When I was pregnant I was OBSESSED with watching shows about birth. I spent my entire first trimester watching Birth Story and the episodes of Maternity Ward that didn’t involve too much trauma. Horizontally, because I was too tired to sit up. It was like I needed to watch the event over and over to drill it into my head: I myself would be a player in this drama in six-ish short months.
I didn’t out and out LIKE either one of these shows. I found Birth Story disturbingly cloying, with its muzak-y intro and outro music and soft focus branding. I’m just not a soft-focus, muzak kind of girl, and the vibe played into my anxiety that becoming a mom would require embracing an aesthetic (and a lifestyle) I couldn’t relate to. The show never featured any women I felt similar to, which kind of made the leap from the identity I’d known to mom identity seem that much larger. And Maternity Ward? Well, that show’s just one step away from straight up anxietymongering. More of a hope-that-never-happens-to-me situation than an identifying one.
But I just found out about a new birth show that I really wish had been around when I was pregnant.
‘One Born Every Minute’ is described as a “docusoap” about pregnancy and childbirth. It features extensive footage of hundreds of different women’s pregnancies, labors, births and postpartum experiences, showing the huge range of different things women can go through and ways they might feel. The show will be returning for a new season on BBC in 2011, but in the meantime, the website offers tons of media on tons of pregnancy birth and postpartum subject. There’s even a nifty timeline where you can scroll to your area of interest and see excerpts relevant to that phase of the childbearing process.
The show is filmed and broadcast in the UK, so some circumstances are different than what a woman might experience here in the states. But the differences can be kind of interesting, too. And it goes without saying that while the hospital and healthcare policies might vary, the experience of becoming a mother is a rather universal one.
So whether you share my fixation with pregnancy and birth video or are just looking for some specific info on a certain subject, this is a site and a show you should know about. Now, if we could only get the actual series in the U.S.!