In Support of Home Birth

When I was pregnant, it took me forever to come to grips with having a hospital birth and I took a little flack for it. I was so utterly defaulted that home birth was not an option. After having had a natural birth in the hospital setting, I feel even more compelled to speak up about the option of home birth. I am even more in support of it now than I was then. With legislation coming up in support of home birth in our state (Delaware), it's more important than ever that the women who can use their voices to speak about it. [Visit the Delaware Families for Safe Birth HERE for more information.]

The funny thing is that before I had a child, when I used my voice to tell people I wanted a natural birth, I was met with a lot of skepticism. I can understand that. There has been a lot of fear within the birth community within the last 30-odd years and this is largely in part to a shift that has occurred, taking birth out of the home and putting it mainly within the hospital setting. 

Let me be clear so there is no misunderstanding: I am grateful for the strides modern medicine has made. If you want or need a hospital birth, there are wonderful facilities available to you. I am thankful to the nurses who work long, tireless hours, and I respect the doctors who assist in birth. 

But I also believe in midwives and birth in the birthing center or home setting because I know that it works, and I know that it is a viable, good option. With almost 90% of births in America being normal, healthy births, there is every reason to believe that if women were less fearful of home birth (and if were an option) they would choose it and they would love it. 

In fact, nearly 30 years ago, I was born at home in New York state. My mother had a midwife named Annie, who delivered me. The midwife experience that my mother enjoyed was something she will never forget. Similarly, my brother was born in a birthing center here in Delaware back in 1989. I was five years old, and guess what? I attended his birth. I even cut his umbilical cord.

Being present at my brother's birth is something that was important for me. It gave me a live birth experience (also, my mom had a natural birth and was given no pain relief), which most people haven't attended until they see their own! And it gave me the knowledge that I could do it. If you are birthing in the hospital setting, many times there are rules preventing children from being present, which I believe is not only a personal choice, but also an important one. I simply don't feel that hospitals have the right to dictate those sorts of choices, call me crazy!

Birth, for me, was a communal experience; I had my team of women, and thankfully the hospital allowed me to sneak in an extra person. Some people feel it's a private event, which is fine. I don't think birth needs to be done in a tucked away corner, or in a hospital at all, especially if it is a normal, low risk pregnancy. I don't want to be told what I can or cannot eat, that it can't be taped, or who or how many people can be present. For these reasons, home birth would have worked very well for me. Not to mention I had a low-risk pregnancy and had a natural childbirth. Should I ever had another child, I want my child present (as I was for the birth of my brother) and I want the choice to do it in my home.

More than wanting, though, I believe it is every woman's right to choose how and where she births her baby. After carrying and caring for a child for ten months (that's nine fullllllll months), no one wants a healthy birth more than the mother does. Whether or not home birth is legal in our state, the fact of the matter is that people are going to do it. I don't think that women should be forced to do it "underground."

I also want to be clear that I don't believe that my choices will be right for everyone else. That is why I believe choice is important. If you don't want a home birth, hey, by all means, don't have one. But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't have access to one. We've simply got to be more comfortable with more choices and that even includes birth. Women have been taught to fear birth. We have been conditioned to have fear; fear of pain, fear of death of ourselves or our babies...but the facts of modern prenatal care in America don't really jibe with better results for mothers and their children. This is a major reason why I support home birth options.

Delaware, as well as many other states, need legislation that supports home birth and puts midwives back to work in our state. Because women deserve options, whether they take advantage of them or not. We've got to learn to step into the light on the birthing issue. As women, we have to trust our intuition and our bodies and as a community at large, we need to learn to trust mothers and their choices when it comes to birth. If you support home birth initiatives, I urge you to use your voice to speak up. It's too important not to. 

No comments:

Post a Comment