Thursday, August 30, 2007


So many people still think that homebirthing women do it for either some extreme radical point-proving self torture
extreme radical reaction to a "flukey" prior birth experience.

So many
So many
So many

Why is making the safe choice for our babies our bodies our souls our families RADICAL?

I think spending so much time happily swimming in the world of online midwife and doula blogs had me in a bubble. It got popped a few times, (all unrelated) in the past couple of days by some off handed comments and thoughts from some very mainstream status quo people.

Why do perfectly intelligent people in 2007 still believe that birth is some horrifying pathlogical medical crisis?

At least when I am forced to re-remember that they do feel this way, it helps me to put into perspective what they must truly feel about homebirth, and homebirthing women and families.

It brings to mind all those nasty analogies like "Ya get pain reliever at the dentist, doncha?"


HW said...

I think homebirthing women choose it because it is what they have decided is best for themselves and their baby. They feel safe with that decision and I applaud them for that.

I felt safe with my decision to have hospital births and was very pleased with my experiences. But I am not among those who disparage women who choose homebirth. I am thrilled when a woman asserts herself and chooses what is right for her.

mm said...

I had someone just today say, gosh you are so brave, after my cesarean I wouldn't dream of having my babies anywhere but at the hospital."
I looked at her deadpan and told her that I wasn't brave. She was, walking in to a hospital. I didn't want to take the chance of having another surgery.
The whole encounter when South rapidly thereafter...
Head to wall, repeat and walk away. Hear you loud and clear! Living it too!

mm said...

ummmm went South.. sorry brain is already upstairs in bed for the night!

Rebecca said...

I think the responses you encounter to homebirth varies a lot depending on where you are in the country. When I lived in the East Bay area of CA MANY of the women I talked to about my homebirth were curious, interested, and maybe even considering it for their NEXT baby. I had three close friends there; three hospital births, three epidurals, two unsatisfied customers, and one forceps baby. The two unsatisfied customers were totally open to the idea of homebirth. Even random people I encountered there seemed supportive.

Here in Nebraska it is a different story. Friends I've met here are so glad their baby was breech the first time so that they can have a c-section again next time. When I share my homebirth story or talk about traveling to Kansas to a birth center to give birth this pregnancy, I am looked at like I have a third nipple growing out of my forehead.

I don't want to cast Midwesterners as narrow minded because I don't think that's it. I just think that public opinion of homebirth is improved in communities where there are plenty of examples of happy moms and healthy babes walking around talking about their great homebirths! And when you get a community in which homebirth is illegal, the stereotype of it being dangerous and radical perpetuates.

Sorry this is so long...this has just been on my mind a lot lately! ;-)

mama k said...

It's so cultural.
I am going over this with DH right now.
With my first, I was SCARED to go to the hospital. Scared that they would take over and I wouldnt' have any control of the situation or how things went. DH didn't was too SCARED to consider a homebirth and there are no birthing centers in South Jersey.
So, I hired a doula, took Bradley classes, switched to a supportive OB and had a great, natural hospital birth with minimal interventions. I didn't even have an IV.
Still, reading all about homebirths and speaking to a few friends that have done it, there is something really appealing about it.
DH is scared of the risk..."What if something goes wrong??"
I have shared the stats with him and we only live 10 minutes from the hospital.
But really, there is this feeling that if you are at the hospital and something goes wrong, they can save you.
So really, I think most of those feelings are based on fear of the unknown and lack of knowlege about the whole process.

Since I'm not even preggo yet, we have plenty of time to discuss! :)

Housefairy said...

Thanks everyone--
I always envisioned living in a city where AP mamas would walk around with their babies in slings, discussing their midwives and swapping recipes...:)
I know that it is where I live, in large part.

emjaybee said...

You can't expect women and men who have been raised in ignorance of what birth actually is, how it works, and what it can look like (as opposed to what it looks like on TV, which is screamy and dangerous) to see through all the flim-flam, because it's everywhere.

Sadly, it often does take a bad birth experience to make someone question the goodness and wisdom of hospital birth culture. Who wants to believe that their OB is actually quite ignorant about birth without interventions, and may never even have *seen* one? Or even that deep down the OB and hospital would prefer c/secs for *all* births because they're a liability shield and convenient, as opposed to actually being good for women and babies?

The hospitals lie, the doctors lie, sometimes the midwives lie too. Then they lie to themselves to make them feel better. And if a woman protests or mentions her pain afterward, well, just prescribe her some anti-depressants, she's obviously overwrought.

It's the legacy of patriarchy, plus greed and ignorance on the hospital side, and lack of information and choices on the woman's side. Our society in general doesn't trust women to know how to use and own their own bodies; we're surrounded by experts who tell us what to do with them, night and day, and it can make us passive and disconnected from our bodies as a result. Which makes us easier to control.

Kelley said...

"Our society in general doesn't trust women to know how to use and own their own bodies; we're surrounded by experts who tell us what to do with them, night and day, and it can make us passive and disconnected from our bodies as a result. Which makes us easier to control."

This is very true. I absolutely agree with this. Unfortunately, I feel that this mentality of control and disconnectedness extends to many more areas in our lives than just birth. So much of our lives are controlled by someone else because we let it be that way. Then, if we try to pull away and think for ourselves, the social backlash is amazingly strong.

Arrrgggh! Just let me think for myself, and do what is best for my family in birth, in parenting, in education, etc.

Kelley said...

disclaimer - That last part was directed at the world in general, not at any one on this blog.

CNH said...

I had a family member of my husband's ask me "are you some sort of sadist?" when he found out I had E at home unassisted.

Yeah. That's it. I just like pain.

Ignorant dolts.