Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brio's Latest Scam, Part I: You Paid $25,000 for a Used WHAT?

UPDATE: The Indiegogo campaign has apparently been removed, and it seems that some or all contributors' money may have been refunded.  Curious!  Apparently Brio's story is that an "admin account" was hacked and the hacker removed the campaign.  The mother's story is that she believes the Brio Bunch, and the event is still on.  Thanks to an anonymous commenter for the tip!

Brio Birth is now groveling for money to stream a live birth on both Indiegogo and as part of a FedEx small business grant contest.  For the moment, let's ignore the scammers behind the effort and look at the project itself, shall we?

The idea is to show the birth from six angles: the birth partner's point of view (Daddycam?  Give me a break.  Let's infantilize it a little bit more, shall we?), the midwife's point of view, the doula's point of view, overhead, wide-angle, and under water.  This will stream live over the internet - yet, for some reason, they will need $7500 worth of equipment to "process" the video feed - for the whole world to watch.  But that's enough about "the money and the tech" for now - I'll address that in another post.  Now, I see that they appear to have amped up the birth team to include two doulas (so which one will wear the "Doulacam"?), but really, who is caring for mom while everybody's showboating with these fancy cameras?  What if the other kids need a parent - will the "Daddycam" pass off to Doula #2?  What if the planned waterbirth becomes a land birth?  That actually happens quite often, for various reasons, including baby comes precipitously, mom doesn't want to be in the water, baby needs a bit more of a gravity assist, mom and baby need a bit more hands-on help from the midwife... Just because a mother thinks she wants to give birth in the water, even if she's done it before, doesn't mean that it will absolutely happen.  Of course, they want to do a DOCUMENTARY, so the camera won't necessarily be wasted!  

All these eyes on this birth are surely going to disturb the process as the birth team becomes a theatrical team, and birth as performance art generally doesn't end with a satisfied mother and baby, even if there is a good outcome.  Carla Hartley of Ancient Art Midwifery Institute, a strong proponent of undisturbed birth, had this to say when people solicited her support on Facebook:

The next person who posts on my wall anything having to do with raising funds for anything having to do with the live broadcast of a birth will be blocked .... Really I am the last person on earth who will support such an atrocity. It is so wrong to screw with a baby's birth in order to make money for anyone .... And the folks behind this should be ashamed of themselves.

The "folks behind this", Brio Birth, say that they want to "normalize" birth.  Putting aside for the moment that watching a birth from all these different angles is anything but normal, even for those of us who have attended hundreds or thousands of births, what no one is saying is that this is not a "normal" situation.  This mother is planning a homebirth after cesarean (HBAC).  Yes, she has already had two vaginal births since her cesarean, and thus has a "proven scar".  This does not mean that her situation is normal.  Aside from the admittedly small risk of rupture,which happens on mothers with proven scars as well as mothers with no scars at all, yes, even in the absence of Pitocin or other such interventions, there is also an increased risk of hemorrhage, among other things.   Birth is natural, but nature is not always kind.  Does this mean that the mother should not give birth at home?  Absolutely not.  She has every right to make the informed choice to give birth where she chooses, with the care provider she chooses.  However, this may not be the ONE BIRTH to choose to show how NORMAL birth is.  If anything goes wrong, which, granted, could happen in any birth, those six cameras are going to contain all kinds of ammunition - not just for any lawsuit that might result, but also for the "birth is a medical event" crowd to pick apart EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of this "non-normal" birth.  Aside from the fact that everyone's actions will be scrutinized, even if nothing goes wrong, this will definitely be on the mind of the midwife, and probably the rest of the birth team as well, and it will definitely impact their actions.  This birth will not be normal.  It will not be representative of normal birth. It will be less safe, and it will be less sacred.  


  1. What a bunch of vile ghouls. Unbelievable.

  2. Looks like the FedEx voting has ended and they only got 53 votes....
    so much of this film project concerns me. And they have started to label everyone who disagrees with anything that Brio does as "haters."
    In 9 days they have raised just over $500 - not looking too viable with 12 days left to raise $24,500.

  3. Thankfully the Fedex voting is over. Things I found of interest is in the rules for the contest it states "d. The business must be in good standing as of the date of Submission and must remain so through the end of the Contest". What does in good standing mean, exactely? What about their judgements that they owe the AAHCC, the garnishments to paypal, Vectra Bank and google. I know the voting is over but I think Fedex needs to be made aware of how the scammers entered the contest and what they have done to the community. Fedex can be contacted regarding the grant contest at

  4. Sounds almost as responsible as giving birth unassisted with obstetric cholestasis. Figures that Naomi would find someone like herself to do this. Sure, the outcome could be good. I would never wish a mother ill. But complications can happen when we least expect them.

  5. Hmm....anyone else notice that the indiegogo fundraiser has been removed?? I guess they've been found out that they are a scam.

  6. I'm an outsider and have no affliation with Brio Birth and came upon this website looking into Brio for my birth. Honestly, as an outsider not knowing what is angering you, you kind of do come off as a "hater" or whatever. It kind of seems like no matter what they do, you are interested in sh*tting on their parade. Isn't that what a "hater" does?
    I don't really understand the big deal and it seems like you have characterized this idea as a bunch of people walking around with handicams when I doubt that would be the route they would take for something like this. More likely it would be a button or glasses or some other non intrusive camera option. If done correctly, there shouldn't be any difference in the way people perform their actions.
    I do agree that it could end up being irresponsible if problems arise, but you don't think they would have some mechanism to stop the cameras? It would probably be the flick of a switch or a button on a remote computer running the feed.
    I'm sorry, but this sounds like drivel from people who were once burned by someone and who knows how long ago.
    Again, I don't know your story, but yes, I am turned off to reading more on this site from reading a post like this.

    1. I can really understand your feeling. While I am someone from the beginning of Brio Birth that was burned very badly, I want to tell you it is very hard to walk away from that and not want to push for others to not be hurt as well. It really comes down to not receiving the proper credit for the work that the educators did and then lieing to all of us. It was something we had all work towards and then they took it all away. It was something did to get many to leave another organization and then took it all away once we'd be involved for several months. Many women who worked in the birth community lost their business and desire to continue because of the involvement they played in Brio Birth. And just so you are clear, the workbook they are currently using was created by the educators that have since LEFT BRIO BIRTH. If you want a quality education, seek the sources of that great knowledge. They are just using what they took and did develop ANYTHING they currently use.

      Why this posts comes out and is really turning my stomach is the action Brio is taking again. Again, they are using another family to make an easy buck. I have to agree as well with Carla and teach this as well that the more you add things, the more you change labor. It no longer belongs to the child or the mother. For me, it comes down to what their motivation really is and it is not the safety or showing "normal" birth that is the motivation here. The terms of where that money was to go clearly shows they want MONEY. Any motivation like that just churns my stomach.

    2. ***correction that should read "did NOT develop anything"

  7. Another comment from Carla Hartley: "A birth that has subscribers is no longer the mother's birth."