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.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ranting About OBEM

As you already know; I'm not watching OBEM. Although I might as well be, everything I would need to know about each episode is plastered over Facebook and Twitter.

Each week my news feed is flooded with 'gaspy' type status updates. You know; the sort of status where the birth has been amazing, or terrifying or someone has been holding their breathe and then relieved that the baby is ok. 

It may just be me. I'll add a disclaimer in here; not having watched the actual programme I may be getting the wrong end of the stick, but I'm getting the distinct impression that childbirth is being sensationalised by Channel 4; and that I think is very irresponsible. 

I know I know, they are always going to choose the births that are a little bit different, that little bit more dramatic, to make 'good' television. But still. Is it really needed? Birth is precious. Each baby a little miracle. 

I fear OBEM is becoming less the documentary it was and more reality TV. 

So  how about them covering some real reality? 

Last night on my Twitter feed somebody posed the question if OBEM would ever show the reality of stillbirth.  The reply from one was quick; God I hope not, she said. I can't imagine anyone wanting to see that, no woman would want to relive it.  

When tackled about the opportunity to raise awareness and save babies lives? The question came would it really raise awareness, or would it scare? The show has plenty of issues already, apparently. Such as epidurals, inductions, hospital births, bottle feeding etc... 

Really? Really? These are considered issues? I'm aghast. The ignorance annoys me. 

You know what; she is probably right. Of course no-one would want to see that, and the 'issues' OBEM do cover they don't explain well so I'm told. But do you think we wanted it to happen to us? Do you think we wanted our daughter to die? Why is it ok for so many people to bury their heads in the sand? Ignore baby death because it is too big a taboo to tackle? Because it makes you uncomfortable? For goodness sake; a moment of your fear, a moment feeling uncomfortable is nothing compared to the lifetime of fear and pain bereaved parents are left with. 

Why is it ok for the majority of our population to be ignorant to the fact 17 babies die every single day? 

Handled sensitively, appropriately and with an expectionally brave family OBEM or similar could do a lot of good. To raise awareness of a vastly overlooked statistic in our society. To raise awareness of the other side of midwifery. To raise awareness of the importance of monitoring baby movements, how reduce risks to your baby, to empower women to seek help as soon as they feel something isn't quite right; instead of so many women feeling like they are bothering their midwife/doctor/maternity units with their worries. Why are we a culture of not causing a fuss? 

In reality Channel 4 is probably not the place to do this, they are characterised by sensationalist documentaries; but they could educate about important issues on OBEM instead of making it all about their ratings. Because I tell you what; epidurals, induction, hostpial births, bottle feeding etc are no where near in rank; consequently at the end of the day none of that matters.

It does not matter I had an induction, or an epidural because my son is alive. It does not matter where he was born because my son is alive. It does not matter how he is fed because my son is alive. 

My son is alive; that is the only bit of any birth that matters. 


Ally said...

Possibly the first thing I disagree with you about. As a programme it is a fantastic insight into what goes on in the labour ward. Not every birth on there is perfect or sensationalized, the one last week where they broke the arm of the stuck baby to get it out was quite horrific. It has shown a massive range of people and their experiences and who knows maybe one day they will find a family who will want to share their story of loss, going back to those months after Belle's death would you have wanted to?
I think it's unfair to blame the programs for the Facebook reactions of people who may not have been directly affected by stillbirth. Going back a few years we probably both would have written the same status updates?
Hope that all makes sense??

Caz said...

I did put a disclaimer! It is ok to disagree!

I think the only status I ever put when I watched OBEM series 1 was something like; wow I actually have to give birth. scary.

and then it was much more scary than I ever could possibly have imagined.

From the sounds of status updates there are far more difficult births on this series than I remember there being in series 1. You can't help but think c4 are choosing/edting for dramatic effect and increased ratings.

Yes I know I'm sensitive; but so are you about the things that are part of your life.

In retrospect I would've told my story. I don't think the there and then would even need to be filmed. Just someone telling their story, midwives telling their story. I definitely would now if I could be guaranteed it would be portrayed appropriately. Raising awareness is so important.

I'll be honest, I'll be glad when the series is over and facebook goes back to normal on Wednesday's again.

Sarah H said...

Hi Caz, I dont watch OBEM these days either its just way too painful, but I do have to mention an episode I watched a while back (I knew what was gonna to happen)it featured a couple having their rainbow baby, it showed the fear they had, the silence in the waiting, the dread of the worst thing possible and told the story of their precious angel, I cried all the way through and when the baby cried the emotion was overwhelming. It wasnt too dark or too much, it also wasnt the pain we know (hugs) but they did portray their story well, I couldnt tell you what medication they gave her, or how she fed the baby just that she had a c-section and the baby was alive - hope this helps x

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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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