Watching “One Born Every Minute” while pregnant

Whenever I mention that I obsessively watch One Born Every Minute, someone wonders if this is my way of masochistically preparing myself for the inevitable.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it (i.e. you live in another country, you don’t watch television or you’re too high brow for this base form of entertainment) the Channel 4 “documentary” series – Ok, reality series – follows two women giving birth in every episode.

Some women are all about the drugs, others are really committed to natural birth. All go slightly mad at some point in the ordeal. With interviews before and after, the crew behind the series manage to mould stories that are strangely compelling in their simplicity.

So we watch…and we cry. The crying may just be me. I do a lot of that lately. Television commercials, parents with babies, the mention of the word “family” – hormones are a scary thing. And my family could tell you I was a cry-er before (in private, mostly) so now I’m am absolute blub-fest. Especially when I watch One Born Every Minute though I know it is manufactured reality rather than the real thing. I don’t mind. I love fiction.

Of course, it holds special interest for me since I’ve got the birth on the brain. Doesn’t it scare me? Not in the slightest, really. Childbirth hurts – who knew?

But I do find myself over-identifying at times. When that guy yelled at his partner this week, blaming her for saying from the outset that she didn’t want a C-section, I identified too deeply and wanted to take Laurence’s head off – even though he wasn’t around, would himself have been appalled and wouldn’t do the same (of course, I don’t know what he’ll be like but that kind of thing would be bizarrely out of character).

I made him suffer through the program with me once. I could see his stress levels rising with the opening scream. When the head popped out of the vagina in the intro, he literally jumped. Later on, when a woman gave birth to a purplish-grey child, his response was: “Blurrh! I’m glad you’ll be holding the baby first. I don’t want to touch that.”


But I’m sure he’ll rise to the occasion when it’s his own little creature, covered in guts and unmentionables.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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  • Hi Adele

    I spent months researching wraps before I got that one.

    It really is good and you do a different wrap tie when they are newborn so that their legs are inside.

    It means you have your hands free when they want to sleep on you, and you want to comfort them, and there is lots of research into the many benefits.

    When Aaron was newborn and grizzly he would sleep immediately if I put him in there.

    Also read:

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Liska x

  • I watched the first series and I remember crying at some of the episodes. My husband couldn’t stand it though. He said he didn’t want to relive all the drama we went through with two childbirths. I must say that each birth experience I had was so different to the other, and yours will be unique too and probably nothing like you’ve seen in this program. Oh, and do tell Laurence that he might not hold the baby first, but I’m sure the midwife will give him the honour of cutting the umbilical cord. Personally, I’d prefer hold the ‘ugly’ baby. 🙂

  • I’ve offered him the cutting of the umbilical cord, actually. I don’t think he can think of anything more distasteful. Far enough on your husband not wanting to relive it all!

  • Ha ha – I’ve been studiously avoiding this programme but everyone – almost literally EVERYONE – keeps asking if I’ve seen it. You’re a brave and well-balanced woman!

    Agree that your husband will probably be less alarmed by the look of his own newborn baby, although wouldn’t blame him for avoiding the cord cutting… I’d probably try and dodge it myself. Ha.

  • I deliberately avoided this when I was pregnant as I didn’t want to see any negative birth imagery. I’d been reading hypnobirthing stuff and was trying to buy into the idea that western society tells us that birth is painful, but it needn’t be… then mine were quite painful, until I had the epidurals, haha!

    I love the style of your blog, by the way. I was commenting from my phone yesterday but looking a the full site now and it’s beautiful!

    • Actually, we went to a home birth discussion group tonight which made me think it would be good to read some stories about positive birth experiences – especially since home birth means no epidural!

      Thanks, I’m having fun sort of developing the blog. 🙂