So I’ve watched all the episodes of that Oxygen show, I’m Having Their Baby. I pronounce it a very solid “eh”.
First the good – and there was some good. As a prospective adoptive parent, it was good to see another angle on adoption. It’s painful, heartbreaking. And every woman on the show struggled with her decision.
The shows featured 12 women, I think. Three decided to parent, although in a follow up interview one of those woman announced that she ended up placing after the first month. So nine placed at the hospital and one additional one placed later. The birth moms were different ages (from teens to 30-somethings), single, married, black, white, Hispanic.
I cried during every episode. And I was grateful to see each of the situations.
That said, there is a lot wrong with show. More wrong than right.
Let’s start with the name – I’m Having THEIR Baby. In fact, she’s not. She’s having a baby definitely. Her baby, even. But she’s not having it for them. She might not choose to parent, but that doesn’t make the child she’s carrying any less her own. Any less her partner’s. This is not a surrogacy.
Each episode starts with a subtitle containing the EM’s (expectant mom) name and something like “6 weeks until adoption” or “8 weeks until adoption”. This bugs me, too. Even the strongest of bonds an EM and a prospective adoptive family form can be undone. Until the papers are signed, it’s both dangerous and presumptive to assume she will place. Imagine if the EM went to see her social worker and was told, “So your adoption is set for six weeks from today.” She might feel undue pressure – especially if she’s young or lacks confidence – to place even if she changes her mind. Even if her instinct tells her not to place.
And that’s the last point I want to make about the show – the social workers assigned to the birth moms are extremely focused on the adoptions*. And, it makes sense, because that’s their job. But I can’t help but think that if they had been a little more focused on the current mental state of the moms they would have predicted those disruptions. And I sure wish some of the other birth moms had a little more support at the end when they feel torn apart and don’t know what to do. I fear that situation is pretty typical, too. A lot of people on the adoption forums say that once they arrived at the hospital, the birth mom specialists, the adoptions specialists and the social workers are no where to be found. Ugh.
So, did you watch? What did you think?
*Big caveat here since I recognize we’re only seeing a tiny, tiny portion of the interactions between the agency reps and the EMs.