Monday, June 1, 2009

Misleading headlines

I don't generally read the newspaper. We only subscribe on Sundays (for the coupons). But I do, on occasion, scan through the Google News headlines in my Google Reader to stay somewhat informed of what's happening out there in the world. Quite often I never click to read the full articles. I generally only click on the ones that are pertinent to my locale, my circumstances, or my interests. I assume I'm not the only one who often doesn't read beyond the headline. Which is why headlines like this are extremely frustrating to me...

"Police probe home birth; baby died"

If all you do is scan the headlines, what are you going to assume? You may assume the author is using the term "home birth" in the usual sense--a baby intentionally born at home. The average person would then continue their thought process with... "See! That's why we have hospitals, people! Babies aren't supposed to be born at home! What a horrible, preventable tragedy!" And those people may never know that this mother was completely unaware she was pregnant until she saw a baby in her toilet... which means zero prenatal care, zero preparation for birth. And besides that... we don't even know the cause of death. Was the baby preterm? How long was the baby in the toilet? So many unanswered questions.

I would like to think the article's authors were unaware that their use of the term "home birth" in connection with "baby died" was loaded and misleading. But, unfortunately, I think they knew exactly what they were doing.

On a happier note... my brother and sister-in-law welcomed their beautiful new baby girl yesterday afternoon. She was born at home with the assistance of midwives, surrounded by loved ones. They did experience some scary complications following the birth, but the midwives handled them, and everyone is doing well... trying to get some much-needed rest. Thank goodness for skilled birth attendants. I am eager to hear the birth story in detail!


HollySteffen said...

that's the media for ya.

it's too bad. it really is.

Diana J. said...

Amen to your comments... the media seems to rejoice in linking tragedy to HB - anything for sensationalism.

Missy said...

That is such a sad story and it only makes it worse when the media makes them out to be criminals. To me the story just doesn't add up because there is so much information that is lacking. They make it sound like she had planned a homebirth and then abandoned the child when in reality I doubt it went that way.

Sarah H said...

Yes, the homebirth issues are very sensationalized. I was at my first homebirth this weekend and the baby had a scary start (Apgar 1) but the attendents (A FP and a nurse) quickly took action and ten minutes later you'd never know anything scary happened as mom was holding her baby (Apgar now 10) and lying in her bed. THere is the misconception that "nothing can be done at a homebirth", but it's not true.