Water births have been trending in the birth community for a while now, but one expectant mother is taking it to the next level. In the Channel 4 TV documentary Extraordinary Births, airing on Sept. 2, we meet Dorina Rosin, a pregnant woman who plans to give birth in the ocean, among the dolphins.
At face value, it looks like Rosin is just another woman “jumping the shark” for her 15 minutes of fame. In the documentary, Rosin, a spiritual healer, and her partner, Maika Suneagle, tell documentary host Katie Piper about their plans to have a dolphin-assisted water birth, despite possible risks associated with birthing in the ocean among all forms of marine life. The women live in Hawaii and run a healing retreat on the Big Island, making this “dolphin midwife” birth plan feasible.
The couple also says that, out of this transformative birth experience, their baby will be born able to speak “dolphin.”
As seen above, Rosin already had a 38-week blessing ritual, where she and her big, pregnant belly swam alongside dolphins in preparation for her upcoming ocean water birth. As beautiful as this scene is, it may not surprise you to hear that not everyone is on board with this unconventional water birth plan. What is surprising is that this isn’t the first time a woman has tried to give birth with dolphins in the ocean.
Back in 2013, Heather Barrington hatched the same water birthing plan in Hawaii with the help of her husband and The Sirius Institute. Christie Wilcox, writing for Discover magazine, called dolphin-assisted birth “possibly the worst idea, ever,” pointing out that smart, playful dolphins are also aggressive and known to beat and kill small porpoises and baby sharks for fun. In Rosin’s case, the Internet peanut gallery is quick to point out the error of her ways, calling her “crazy” and an “attention seeker” and “mentally ill.”
As harsh as these Internet comments are, perhaps the biggest enemy of Rosin’s jaw-dropping birth plan is the media. That’s right — when a strange story like this surfaces, you’re likely to see it pop up all over your Facebook feed within a matter of days. This dolphin-loving mom is the target of the current media firestorm focused on extreme birthing practices outside of the hospital, but it’s not fair to peg it all on her. All we know is what we’ve been told — and what we’ll see compiled in a few clips in a documentary. There’s no way to know for sure what type of research this mother has done or what safety measures she has taken for her upcoming birth plan without knowing her personally.
When the media makes a big deal about a woman birthing outside of the hospital — whether she’s swimming in the ocean or giving birth in a forest — it only serves to fan the flames of the Birth Wars even more. Moms who didn’t choose “natural birth” are made to feel inadequate, and moms who opt for home birth are made to feel like freaks. Nobody wins.
A story like this that explores unorthodox birth opens up a trap almost any mother can fall into. Please don’t do it.
The reality is that one woman’s birth story really has nothing to do with another. How one woman chooses to give birth, with or without dolphins, is not a reflection (or a judgment) on your personal birth experience. It may be easy to poke fun at this mom’s “wacky” birth idea splashed all over the news, but it really gives us a great opportunity to practice what we preach: If you don’t want people critiquing how you gave birth, don’t do it to someone else.