Tomorrow night, Thursday, May 17, TLC is going to air Birthmoms, a “reality” show about women who are considering placing their children for adoption. If it does well, they could make the show a series.
I am asking you to not watch the show. Shows like these are inherently coercive. Simply calling the show “Birthmoms” when the women have not given birth, nor chosen to terminate their parental rights, is perpetuating the idea that these babies never belong to the women who carry them.
Monika, a birthmother who blogs at Monika’s Musings, wrote her opinion of the show. When that post was picked up by BlogHer, several people commented on the show’s coercive nature. I direct you to comments by Declassified Adoptee and Jenna Hatfield, who do a wonderful job of explaining why this show’s premise is deplorable.
Declassified Adoptee: Not only is this an opportunity for unscrupulous agencies to advertise adoption to expectant mothers but it potentially puts unnecessary pressure on the expectant mothers considering adoption. … [I]f your purpose for being on a show about mothers who surrender to adoption is the expectation that you will provide just that for the TV cameras following you around all in your personal life and business, how much pressure does that stand to put on these expectant mothers?
Jenna Hatfield: The truth is that following a mother around with a camera is in and of itself coercive to the woman trying to make a decision whether or not she should place. She is then not afforded to change her mind for fear of the viewing audience making her out to be the bad guy.
I used to watch Adoption Stories. I honestly thought they were dramatic reenactments, not real people being followed with TV cameras. Now that I know, I feel terrible for having watched them. These people, even if they volunteered, had to make some of the most difficult, heart-wrenching, personal decisions in front of TV cameras. That’s just plain wrong.
So do me a favor, if you were planning on watching the show, please don’t. Watching a woman decide whether or not to relinquish her child (more accurately, watching a woman be coerced into relinquishing her child) is not subject matter for one’s entertainment. Watch
The Big Bang Theory Community instead. You’ll feel much better.