Coming Soon from TLC: "Birth Moms." Yes, Really.
[Editor's Note: Reality shows often feel like they take the Field of Dreams approach to all areas of human trauma: If you film it, they will watch. And watch we do.
Well, it seems that with their new show Birth Moms -- a show which follows pregnant women currently deciding whether or not to relinquish their unborn child -- TLC may finally have put that theory to the test. The show has some real-life birth moms up in arms -- women who have experienced the reality of child relinquishment first hand -- like Monika of Monika's Musings, who took to her site today pleading with readers to boycott the one-off episode running May 17th, hoping to prevent the network from extending it into a full series. --Morgan]
Taylor Walters and her daughter, Neveah, in "Birth Moms". Image courtesy of TLC.
Here's just some of what Monika had to say about her concerns regarding the circumstances surrounding the adoptions featured on the show:
[Though the agency claims to] provide these girls with options of getting help should they decide not to relinquish, the emphasis looks like it's on adoption. They are provided agency housing. That's coercive in and of itself. If an agency of any type wants to provide housing assistance for pregnant women due to various needs they might have, it should either be foster homes where the foster home is not looking to adopt a baby of any sort, or it should be some other type of government-assisted housing. I strongly believe no agency should directly provide housing because it puts undue pressure on the mother to relinquish. Even if nothing is said directly there's an unspoken expectation that you'll "be a good girl" and do what the agency wants you to do, which is relinquish so they can get paid by the family who wants to adopt.
The fact that they're doing a show on these women is also extremely coercive. Never mind the fact that they're already referring to them as "birth moms," a term that while appropriate post-relinquishment, is not appropriate prior to that time because of its coercive nature.
So, what do you think? Fair game for reality fodder, or has TV finally gone too far?
Read more from TLC's "Birth Moms" at Monika's Musings
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By Rita Arens