting suggestions of the ‘would you like a sheep’s brain sandwich?’, ‘or a creamy squid smoothie?’. Needless to say she spewed and he laughed.
I wanted to smack him.
Then I started watching a rad UK series from a few years back called ‘Bodies’. Set on a maternity and gynaecological ward in London it showed all sorts of different birth situations (amidst the usual love triangles and hospital politics) and I mean, it really SHOWED them. There was a front-and-centre view when the caesarean incision was made, or when the head was crowning. But there was also lots of things that went wrong in birth, and they showed them too.
I was cringing, watching through my fingers, and crossing my legs tightly. I LOVED the show but the maternity scenes made my cervix scream.
And it made me realise that pregnant women should NOT be watching this stuff. There is nothing about it that will put you at ease, or help you get into your birthing zone. Instead you will left with traumatising images of hospital births that will be hard to shake.
So what should you watch instead? What can you watch that will empower and inspire you?
Here is a few ideas:
Call The Midwife: Set in 1950s London when most babies were born at home with a midwife, Call The Midwife is a lovely series full of beautiful connected births. It was a time when we really trusted women’s bodies to birth without dramatic intervention. If you like getting into a good series then I can highly suggest snuggling up on the couch and getting into this one. I watched the first series when I was pregnant with my son and loved the sense of community and midwifery support.
The Business of Being Born – Remember 90s TV Talk-show host Ricki Lake? Well, she has since become a Rockstar Documentary Producer and created a cracking movie about the industry of hospital births. A fascinating insight into what drives many hospital decisions and policies. Also check out her More Business Of Being Born, Breastmilk, and her recent film The Mama Sherpas.
Face of Birth – An Australian documentary exploring the importance of choice in
pregnancy and childbirth. This movie focuses on ‘how wonderful birth can be when we respect and protect a woman’s right to choose how, where and with whom she gives birth to her baby – and looks at the consequences, if we don’t… Through a close look at homebirth, this film looks at what birth really is… a medical emergency waiting to happen? Or a profound, natural and physiological event that women are designed for?”
Orgasmic Birth – An award-winning feature documentary following 7 women and their partners as they share their most intimate birthing moments. “Joyous, sensuous and revolutionary, Orgasmic Birth brings the ultimate challenge to our cultural myths by inviting viewers to see the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through birth.”
Birth story – the tale of Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives is a breath-taking overview of the midwifery “counterculture heroine Ina May Gaskin and her spirited friends, who began delivering each other’s babies in 1970, on a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land.”
And please, please, please turn OFF One Born Every Minute. No-one needs to see a Father-In-Law making spew jokes. It is so not good for your womb, mama x
PS – the fact that the saying ‘ there’s one born every minute’ is usually trotted out sarcastically when someone shows themselves to be especially gullible is NOT a good thing when associated with birth.
The Rockstar Birth Magazine
Scared of birth? The Rockstar Birth Magazine is born from a desire to inform and empower pregnant mamas to approach their birth with excitement and awe. Less fear, more trust. Less pushing, more flowing. Less focus on risk, more on self-belief. My mission is to provide pregnant mamas with the tips + tricks + deep soulful trust to make their birth journey one of the most expansive and uplifting experiences of their lives.
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