Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

More Ranting About OBEM

I was all set to eat my words. My rant last week prompted by a negligent insensitive comment on twitter. Really I was. All ready to be proved wrong and to take my rant back. 

When I heard OBEM was focussing on a lady who had a previous baby born sleeping this week I was a bit flabbergasted. Last weeks rant couldn't have been more aptly timed. 

After not being able to bring myself to watch the series since Anabelle died; this week I braved myself up to it. I wanted to try and watch in solidarity of the brave family having their rainbow child. 

So I've sat and watched. I spent the first 30 minutes feeling physically sick and full of nervous energy.  I made Jon sit and watch it with me. 

Now at the end of OBEM I am disappointed. Disappointed with the series and the hospital. 

Firstly, I will applaud what I think they did do quite well; so people don't think I'm all negative...

I thought the grandmother talking of her experience decades ago was really very moving. It gave a real glimpse of a grief that lasts forever. A grief like mine. Her fear of something going wrong for her daughter was evident, and really that is exactly what pregnancy is like after a baby is born asleep; full of fear. 

The midwives agreed as much. It is true that baby loss Mums remain convinced that it not only can happen to them again, but will.  You know that throughout Alexander's pregnancy I was constantly terrified, my faith non-existent that my baby would come home. Even now he is here I spend so much of my time wobbling he might be taken from me. My precious boy.  

As an over-all glimpse, a tiny insight, it did OK.

But then there was the things that annoyed me throughout the programme. 

That poor lady, Sarah, being referred to as a first time mother. I really felt for her; wanted to correct them for her. She has a son, her son has a name. She herself mentioned him by name, Jordan;  the hospital should have extended them both the same courtesy. All too often people are all too quick to discount the stillborn child. That is still my experience, so often is Anabelle subtly overlooked. But that is another blog post for another time. 

Then there was the use of terminology. Midwives, you of ALL people should be capable of using the correct terminology, even if the terminology stinks. If a baby was to be born sleeping at 40+6 weeks it would not be a late miscarriage. It would be a stillbirth.   Little details to some maybe; but to me very important. The use of late miscarriage needs addressing on a big scale, for any woman who gives birth to her child and after the first trimester, miscarriage in my opinion, is an inappropriate term. But again, that is another blog post for another time. 


But my biggest bugbear about tonight's programme?  

That although it has touched on such an important subject, it has negated to really raise awareness or promote prevention of baby death.  OBEM failed to deliver the message that so many babies still die today, it failed to tell its viewers the importance of being vigilant with baby movements and counting the kicks, it failed to empower women to bother their midwives whenever they are worried. 

Stillbirth is not a subject you can be half-arsed about. If you are going to cover it, do it thoroughly and well. Make an impact for the better. 

I'm told OBEM is not there to educate, but an observational documentary programme. I'm told that lots of different types of births are shown, with varying circumstances and degrees of interventions; but that these circumstances and interventions are never backed up with facts, figures or background information. Never followed up with the after care or how babies get on.   That isn't the format of the programme.

I will say again, this type of portrayal of anything; whether it be stillbirth, forceps, shoulder discotia or any other trauma in the delivery room is irresponsible. I think the format of the programme needs changing. 

But that isn't the point of OBEM apparently. Its a fly on the wall documentary.  

But is it really? I'm still arguing my point from last week that observational documentary is really another expression for 'yet another C4 reality TV show'


I may be passionate about stillbirth. Some people may think far too much so. Maybe you think I should stop my ranting, stop voicing my opinion, stop talking about Anabelle. 

But to me, if me an angel Mum and other angel Mums and Dads are not going to be passionate about a subject so close to our hearts, for our sons and daughters, and attempt to break the taboo then who is? 

Do it properly Channel 4...


Hannah said...

I haven't seen it yet, but have it recorded. I'm not sure now whether to watch it or not...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps OBEM is not the vehicle to deliver this important message in an appropriately educational manner. Just a thought but has there been any separate documentary on the topic? If not, perhaps it may be worth approaching C4 to do a special standalone documentary. If anyone (very sadly) has the experience to advise them on where to start it would be you, Caz. Much love xxx

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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