The podcast we listened to was very depressing to listen to. The two kids that were switched at birth, it is an unbelievable thing to happen especially with modern medicine. Throughout the broadcast there were many interviews, but the way the interviews were presented really stuck out to me. Just like the Katrina podcast that we listened to earlier, Jake Halpern really guided the interviews with his insight and comeback questions. Most of the questions I could tell were not prewritten for the interview but rather asked as a response to what the interviewee said. Also the sequencing of the interviews played an important role in how the story was told. Starting with Sue talking about how when she was little her friends would say she must have been adopted, and eventually working up to her being reunited with her birth parents. As for Marti, she lived a life under the strict rule of her religious parents and felt out of place a little among her many brothers and sisters. She found out at a dinner where her family was drinking and came out that she looked like the McDonald's. Kay McDonald had no idea that her daughter was switched at birth and did not really accept the idea, where as Mary Miller knew the whole time but did not want to say anything. The interviews in this story were very strategically set up to appeal to the emotions of the audience. I noticed that the first act was just scratching the surface of the story while revealing the two switched daughters, and the second act was dedicated to Jake telling the stories of the mothers and their reactions to this accident that happened in 1951. The lasting impression this story had on me was, If i found out that one of my kids was switched at birth at age sixty nine, how would i react.
Listening to this podcast, I found it amazing how many people were actually emotionally hurt by such news. It is definitely very life altering, but this information brought out old and new insecurities for everyone. I believe the different interviews showed very nicely the underground of the story, things not noticed right away. If they didn't interview the son of the McDonald's, we wouldn't have completely grasped how close him and Marty, his biological sister, had actually become. We heard from Sue, Marty, Mrs McDonald, Mrs Miller, a son, a few sisters, a sister- in- law; I believe they caught every aspect and point of view possible to make this a great story and to find what isn't noticeable right away. I also think they balanced the interviewer and interviewee time very well. Whenever the interviewer was talking, it was necessary information; they were digging us deeper into the story and helping us understand it more. And the interviewee helped us see things through their eyes, all of the good things and the bad things.
It's a lot of work to be a part of one family, never mind being thrown into a whole new one at the age of over 40. Personally, I come from one of the smallest families I know. It's just me, my dad, and my grandpa because we are all only children. I'd love to find new people to call family, but I wouldn't particularly like feeling like I need to prove myself and earn their love. I think the hardest part about this whole situation was feel accepted by your blood family. We heard how stand-offish Mrs. McDonald appeared to be to Marty. Mrs. McDonald didn't want to make the girl she raised to feel like she wasn't truly her daughter. She wanted Sue to always feel loved by her, and she went about that by pushing Marty away a little bit at first. And then we have Mrs. Miller who made Marty almost feel excluded from the family that she grew up with, trying to bring Sue into circle.
I couldn't help but think while listening "what if this was me?" What would I do if I was switched at birth, my mom knew the whole time, and didn't do anything until I was in my mid 40's? I think I'd be angry, very angry. It's a shame to lose people in your life. This is preventing your child from knowing their biological family. Overall, I think Mrs. Miller was incredibly wrong with going about things the way she did. I know she didn't have bad intentions, but she hurt a lot of people involved.
After listening to the first act of this podcast, I questioned many
things. At first, I was confused on how Kay could go at least 40 plus years
without realizing that her daughter wasn’t actually her own, until the age of
69. If her whole church had known the rumors about the accidental switch of
babies for years, I find it suspicious that it took her so long to find out
herself. Especially with Sue’s real mother having so much interest in her. I
found the story hard to believe, until actually hearing their point of view and
their words. It surprises me that a secret could’ve been held in by so many
people for so long. The area of the podcast where Marti talks about weddings,
feeling left out and having her brother Bob not even dance with her, stood out
to me. She made me feel sympathy. This situation was probably hard enough, and
then feeling like you’re not good enough for a family already, it probably
pushed her over the edge. Marti’s interview kind of opens up the eyes of the
listeners. In the second act when Mrs. Miller explained her side of the story,
it seems a little odd that she was so carefree and even laughs about it, kind
of almost making a rude way of talking about it considering her daughter’s
emotional roller coaster that she went on throughout her whole life. It kind of
gives us listeners a weird vibe and wonders what could be going through her
head, to make light of such a tough situation. Once she started talking about
her husband Norbert, however, I feel like we could actually see her real
emotions. I think her laughter was a nervous way of covering up her actual
feelings, and I think she was secretly very upset about this situation all
along. When she starts to cry and says “..But he didn’t realize what effect it
would have anybody”, about how he didn’t think they should tell the other family
and just wanted to let it be, you could really see into her heart. The tables
really turn at the end when Sue reads the letter from Faith, welcoming her into
the family but basically saying “you were better off that way”. That’s the
message I took from that. I feel like that could’ve either made Sue really
relieved, or shook her up emotionally even more. Every interviewee’s part of
this story opened up a new door of answered questions, sympathy, and confusion.
Together, though, it all came together and ended happily, with Sue and Marti
trying to get along and realizing that their life could be very different from
what it is.
When Sue first explained her situation, I felt bad for her. She explained that she felt like an outsider to the family that she has known her whole life. She felt that her brother was choosing Marti over her and he had a better connection with her than herself. On the other hand, I also felt bad for Marti in this situation. She explained that she was feeling abandoned by her own family that she had grown up with. She felt disrespected by her brother in law that exposed the family secret to Marti. At the beginning of Kay’s interview, she seemed to be a bit of a pushover. She even revealed that she did not want to bother people by asking people about the rumors of the switched a birth. I also felt pity for her that when she finally got the DNA result, so many people revealed that they had known the whole time and no one had gone to her and told her before hand. The stress had affected Kay and her health had gotten worse. At one point she was sick for six to seven months and she thought that she was going to die. During Mary’s interview, she reveals that she longed for her biological baby since she found out they were switched. Her husband, Norbert, told her everything would be okay and it would not be right to take a baby from another family. The crackle in Mary’s voice, stirred up sadness and I started to get a little teary eyed. Her emotions were so powerful and I felt her desperation for her child. I couldn’t help but feel sorry and bad for the people interviewed during this podcast. I felt sadness for all of them. By the end of the podcast, the feeling of closure arises. Sue and Martha reflect on their childhood and their life and how things could have been different. They came to turns with what happened and who they are which made this story feel happier.
SHANNON ROBEY'S COMMENT:
I completely agree with everything you have said. I think this podcast showed the emotional toll this information took on everyone. The one thing I'd have to slightly disagree with is the whole thought on Mrs. Miller. I think, like you, she definitely wanted to come out with the truth and regrets it, but I see her as the bad guy in this situation. "Sometimes the right thing to do isn't always the easiest." It would be a very hard thing for Mrs. Miller to reveal that she thinks the two girls were switched at birth, but I still think she should've done it. Also, I completely don't agree with how she treated the girl that she raised, Marti, after the truth came out. She went about things the wrong way, making Marti feel unwanted and not accepted around the people she calls mom, dad, brother, and sister. I just think it could've been handled a lot better, but I do understand I'm a third party and I have no clue what Mrs. Miller could have been going through, either. She does have my sympathy, I just think all of the hurt created could have been avoided.
Throughout the “Switched at Birth” podcast there are many different people being interviewed who are all involved with the dynamics of the story. When the mother who did not know the secret, Mrs. MacDonald, was interviewed, she was very hurt because she did not raise the daughter she gave birth too. The woman who knew the secret, Mrs. Miller, just seemed happy to have her biological daughter back and told Marti (her non-biological daughter) that she knew the whole time and just did not want to support her since she was not her biological child. This leads the story to go from the listener believing that it will be a happy podcast because the daughters are with the right family, but the interviews change that whole perspective. It showed how Mrs. Miller just wanted to tell the secret and get her biological daughter back. Towards the end of the first act, I felt bad for Marti because I feel like she was the one left out by both families. And Sue is taken in by the Millers and the MacDonalds feel like they have a duty to their daughter, even if it is not their biological one.
Also, I feel bad for Kay MacDonald because she was the last person to find out about the switch and she wanted a daughter so bad. I feel like Mrs. Miller took something away from Mrs. MacDonald because the Millers had 5 daughters, while the MacDonald’s had one. I really do not understand why Mrs. Miller would not tell the secret as soon as possible. I understand she was sick and had good relations with the doctor but it is not fair to the MacDonalds. At first, I felt like it was an honest mistake but she should have gone back to the doctor and fixed everything, even though her husband advised against it. I am glad that near the end of Act 2, Mrs. Miller realizes her mistake and how she should have seen it earlier.
When I first began listening to the podcast my first initial reaction to Mrs. Miller how could a woman do this to not just these two girls but her whole entire family? I could not seem to wrap my head around the fact that she knew that she had taken the wrong child home from the hospital for 43 years and never said anything. Later on I came to find out that she actually confronted Mr. Miller about it the day that she took Marti home and he just fluffed it off. He said that if they brought this up that this would be an insult to the doctor that they have been seeing for many years and trusted. When Mrs. Miller was interviewed many years later after Mr. Miller had passed she explained how she knew that if she went against her husband that it would have ruined their marriage. She had children to take care of and didn’t want her family to fall apart. She just couldn’t understand why her husband thought this was ok and I completely agree with her. After hearing her explanation I can see her point of view as well because if I was in her situation I would be overwhelmed and confused too.
Overall the interviews with the different family members between the McDonald family and the Miller family moved the story along without having specific guidelines that they had to follow throughout. This was nice because they were free to just say how they felt and you really got a feel for how this situation changed their lives. The emotion behind the interviews were so powerful especially when Sue was afraid that the outgoing Marti would win over both families but actually Marti was the one who felt as though she was the one left out. In the interview Marti began to cry because she felt as though she was never going to be fully accepted into the McDonald family. However, in the end the two families were able to accept one another and move on after what had happened. They would go to family parties together as well as weddings. Sue and Marti would say how they were both sort of related anyways so why not! It was a nice ending to a story that could have ended in a very different way.
Carlton Williamson/ Julie Tremblay response
I definitely felt the same way Julie, in the beginning when I found out that Mrs. Miller had kept that secret for forty three years I thought she was evil and deserved no sympathy at all. As the story progress I tried to keep an open mind and heart and eventually learned her reasoning which you aforementioned in your post. I do take in to consideration that this event took place during the 1950’s. Due to the way society was established back then Mrs. Miller really did not have much of a say compared to our modern society. After hearing her side of the story I definitely agree with you and respect her decision. She made a decision that saved the destiny of her family.
Although the story seemed to have a fairy tale ending, I still sense that not everyone is fully genuine in regards to the situation. In order to have peace the families agree to coexists, but I feel as though there is still a bit of awkwardness. The daughters have multiple families to keep up with and honestly in my opinion that is confusing mentally and emotionally. I also believe that if the families are friendly with each other there is hidden jealousy amongst the daughters and possessiveness in each family member. I don’t believe everything is just going to continue to be “diddly dadddly” all families have conflicts and I believe that this situation may cause dispute or separation down the road. That’s just my opinion though I tend to over analyze situations.
Switched At Birth Podcast
When it comes to this podcast, I felt as if the narrator did a nice job balancing the aspect of narrations vs. interviews. I believe that he established the aspect of directing the story but not leading it. This allowed the interviewees themselves to expose the raw emotion that they hold within this story. I found this to be very important due to the fact that these qualities then allowed me to connect with the characters. I found myself developing contradictory thoughts throughout the interviews and narrations, which to me, is the significance of a good story.
When it came to the interviews, as previously stated, I could hear the variation of emotions through the characters voice. This is what first lead me to immediately place the blame among Mrs. Miller. When listening to some of her interviews, you could hear the lack of emotion within her voice than that of Mrs. McDonald, or the two girls. Obviously, this could be due to the fact that she knew all along that Marti was not her child. This is what allowed me to place the blame on her, due to the fact that she knew all along, so why get emotionally invested in a young child whom you know is not yours.
Although I immediately placed the blame on Mrs. Miller and was set on the idea that she could have prevented the whole thing, I then found my thoughts to be contradicting. As the podcast kept developing, we learned about the fact that Mrs. Miller confronted her husband on bringing home the wrong baby but he said that there was no doubt that it was. This is where my thoughts began to change. In the past, women did not hold as much power towards their husbands as many do today. With Mr. Miller being a reverend, you can then understand the strict and punitive attitude which he had when it came to his household. This allowed me to sympathize with Mrs. Miller, and her final interview confirmed my sympathy. Within the final part of the podcast she expressed that she would never go against her husband, and you can finally hear the raw emotion within her voice. So, it lead me to think, if she had felt that she had more power within her household, would all of this have been avoided?
SARAH CUMMINGS COMMENTS TO SHANNON
I agree with what you said about blaming Mrs. Miller and how she could have prevented this whole mess from happening if she just went to the doctor when she was feeling better, those few months after she got sick. I can see your point about Mr. Miller running a strict household because he was a reverend and that is just another reason for Mrs. Miller to be nervous about correcting her mistake when he advised her not to say anything. I did appreciate Mrs. Miller’s interview at the end, showing that she did not like keeping the secret for so many years but she felt as though she had to do it. I just felt bad for the girls and Mrs. MacDonald because they come to realize that most of their life was living in a lie. I did not think about what you said where women did not hold much power over decisions and family affairs when they first brought Marti home from the hospital. It makes a little bit more sense now and putting Mrs. Miller’s interview at the end makes the listener think about the whole story and how everything happened for a reason. I agree that the strategic planning of the interviews help to tell the story the best way possible. Having Marti and Sue in the beginning helps the listener to create an idea about Mrs. Miller but then having her interview last, if completely changes the listener’s idea of her and the story as a whole.
The interviews and the way that the podcast is structured play a major role in how the listeners perspective on the story changes from act one to act two. Act one is interviews of the two daughters, Sue and Marti, as well as a few others. These interviews are extremely important because they help us understand how the two women felt throughout the whole situation. Marti grew up with some idea that there was a possibility that she was not the Miller’s biological daughter; while Sue grew up with no idea what so ever. As a listener myself, I developed a dislike for Mrs. Miller very quickly and could not get past the fact that she kept the secret for 43 years. The interviews progressively added to reasons behind why Mrs. Miller should be held at fault for the situation occurring.
Act two is extremely important in the listener’s thoughts on Mrs. Miller and the story in general. Act two begins with interviews with Kay McDonald. Mrs. McDonald’s interviews added to the dislike I had for Mrs. Miller because she talked about how she fell into a depression after finding out the truth and experienced all the emotions someone goes through when they have a death in the family. She also talked about how she would never understand why and how Mrs. Miller stayed quiet for so long and that she would pursue the investigation of the switch even if her husband disagreed. It was not until the interview with Mrs. Miller herself that my opinion of her completely changed.
By the end of the podcast I began to blame her husband, Mr. Miller. Mrs. Miller discusses how she was sure that if she pursued looking into the switch she would destroy her marriage, lose her husband, and be left to raise 6 children on her own. Contradicting previous interviews with the daughters Mrs. Miller also says that it was good to have Marti as her daughter because she brought happiness and entertainment to their family; previously in act one Marti talks about how Mrs. Miller told her she didn’t expect much from her because she knew she wasn’t her biological daughter. I believe that saving Mrs. Millers interviews for the very end of the podcast was a complete twist because it truly impacts your thoughts on the whole story. You go from truly blaming her to hearing the pain and honesty in her voice, causing you to understand her actions.
Patrick Scannell's Response to Victoria
Victoria I totally agree that Mrs. Miller’s interview in the end provided a great twist. Just as she had stirred up different emotions with her letter, the podcast provides a similar roller-coaster ride for the listeners. I think it was important to have Mrs. Miller’s interview go last because it makes the story as a whole so much more interesting. Also I feel it was the most different of the four main interviews with each woman. Sue, Marti, and Mrs. McDonald all indirectly worked toward creating a cloud of hatred to hang over Mrs. Miller. However, it all becomes negated to some extent by the end.
It was interesting how Mrs. Miller said she would leave hints by calling the girls “sisters” or having the McDonalds over for dinner. You talk about how Mrs. McDonald goes through a depression and I think that was due to more than just the secret itself. With Mrs. Miller casually dropping hints and the fact that the two churches merge, Mrs. McDonald must have been upset with herself to an extent. Although Mrs. Miller never directly said it, I don’t believe she was being quiet for 43 years. She was in a difficult situation and tried to communicate in the best way possible.