Who Gives a Crap About Dr. Phil and His Homebirth Show? | Indie Birth

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Who Gives a Crap About Dr. Phil and His Homebirth Show?

September 1, 2008

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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Just in case you haven’t heard, the word on the street in homebirthland is this: The (in)famous Dr. Phil is supposedly having a show that explores homebirth, and is asking for experienced women to write in and possibly appear on the show. But here’s the clincher: he and his “medical staff” supposedly plan to crucify the entire idea of homebirth, focusing only on the women that have had “homebirths go wrong.”

(Would you expect anything else?)

Of course, these stories may or may not have anything to actually do with real homebirth, but they will contribute to furthering the idea that homebirth is weird and dangerous.

Let’s face it, stories of the weird and dangerous sell.

But, I venture to ask, who cares about Dr. Phil?

Why waste any time and energy on Dr. Phil of all people and things?

He’s selling the sensational to America…

I’m not selling anything.

I’m talking to women who are ready to claim the power they already know (at some level) that they have.

So don’t we have real work to do for this cause? Don’t we have real stories to tell and thousands of people that may actually want to hear what we are saying?

I know we do.

We are not going to change the face of homebirth, or validly educate women about their birth options, with either a positive (or negative) spin of homebirth on the Dr. Phil show.

Perhaps if all us proud homebirthing mamas, midwives and birth activists had absolutely NO other way or venue to communicate our message and nothing else to do with our time, then maybe we should be lobbying to get a spot next to Dr. Phil.

But we do have other ways to communicate. More effective ways of reaching women to educate them about homebirth.

We simply need to use them.

I’d say right now, one of the lowest priorities on my list is to reach mainstream America spouting the virtues of homebirth.

Why speak to someone who probably isn’t ready to listen? Especially when so many other women are ready to listen?

Ricki Lake may be able to do it, and I thank her for it. But I’m not trying to convince anyone to have a homebirth. For me, the effort worth expending is on those mamas that already think, that want better for themselves and their bodies and their babies. And I’d say that unfortunately, that is not mainstream America. Not now. Not yet.

So let’s leave the homebirth carnival/circus to Dr. Phil. My hunch is that he might not be concerned with homebirth anyway. Perhaps he’s more concerned with ratings and advertising dollars?

So he’ll do what he will, “they” will all do what they will. Instead of fighting every last little battle, let’s focus on the big picture and what we can do to truly make a difference.

Homebirth doesn’t require a debate. And I’m not really interested in talking to someone who’s interested in a debate.

There’s simply too much real work to do. Too many women to reach that are ready for this message. Women that know what they’re doing and are searching for some information and support to be confident in their decisions.

Talking to those women will make long-term difference that will matter to women and babies long after we are all gone.

I dare say that Dr. Phil won’t have quite the same lasting effect.

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  1. Sarah Supernova says:

    I disagree. I think it’s really important to get positive homebirth stories out into the mainstream, as much as possible! There are so many women out there who don’t even know it is an option, let alone a very safe option. There are so many women out there who blindly trust their doctors and hospitals, without even knowing that they have choices… so the more women can be exposed to their choices and options, the more they can begin to do research for themselves and then ultimately make the choice that is most empowering to them.

    I believe many women are hungry for more information, but don’t even know it’s out there until they get exposed to it. Dr. Phil’s show could really be a blessing and open a lot of people’s eyes.

  2. Sarah Supernova says:

    I disagree. I think it’s really important to get positive homebirth stories out into the mainstream, as much as possible! There are so many women out there who don’t even know it is an option, let alone a very safe option. There are so many women out there who blindly trust their doctors and hospitals, without even knowing that they have choices… so the more women can be exposed to their choices and options, the more they can begin to do research for themselves and then ultimately make the choice that is most empowering to them.

    I believe many women are hungry for more information, but don’t even know it’s out there until they get exposed to it. Dr. Phil’s show could really be a blessing and open a lot of people’s eyes.

  3. Yeah, Sarah, I agree that it is important to get POSITIVE stories out there. But like I said, that supposedly isn’t gonna be the case with Dr. Phil. And maybe that is gossip and not the truth, who knows. But if the buzz is true and his aim is to make women feel that homebirth is an unsafe option, how is that a blessing?

  4. Yeah, Sarah, I agree that it is important to get POSITIVE stories out there. But like I said, that supposedly isn’t gonna be the case with Dr. Phil. And maybe that is gossip and not the truth, who knows. But if the buzz is true and his aim is to make women feel that homebirth is an unsafe option, how is that a blessing?

  5. Great web site, Maryn! I agree with you. Initially his request for homebirth horror stories bothered me, and I wrote a (tongue in cheek) letter saying that when he did a show about hospital birth disasters (which I knew he would be doing in the interest of fairness) to please contact me as I had many stories I could send him. But after taking a few breaths and calming down I realized that I really don’t care what the man thinks or does. I forgive him, but he’s an idiot, and *in the long run* he will not succeed because women will see through his BS. I have faith in women, both in birth and in life in general! So yes, let’s put our energy into educating the women who are already opening their eyes to the truth about birth.

  6. Great web site, Maryn! I agree with you. Initially his request for homebirth horror stories bothered me, and I wrote a (tongue in cheek) letter saying that when he did a show about hospital birth disasters (which I knew he would be doing in the interest of fairness) to please contact me as I had many stories I could send him. But after taking a few breaths and calming down I realized that I really don’t care what the man thinks or does. I forgive him, but he’s an idiot, and *in the long run* he will not succeed because women will see through his BS. I have faith in women, both in birth and in life in general! So yes, let’s put our energy into educating the women who are already opening their eyes to the truth about birth.

  7. tori says:

    My first thought is that this is one of the AMA’s ways of tainting homebirth in the public eye. I have no idea if they have anything to do with it, but it was my first thought.

    I would hope that people who watch the show will realize how unbalanced the representation is.

    dr phil is a man who makes lots of money stating the obvious or the absurd, and often times stating the obvious to someone who is being absurd.
    his show has no meat.

  8. tori says:

    My first thought is that this is one of the AMA’s ways of tainting homebirth in the public eye. I have no idea if they have anything to do with it, but it was my first thought.

    I would hope that people who watch the show will realize how unbalanced the representation is.

    dr phil is a man who makes lots of money stating the obvious or the absurd, and often times stating the obvious to someone who is being absurd.
    his show has no meat.

  9. Lisa Hardy says:

    It’s now possible to get those positive stories out. Check out the Coalition for Maternity Services new project at:
    http://www.thebirthsurvey.com/

  10. Lisa Hardy says:

    It’s now possible to get those positive stories out. Check out the Coalition for Maternity Services new project at:
    http://www.thebirthsurvey.com/

  11. Mayra Vazquez Radzinski says:

    Thanks for that perspective. It’s not one I had considered, and I realize that you are absolutely right. Instead of wasting my time writing to Dr. Phil to argue with his tactics, I should have used that time to finish my reports for my Childbirth Education Certification so I can reach women that really do want to learn in an unbiased approach.
    Thank you.

  12. Mayra Vazquez Radzinski says:

    Thanks for that perspective. It’s not one I had considered, and I realize that you are absolutely right. Instead of wasting my time writing to Dr. Phil to argue with his tactics, I should have used that time to finish my reports for my Childbirth Education Certification so I can reach women that really do want to learn in an unbiased approach.
    Thank you.

  13. Alice Trask says:

    Does anyone know if this episode has aired or not? I wrote to them and told them they won’t find many people that regret having their home births. I would love to know when this is airing. I’d kinda like to see how it turns out.

  14. Alice Trask says:

    Does anyone know if this episode has aired or not? I wrote to them and told them they won’t find many people that regret having their home births. I would love to know when this is airing. I’d kinda like to see how it turns out.

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