One of my Monday night, prenatal yoga students mentioned this show to me, “Pregnant in Heels”. It’s on Bravo. She mentioned it because the host (protagonist, maybe?) is a “Pregnancy Concierge”. She not only has her own maternity line of clothing, but 2 studios where she (or maybe other instructors) teaches childbirth ed, breastfeeding, prenatal yoga and Pilates. She also does private lessons and consultations in her clients’ homes. This piqued my interest, since, to some extent, that’s the direction I’m going with Shining Light. So, I sat down to watch an episode on Tuesday night, and I perused her website. I was appalled at what I saw.
Note: This woman, in no way, does anything remotely like what I do. I will not, ever, use any of her tactics or ideas. This whole show made me ill, and her web info was no better. (A 3 hour childbirth prep class??? Really? Lamaze is a minimum of 12 hrs. Some of her “quiz” information was incorrect. Teaching women false information! Ugh.)
From what I saw, she takes advantage of her very fearful, and very wealthy clientele. The first couple had a high-powered lawyer mama who wanted to go back to work ASAP and have dad watch the baby. Dad is, of course, clueless, so in comes our intrepid “instructor”! She works very hard to teach dad how incompetent he really is. She REFUSES to teach him how to change a diaper, REFUSES to teach him how to clip the car seat into the stroller, etc. He is humiliated in front of his wife because this “instructor” wants to prove to him that he is a buffoon. Enter – “The Myth of the Clueless Dad”.
“The Myth of the Clueless Dad” is rampant in American culture. Somehow, we have come to believe that Dad is incapable of being a good parent and that mom always knows best when it comes to babies and kids. Dad is seen as the one who lets the kids be dirty and feeds them chocolate cake for breakfast. (Gotta love Bill Cosby!) We belittle our husbands, our co-parents, we assume that they know nothing, and we treat them as ignoramuses. It’s sad. We need to do better for our men. This show was awful in its treatment of this loving, competent man.
This same couple – mom was treated to a spa day, and shopping, etc., while dad was being humiliated. Then they bring mom home, and she is told by the Jar-Jar Binks side kick / assistant, that she is to have a bikini wax because “You don’t want any hairs or anything gross getting in the way of that baby”. Enter – “The Myth of Shaving Mom for Birth”.
“The Myth of Shaving Mom for Birth” – Yeah, um, this went out with the ’60′s. There is ZERO reason to do this to yourself. If you want it, go for it, as there’s no harm. However, it is no longer a routine procedure, at hospitals, anywhere. This poor mom was subjected to something she obviously didn’t want and didn’t need. She was scared and in pain, but did it because this side kick told her to. He is in no way a birth professional of any kind.
Family #2 – we don’t see dad at all. Mom is nanny shopping and asks for help in the process since she is inexperienced. Our concierge takes her through “nanny speed dating”(?!?!?!), where she insults the nannies, and doesn’t give mom any pertinent information regarding their qualifications. Mom is bewildered but “trusts” her helper, because, well, she’s the “expert”. These nannies are humiliated over and over again, and mom is left with a feeling of no-confidence in herself or her choice in nanny. She paid a lot for this service, so it must be good right? Enter – “The Myth of Needing Expensive Things or Services for Baby”.
“The Myth of Needing Expensive Things or Services for Baby” – Welcome to modern American consumerism. Expensive must be best, right? Our babies must ALL be bilingual, have $800 strollers, wear designer clothes, only have the healthiest of foods EVER and be cared for by the PERFECT nanny. This feeds into our concern for the PERFECT parenting, which leads to more feelings of failure and incompetence – We do everything “right” and yet, the baby is still crying… Shows like this teach us that if we don’t spend a ton of money on our kids to “raise them right” or to “educate” them, that we are failing as parents.
The families in this show have their fears preyed upon by a woman who is a FASHION DESIGNER, not a childbirth educator, not a lactation consultant, not a child development specialist – a fashion designer. She gives these families nothing but a sense of incompetence and encourages them to be overprotective and helpless. I feel very sorry for her clients, and I feel sorry for the unwitting moms who watch this show.
On to other media – Shows like “A Baby Story”, “Babies:Special Delivery”, “16 and Pregnant” etc. all show similar things: fear, expense, “experts” who aren’t always right, drama (it’s TV, not reality!). They show situations that although they really happen, are made for TV – edited to be more dramatic, scarier. They take the normalcy away from pregnancy and birth. Normal isn’t interesting. It doesn’t get ratings. We want to see the baby saved at the last second. We want to see mom and dad fighting. We want to see the fancy, new baby gadget. That’s interesting! Normal is boring.
Except that normal is good. Normal is what we want, and what we need. Women have been giving birth forever. Men have been good dads and co-parents forever. We need to ditch this faux “reality” TV for something more normal. Normal is OK, normal is good, heck, normal is great! Instead of going for the “best” can’t we accept that normal is good enough and that our children will love and respect us more if we are normal. Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting are normal. It’s not a “grand adventure” or something to be bought as an “experience”.
Please, if you do choose to watch these fear mongering shows, watch them with a critical eye. See them as “entertainment” not as “advice”. Personally, I recommend you steer clear of these type of shows, entirely. Let your entertainment be positive and uplifting. That will help lower your stress levels and lower stress leads to healthier pregnancies, mamas and babies.
Love and Light.