Birth Moms ... On TLC

Anyone watch it? Yikes. I can only imagine what will happen in blogland. Tons of crying on the show, girls giving up babies they'd rather keep, schlepping already born being raised babies to interviews with PAPS, asking PAPS to never tell adoptee it's adopted, thieving, alcohol swigging pregnant birth mothers, all taking place in Salt Lake City. Wowzer. I did not know what to think. One thing, I didn't share a tear along with the young moms. Not sure why. One of them was a pretty cool kid who just didn't have the means to raise two kids.


  1. I don't have cable and it's probably a good thing that I don't so I don't get tempted and watch stuff like that.

  2. I did not watch it. I blogged about why these shows are inherently coercive.

  3. I'm not surprised you didn't shed a tear in sympathy with any of the moms on the show. Based on your description, sympathy isn't the producers' goal. The kind of sensationalism that unscripted (the more honest term for "reality") tv is based on actively DIS-engages the viewer from the subject. Rather than sympathy the goal of the hyper-reality production style is outrage and shock. The viewer is supposed to watch an episode in disbelief that these events could possibly be real.

    I find it difficult to have sympathy for most people who sign up to be on that kind of program. More or less the participants know what they're signing up for and agree to it anyway. It's exploitative, but not necessarily victimizing. When it comes to adoption, however, I feel very differently. We're already starting with people who are on the margins, low on resources, and liable to be victimized. Adding producers, cameras, money, and advertisers to the mix guarantees people will make strange decisions, behave oddly, and most, if not all, will regret how their adoption arrangements were made on some level.

    For my money, this is the equivalent of following Rapid Progressor AIDS patients with cameras. It makes me feel a bit ill, and more than a bit angry.

    Sorry for the tirade.

  4. I couldn't bring myself to watch it... I get too angry just reading about it.

  5. Sounds like the typical reality show where they find someone who is a train wreck and exploit them for ratings. To be fair, I haven't seen the show, just read about it. Don't think I want to see it.

  6. Huffpo ran a story today about said alcohol swigging mom. The comments were extraordinarily cruel and of course, generalizations are being made about all expectant moms thinking about adoption. This can only end very badly for the image of adoptees (damaged goods anyone?), birth moms (evil, of course) and adopters (in the end, the coercive nature of the show will bounce back and adopters will be painted in a poor light). Will the agency or the producers of the show face any wrath? Well, given the churning out of similar shite on mtv, apparently, not.

  7. Wow, thank you all. Interesting comments, I'd kind of forgotten what it's like to blog, be read, and have people contribute their own thoughts.

    As far as this particular program being coercive, hmm I don't know about that. Didn't look all that attractive to me.

    I am, oh special thanks for your comment. Although I didn't feel outrage and shock (not sure what that says about me) I agree that my lack of emotion could have much to do with my being desensitized to the plight of reality show people. I apologize for my description, it was minimal, I only have Ipad access at the moment, so it was likely misleading. I don't know what the point of this program was. Seems it was a one time thing? Anyway, your "tirades" are welcome here anytime.

    Kate, I am so with you on your comment. The show did indeed reflect badly on "birth moms", adoptive parents, and, ultimately, adoptees themselves.

    I'm thinking some subjects are just too sensitive for what we've come to know as reality tv.

    Gotta go, Real Housewives of Orange County is coming on.

    1. I hate all "reality" TV and am probably the last person on earth who has never watched any such show. Not one. I certainly will never watch this one. These shows are not "real" in any sense, and while there is no written script, there is a definite unwritten one and point of view that the producers want to convey. The bottom line of why these shows exist is, well, the bottom line. It is much cheaper and easier to pay the desperate, greedy, and stupid to make fools of themselves for their 15 minutes of fame than to pay union scale actors, writers, etc. "Reality" TV is cheap, in more ways than one.

      These shows exist only to shock and mock, not to educate in any sense. They are like providing a target for virtual bullies, "here you are folks, the skanky birthmothers you love to hate". The people who appear are pre-selected to confirm existing prejudices of the viewers, to comfortably conform to the stereotype,to appeal to base emotions, to disgust and be reviled by the "righteous" who in this case are supposed to side with the prospective adoptive parents and scorn the surrendering sluts.

      That this one deals with adoption surrender lends another layer of cruelty, in that the babies, who are now just the product, will grow up, and this ugly record will exist, showing birth and adoptive parents in the worst light. That this one is out of Utah lends an extra layer of ugliness, as it is one of the worst states for adoption corruption and coercion still going on.

      I urge everyone not to watch this show, or anything like it, and it will go away. Don't feed this giant troll by giving it any more attention or notoriety. It is "cruel and unusual punishment: and deserves to be ignored and canceled. This show is emotional porn, as is most of "reality" TV.

    2. I'd bet my sister would be one other person who's never watched any such show. Of course ; )

      Of course you're exactly right here Maryanne. It's cheap for sure, shining a spotlight on the desperate, greedy and stupid. Guess that contributes to viewers' lack of sympathy.

      I admit to enjoying reality competition type tv, like Amazing Race, Top Chef, Survivor off and on, and have cringed through seasons of Big Brother. I actually watch quite a bit of shite when I think about it. Add hockey and curling to that and my mind is pretty much mush I guess.

    3. Oh, don't worry, I watch and read lots of low-brow crap, (my favorite shows are cartoons, Futurama, The Simpsons, even SpongeBob)! I also like 30 Rock, and a show about evil spirit hunters (fiction, not supposed to be true) called "Supernatural". I just happen to hate reality shows. Nothing wrong with hockey, curling, any sports anyone likes. My Dad loved baseball (the Mets)basketball and golf. My son Dan and I watch Monsterquest to laugh at it. They never find the monster, after a big buildup, and sometimes I watch action or old Kung Fu movies with him too.

      I mostly read murder mysteries, not intellectual deep stuff any more. Even Janet Evanovich' Stephanie Plum mysteries, not exactly great art but funny. Funny is always good, and the bad guy has to get it in the end.

      And hey, I hate opera, just do not get it no matter how much friends tell me I should appreciate it. My knowledge of classical music is very sketchy although I have come to like a lot of it since my husband is a fan. I really have a pretty mushy mind too, when you get right down to it:-)

    4. Ugh I hate monster/alien/big foot/ghost hunting shows. They always end the same! Aliens especially annoy me. And, Stephanie Plum doesn't make me laugh out loud but Russell Brand can.

      See? All mushy minds do not think alike. Thankfully.

    5. Just to show how out of the pop culture loop I am, I had no idea who Russel Brand was until I googled him:-) In fact see very few movies, no idea who the stars are any more, or those of most TV shows.

      We do own a huge collection of Popeye, Loony Tunes, and Betty Boop cartoons! But my husband and son Patrick are in the computer animation business in a way, so that is understandable. I just like cartoons.

      I think I keep hoping someone will really find a monster, but aliens are tedious, I agree. Why would any being from a higher culture want anything to do with the mess that the human race has made of earth?

      I never ever watch any adoption themed show, reality or not, unless someone I know is on it, and even then I often skip it. Why should I make myself mad and miserable?

    6. I hear you on not watching things that make us miserable. I hate watching dying movies. Hate it! I am fine with watching something touching or emotional but those movies that are about someone dying in the end, hate them. That's just me though.

      I find as I get older I become far more sensitive to violence in movies. I've always been the sort to cover my eyes but now it physically hurts my stomach.

      Here's a movie I've taken a lot of flack for hating. I hated The Hangover. Thought it was one of the worst movies I've ever had the misfortune to see.

    7. I loathed Pulp Fiction that one of my best friends loved and urged me to watch. Many years ago I hated "Brazil" which has nothing to do with Brazil that my husband dragged me to. I don't want to see anything where the hero dies and the bad guys win, and can't take too much violence, especially if it is realistic and involves children or animals. And of course I hate anything with adoption in it unless it is funny and/or done right.

  8. Cammbell, watched the last five minutes of it, and these are my very fragmented thoughts. Generally agree with what everyone else said above.

    I saw one of them sign the papers. She was dry-eyed but it was brutal. After she signed the papers she told the person hovering "Get those [the papers] out of my sight." I thought it was a very real moment. Then they cut to the PAPs, now APs, blubbering about how they'd put her on their holy shelf (metaphorically speaking) all the days of their lives. Totally squicksome.

    She talked later and she seemed resigned to the idea that she did not have it together. I think she asked, how can you raise a baby when you're living out of a suitcase or something like that. I hadn't a clue why it wasn't an open adoption. Campbell, did you get that? Not that it might have made a difference. *grimace* Social services seemed to be out of the question, but of course, assistance is the primary reason for women not relinquishing in other countries.

    I like to be optimistic and think that this show is making adoption practices look bad and that something OK could come out of it.

  9. I THINK the adoption was open in the way that the mom would receive pics and updates, not sure. The woman you refer to, that asked to get the papers out of her sight, was the woman that seemed pretty cool to me, seemed most likely to not go through with the adoption. She took extra time and appeared to be trying to figure out a way to support a baby and a toddler and ultimately decided it wasn't possible. Not surprisingly.

  10. Add me to the list of people who have never watched a reality show and I certainly don't plan on starting now. I seldom watch TV and when I do it's usually Hannity on Fox, a documentary, or some type of health-related show. Personally, I'd rather read and exercise.

    And Campbell, I'm glad you're back. I missed your voice!

  11. Exercise is good. I've just gotten back into doing pilates, yay me.

    Hehe on my tv right now is an infommercial for Rock n Roll Classics husband is grinning remembering all his high school dances, I know it!


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