Bones Has a Baby and Mainstream Media Gets it Right (mostly)


SPOILER ALERT! If you watch Bones on Fox and either Tivo or get a season’s pass online,     DO NOT READ BELOW unless you want to know all about the birth.

Yes the birth. Bones fans (my family included) finally got what they’ve been waiting for all season. After two of the main characters had a natural birth with no pain medication last season, Bones writers broke with tradition and wrote in another birth into the current season. Usually two births, two seasons in a row would be a no-no, but the setup was too perfect – actress Emily Deschanel actually was pregnant. Her baby was born last autumn. Her character’s baby was born last night.

For those who don’t know, the Bones character, Dr. Temperance Brennan, is a forensic anthropologist. Despite being a crime-fighter, she would doubtless have studied numerous cultures and their birthing customs. Home birth fans and activists will be thrilled to know that the show was packed with arguments about the advantages of home birth, including concerns about bodily fluids in the hallways of L&D units and concerns about needing to feel safe in one’s environment while giving birth – all the stuff natural birth advocates have been saying for years. In addition, one of the characters even plans to become a doula to help with the birth.

After giving birth outside the hospital (I won’t say where so as to not spoil everything) Bones arrives home with her new baby in arms, clearly able to walk and behave normally. Those who haven’t been at a home birth may think this is ridiculous, but I remember being in my kitchen making a bowl of soup with my 3-hour-old newborn in my arms. It was probably not the best idea, but it was not at all impossible. That is what normal birth looks like. Finally, mainstream TV got it right.

Mostly. One more spoiler for you – there is no birth attendant other than the baby’s father, Booth. While there is a movement toward unassisted birth in our country, generally speaking, home birth is safer with a skilled attendant present – someone who has neonatal resuscitation skills and carries anti-hemorrhage medications. Nurse-midwives and professional midwives both meet this criteria, however                       Certified Professional Midwives are the only ones whose certification process requires a designated amount of out-of-hospital training.

Lack of midwives aside, this birth was, by far, the best I’ve seen on TV since more than a decades ago when characters on Northern Exposure had a beautiful home birth. Maybe the recent significant increase in home births will encourage more networks to get real.

Congratulations Fox and Bones! You birthed a nice baby.