“Every minute of every day, a baby is born in Britain.”
Last night I tuned into Channel 4 for another episode of One Born Every Minute. I am 36 weeks pregnant, so with 4 weeks to go, I am fully aware that the time for me to experience labour for the first time is fast approaching!
For those of you who don’t know, One Born Every Minute is a documentary series about women coming in to give birth on a maternity ward. This series, the Maternity Ward is in Liverpool, UK. Starting with their arrival, and ending with the birth of their baby, the show documents all different types of women, and all different types of births.
To watch or not to watch, that is the question…
Watching ‘One Born Every Minute’ while pregnant is a big ‘No, No’ for some women, but for me, it is an educational experience, although, I do get a bit too emotional watching it sometimes! Now that I am pregnant it is difficult to watch, however, the underlying stories/messages that are in the show are what I love.
This week, one new mother shared her personal story about her negative body image. It was extremely powerful, but what was really touching was seeing how having a daughter will change her life. What she wished for her daughter was that “…she has a strong body image. I just want her to be happy.”. I was saddened to see on the ‘One Born Every Minute’ facebook page lots of negativity surrounding her and her partner in comments underneath their video. I hope that she finds strength now that she is a Mother, to not take on board the negativity, and be proud that she shared her story. I truly believe that it will have helped many women who watch it.
The couple who I really enjoyed last night though were a couple who came from very different cultural backgrounds. The mother was from Venezuela and the father from Lithuania. Seeing their interactions as a couple reminded me of my husband and I. Also seeing how they planned to embrace both cultures after the baby arrived was a mirror of conversations that my husband and I have.
Both of the new mothers in the show impacted me greatly. Seeing how becoming a Mother evokes strength, excitement and also hope, was refreshing to watch! We are not subjected to watch it, so pregnant ladies, do what YOU want – to watch or not to watch, that is the question.
I do understand why it is hard for many pregnant women to watch –
- A large majority of the women on the show give birth laying flat on their backs, hooked up to machines, being coached by a doctor on when they should and shouldn’t push. The vast majority of births shown are induced, assisted deliveries (forceps etc) or c-sections and also some couples being sent back home for awhile. It doesn’t make you feel like you have a choice in your birthing plan… Since watching the show, I have seen one woman using hypnobirthing techniques and one woman in the birthing pool, personally, I would like to see more of those!
- Most of the women scream their head off and complain that they cannot cope – labour is painful and hard work, but seeing women taken over by the pain and unable to cope is hard to watch when you know it is your turn soon.
- It is meant to be evocative and dramatic, so they choose the stories that create good television. It shows real births and real experiences of women but obviously, it is edited, so only shows certain parts of each experience. Therefore, it is showing the drama of labour, the bad bits, the cringy bits, which can be scary to watch as a pregnant lady.
- The midwives are so lovely and seem not to be under too much pressure, which can make you feel like you are getting a raw deal from the midwives YOU have met. The midwives you will encounter may be under great strain, haven’t had a fill of tea and cake and I’m sure none of the midwives will have a full face of make-up at the beginning of their shift let alone the end!
But as mention earlier, I love watching the show – the reasons to watch it are;
- It shows various complications. Personally, I believe knowledge is power and I like to have lots of info available to me, it’s the unknown that makes me more likely to worry.
- The patients are offered different types of pain relief which that you may not have known were available – there may be reasons why Midwives choose to offer or deny certain pain relief but it is good to know what is available. For example, I have been prescribed codeine for my SPD during pregnancy, but I was told that I should not be taking it close to birth. However, in the show last night one of the mothers was given codeine during labour! I found that very interesting.
- All through pregnancy you hear lots of different birth stories from women you meet – I love hearing them, but it is much better to see them!
- It is not YOUR birth story. Your story will not be like the stories you see on ‘One Born Every Minute’. Each pregnancy is unique, each woman is unique and each labour is unique.
- And finally, That moment when the baby is in the Mother’s arms. That precious moment when the Mother’s face completely changes, the pain disappears and she sees her baby for the first time gets me all excited about giving birth. That moment is worth all the pain! I could watch that all day!
What I love the most is that watching ‘One Born Every Minute’ is a personal choice. Remember, we are not subjected to watch it, so pregnant ladies, do what YOU want! Watch or don’t watch, it is up to you!