Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2001 / 13 Shevat, 5761
It's not just that my baby, (my fourth), has more than four months to go before it's born, meaning I'm not even a candidate for the producers desperately hoping for one or more little ones to make an appearance within their two-hour broadcast that morning.
It's just that I tend to think like my dear departed mother who would have sighed and wondered aloud - "is nothing sacred"?
Yes, giving birth is an amazing, incredible, event. But let's face it - it's very intimate, or at least it should be, and it's totally undignified. I'm never completely thrilled about sharing the experience even with the nurses and doctor involved, nor am I crazy about my husband seeing me all splayed about in unattractive poses immersed in various strange bodily fluids. ( This time I hope to successfully ban him from most of the blessed event.) So why on earth would I want to share this little miracle with millions of strangers sitting in their living rooms and sipping their Folger's?
Yet "Good Morning America" executive producer Shelley Ross told me that, as the show is chronicling in lead-ups to the birthing broadcast, the trend is to have more not fewer people in the birthing room. And not just husbands, but other children, in-laws, you name it. One obstetrician who will be involved in Tuesday's event said he even once had a patient who invited her church congregation to the birth - and he allowed it.
So I suppose I can understand why in the quest for ever-greater television drama (and during a ratings-sweeps period) ABC would attempt this feat which Ross described to me as the "broadcast of an everyday miracle." I can even understand why some curious onlookers, likely the same folks who get all teary when they watch "Oprah" every day, would tune in.
What I cannot understand is the women who agree to have the birth of their babies broadcast to millions of people they don't know, courtesy of a group of strange cameramen and producers actually in the room with them. Maybe it's a desire for their Andy Warhol "15-minutes of fame," but has the move toward exhibitionism really come to this? Has the desire to share every intimate detail of our lives with complete strangers really gone this far?
Ross told me that while the broadcast of the births will not be "graphic" (I suppose that depends on your definition of the word) ABC medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman guaranteed her one thing -- "a lot of yelling."
Well I wouldn't be surprised if the folks at GMA find that more than one birthing-mom regrets her decision to display such an intimate moment on national television and starts "yelling" at the camera crew to get lost in mid-broadcast.
Of course the couples who do agree to be camera fodder will probably rationalize it by saying that they wanted to show people who might otherwise never see a birth as it happens how miraculous it really is when a new baby comes into the world. Fair enough, perhaps, but if we need to actually see a baby being born to know how precious and special that child is we've become pretty hardened indeed.
In fact that's really the irony here. A nation where millions of people will be tuning in to the national broadcast of the incredibly intimate moment of birth, which advocates seeing such a miracle in action, which is so eager to term the whole experience "beautiful," is also a nation where that same woman with that same doctor could legally end that child's life just moments before it is born with a partial-birth abortion. And no "politically correct" person could dare utter a word in protest.
How much less could that "politically correct" person defend the life of that
unborn child when it was created nine months earlier, or anywhere else along
its journey to what our elite suddenly deem "miraculous" and "beautiful" --
only once the parents have decided to allow the baby to be born.
For me, I don't need to wait until June when my baby is expected, or share
the intimate, graphic, undignified and yes, very wonderful birth with
millions of strangers, to know that the little one I'm carrying is already a
01/30/01: Moral bankruptcy of the civil rights establishment