On the TV hit show “Nashville“, main character Juliette Barnes is in the bathroom tossing cookies and as she wipes away the evidence, she dials her ex-boyfriend Avery to tell him the news she found out… she is pregnant and it is his. On a previous episode, Juliette learned she was pregnant and assumed it was from a weak moment, one night stand she had which destroyed her relationship with Avery. At the abortion clinic she is determined to go through with the procedure until the sonogram technician informs her she is further along than she thought, indicating the baby is Avery’s, not from the affair. Despite the circumstances, many women with unplanned pregnancies are forced to make a decision. While abortion may never be an option for some women, it is for others.
As Avery spirals out of control in the aftermath of his breakup, Juliette is trying to decide how to tell him the pregnancy news. Juggling her new role playing Patsy Cline in a movie and the pregnancy, she dives into the emotional portrayal of the icon and the acting scenes that undoubtedly purposefully focus on Patsy’s angst with her husband and a fight brooding about her career coming before her children are interjected into the plot. As the episode closes, Avery is singing a deeply sad love song he wrote about Juliette and she listens to a voicemail from the clinic indicating if she still wants the procedure “time is of the essence.” Juliette pays a visit to the show’s other leading lady, the older and wiser Rayna Jaymes, who has been through a similar situation in her past. While deciding between her options, she reaches out to someone whom she trusts and can offer her guidance. This episode shows the importance of having a support system to, at the very least, bounce your ideas off of.
In the next episode, “I Feel Sorry For Me,” Juliette confesses to her manager and stylist that she is pregnant and as they begin to congratulate her she immediately tells them their next job is to find a “reputable and discrete adoption agency”. As they try to understand her reasoning, she shuts down their concerns about the movie and tour and she stresses the importance that no one is to find out about this pregnancy. The scene ends with her reiterating “reputable and discrete”. Having a reputable adoption agency that gives expectant mothers solid support as well as education is so important, so I am happy they showed her asking for those agency qualities.
In this same episode, Juliette learns that adoption laws in the state of Tennessee are very complicated. She wants to keep the pregnancy hidden from Avery, as he has made it clear he is done with her. She learns that in order to proceed with the adoption, she would need his consent. I personally LOVE that they brought the steps of adoption into this episode. Often adoption is portrayed in the media as easy and lacking emotion. The writers did research and brought the legal and the emotional side of her decision into the storyline. It became real and educational. Juliette still seems determined and starts spouting ideas of moving states or leaving the country “where a woman can have a baby in private”. This shows that some women are determined to find loopholes and ways around the obligation to tell the father of the child. It is a frightening reality that some agencies will allow rules to be broken or women to change states in order to bypass the laws of her own state. A father losing his rights to his child is a serious topic that this episode just briefly touched on.
As Juliette’s manager slams down a pile of hopeful adoptive parent bio books, he tells her that he found an agency that was willing to believe any lies she wants to tell them “for a price of course”, bringing to light that there are agencies out there that don’t always follow laws and ethics. It’s a subtle jab, but one that was important to add. Through tears Juliette tells Glen, her manager, that she hates disappointing him and asks that he just respect her choice. You can see the pain and confusion through her tears and it brought a lump to my throat as I watched on. Later in the episode as she is previewing the profile books, she starts cramping and bleeding and calls Rayna, fearing she is losing the baby. Rayna leaves an important meeting and takes Juliette to the doctor, where to Juliette’s relief it was a false alarm and the baby is strong and healthy. A heartfelt conversation about her decision to “give up the baby for adoption” is had between Juliette and Rayna and Rayna tells her she “sounds like a mother” with the comments she has made.
Juliette pays a late night visit to Glen where she cries on his shoulder. He embraces her and tells her it’s all going to be okay. By the next episode, Juliette’s secret is finally revealed to the public and she announces that she intends to raise the baby alone.
How often have we seen similar plots and storylines on TV? It shines a light on the world of adoption. The struggle is real and the emotion hits home. Even when it’s not done as well as it was in this show, it gives a starting point for people to gain some knowledge about adoption… maybe even leading them to come here and learn more!