Paid for TV: First Response Encourages Pregnancy on TLC

by Lisa Kirchner

TLC’s new online program, “A Conception Story,” disturbs on multiple levels. Blazing a trail for more wholly sponsored programming, who knows where it might lead. Meanwhile, in the concrete here and now, the show is unapologetically mired in the canononization of motherhood. So? You might say. The program is based on what a spokesperson for the show calls “hopeful positives,” and there is nothing particularly surprising about fluffing up your demographic.


But they take it too far. In a New York Times article yesterday that spokesperson glibly called it “the most emotionally charged category you’ll ever see.” She then went on to say that the company had “a goal of empowering women…we’re not just products, we’re…holding these women’s hands.”

Really? The show features one woman who couldn’t get pregnant at a fertility clinic talking about how she’s left an empty room in her home in hopes of conceiving. Another woman says ” I decided to wait until I was ready — until I was ready emotionally to give up everything — because that’s what you really need to do.” 


I’d agree these women need empowering, I’m just not sure First Response is where it’s going to come from.

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