K-Drama Premiere: “Birthcare Center” Celebrates The Painful Initiation To The World Of Motherhood
Motherhood requires a lifetime commitment- once you stepped into it, there’s no turning back. Birthcare Center pleases us with a narrative that glorifies a woman’s heroic efforts in caring and rearing a child.
No amount of preparation would be enough for a woman to seamlessly embrace the challenging world of motherhood. In an amusing fashion, Birthcare Center details the travails and triumphs of a mother’s journey. Starting from conceiving a child, to undergoing excruciating labor and delivery and to exhausting all available means in caring for her infant, the drama is a perfect ode to a mother’s unparalleled sacrifices for her child.
The premiere week had us sympathizing with our protagonist as she appeared as a lonely misfit in the world of motherhood. While she seemed to possess every skill necessary to win in life, she came in last in the matters of taking care of her newborn son.
In contrast with younger mothers, her maternal skills were lacking. But she was ready to strip off unnecessary pride to ask for valuable assistance from fellow experienced mothers for the sake of her baby.
Premiere Week Recap
The story opens with Oh Hyun Jin (Uhm Ji Won) sailing on a boat under the night sky with a grim reaper. She contemplates deeply about her life- how she crawled her way up to the top of the corporate ladder. She recalls all the sacrifices she had done to get to her current position. And being the survivor that she is, she battles against the grim reaper to escape her looming death.
Hyun Jin wakes up from unconsciousness. She is in the middle of delivering her first baby. Being a middle-aged woman, giving birth is relatively more difficult and risky for her.
Granted Wish Twice Over
The scene flashes back to a momentous day in Hyun Jin’s life. She obliges in an interview after being promoted as the youngest executive director of the drugstore, Olively. However, in the middle of the interview, she feels nauseous causing her to uncontrollably vomit. She later learns that she is pregnant.
Caught in a whirlwind of emotions, she admits about wishing for those things to happen – a promotion and pregnancy. But she did not expect that both wishes will be granted at the same time.
Despite being pregnant, Hyun Jin is still able to control everything at work. She goes to work as usual performing her tasks with grit and motivation. Her activities are properly organized until the day her baby is due.
While in the middle of closing a huge deal with an important executive from another company, she then goes to labor. Impressed by her dedication to her work, the executive sealed the deal with Olively.
As expected, Hyun Jin undergoes a painful labor and delivery. Luckily, she has her doting and supportive husband, Kim Do Yoon (Yoon Park) by her side all throughout this journey. Their bundle of joy, whom they endearingly call as Glue Stick, becomes the center of their world.
But they realize that no amount of preparation would be enough for the physical and emotional challenges that come along with being new parents.
Stepping Into An Unfamiliar Realm
Right after Hyun Jin got discharged from the hospital, the couple goes straight to a high-end postnatal center. The exclusive facility caters to women at the top of the social class to receive postpartum care.
The director of the postnatal facility, Ms. Choi Hye Suk (Jang Hye Jin) and her staff warmly welcome the couple with their baby. Ms. Choi tours Hyun Jin around the hotel-like center and orients her about the kind of environment they provide. She meets fellow mothers who are also nursing their newborns.
However, she is surprised by the fact that she is the oldest lady in the center. And to make things more uncomfortable for her, she seems to be the most inexperienced among everyone.
The person who stands out the most is Cho Eun Jeong (Park Ha Sun). She exemplifies a perfect mother with exceptional maternal skills. Being able to breastfeed her twin boys until their 24th month is an impressive feat for every mother in the birth care center. Hence, she is hailed as the “Queen Bee” of childcare and a role model to learn from.
Embracing The Parenthood Challenge
Hyun Jin tries to make a connection with her fellow mothers. However, her attempt only leaves a negative impression about her. She proudly talks about how she preferred to worked relentlessly instead of slacking off at home when she was pregnant.
Her message instantly gets lost in translation. Offended by Hyun Jin’s statement, Eun Jeong emphasizes the importance of the intangible aspects in parenting. Because of such misunderstanding, other mothers purposely avoided Hyun Jin.
Feeding her son, Glue Stick, with her own milk is not as easy as how she thought it would be. Glue Stick is unable to latch onto her breast. Feeling helpless and useless, she drowns into a depressive state.
Casting off her pride, she goes to meet Eun Jeong to ask for a favor. As if begging her, she pleads to help her with some childcare tips especially when it comes to feeding her son. The two mothers finally resolve their issue and they begin to root for each other’s success in parenting.
Realistic Take About Postpartum Depression
After delivering her baby, a woman becomes a mother. But in a more profound sense, motherhood does not happen overnight. It is a tedious trial-and-error process of caring and rearing a child. And in such sense, the drama perfectly captures the emotional instability a mother experiences after giving birth.
Oh Hyun Jin is trapped in the her own little world of mental anxiety. This is a concoction of negative emotions- her declining self-esteem caused by being inexperienced, her fear of not being able to provide for her child’s needs and the sudden changes in her lifestyle.
Hyun Jin is a representation of all the mothers who go through such unique phase. And it sends out a strong message to the viewers for a more understanding perspective about the struggles every mother experiences.
Unconditional Maternal Affection
Birthcare Center highlights the unconditional love of a mother for her child. And such affection was portrayed as instinctive in nature. A mother, no matter what it takes, will provide the best possible care for her child.
The drama gives us every reason to appreciate a mother’s efforts. Hyun Jin, despite her limitations, was willing to push herself to the limit- be it about exhausting all childcare means, or even stripping off one’s pride to beg for help for the sake of her baby.
Lifetime Bond Among Mothers
It may not have been a smooth start between Hyun Jin and some of the mothers in the postnatal center, but things have changed towards the end of the premiere week episode.
From enemies to friends, Hyun Jin and Eun Jeong’s differing perspectives have reached a stale mate after realizing that they are walking through the same path. Bound by the same goal of providing the best for their children, the series is about to depict a lifetime bond between the mothers.
Valuable Role Of A Husband
Another highlight of the premiere week was the unconditional love and support Hyun Jin gets from her husband, Kim Do Yoon. Both are striding into the world of parenthood for the first time. Do Yoon, though he is sometimes confused about his wife’s unpredictability, is more than willing to have a share of her emotional burden.
Premiere Week Afterthoughts
Birthcare Center‘s first two episodes laid down an amusing and inspiring story which is centered in the life-changing phase of a woman after giving birth. The series bravely talks about the elephant in the room that has been a sensitive topic for a long time which is about the postpartum depression.
Surprisingly, the manner of storytelling is embellished with humor to balance out the seriousness of the theme. It is, therefore, a refreshing and engrossing watch even for those who are not mothers.
The narrative progression is fast-paced but detailed. Every element of the story is relevant so far. Hopefully, no far-fetched, over-the-top arc will be introduced along the way.
Overall, the drama’s premiere week was engaging. With so many things to pick up from this series, it stirs anticipation for the next episodes to come.
Birthcare Center airs every Mondays and Tuesdays via tvN.
Images and videos: tvN