“Born In The Wild”: Has Reality TV Gone Too Far?
The very word makes me feel good. Nature has been exalted in songs and poems. When I was in music class in elementary school, one of my favorite songs was “America the Beautiful.” I loved the imagery of “spacious skies,” “amber waves of grain,” and “purple mountain majesties.” I love nature, but I’ve never considered having it be the backdrop of labor and delivery.
Just yesterday, Lifetime announced that it will air a reality show that will follow young parents who forego hospitals, doctors, and medical interventions for the birthing process, instead choosing to be surrounded by nature.
The show was inspired by a YouTube video that shows a woman giving birth in a tropical creek. That video has been viewed more than 20 million times since it was posted in February. Here’s a link to the video, but be warned that this is a woman giving birth and you might find it graphic and NSFW.
Lifetime says the show, Born in the Wild, may not feature first-time parents and will be closely watched by crews.
“We’re taking extreme precautions to make sure the mothers and the babies are safe,” Eli Lehrer, Lifetime’s senior VP and head of nonfiction programming, told Entertainment Weekly. “Our presence at these births is going to make them far safer than if they were doing it on their own.”
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Olaf from Frozen has a better chance of surviving the summer than I have of ever giving birth outside of a hospital. That doesn’t mean that I don’t support childbirth on a woman’s own terms. I understand the reasons why couples choose to let nature take its course, so to speak, and want as few interventions as possible. There was a time when home birth, for example, was a woman’s only option.
While I while not watch Born in the Wild I don’t know what all the fuss is about. The idea of giving birth outside is certainly foreign to Americans and people in other first-world countries, but there are women all over the world who are giving birth at this very moment in similar or worse circumstances.
The fact that the camera crew is there probably does make a difference in making this birth safer for the women and their babies. I imagine that Lifetime is going to reduce their liability as much as possible and will have a medical team waiting in the wings to get involved if things take an unexpected turn.
Critics of the show worry that some people may “try this at home” and will not have the benefit of a TV crew. There will almost certainly be some people who probably shouldn’t who will attempt a nature delivery, but I’m not worried that a trend is going to start. As Lehrer contends, there aren’t all that many people clamoring to give birth in nature. He says, “This is a very specific subset of people doing this.”
What do you say about this reality show? Does it go too far in putting a spotlight on giving birth in nature? Share your thoughts below.