We are planning a homebirth--our seventh homebirth. All of my kids have been welcomed in the comforts of their own home--except for two who were welcomed in the comforts of my parents' home.
I have loved every one of my births. They have been lovely and healthy and safe and when all is said and done I'm at home recovering in my own bed, tended to by my husband, mother and sister.
Read an article today about how homebirth is on the rise in the United States. According to this article the rate of homebirth is up 20 percent since 2004!
The author of the article makes her own case as to the reason for its increase: hippies being counter-cultural, women wanting freedom of movement and decision making during labor, concerns over an unnecessarily high c-section rate in the U.S., backlash against bad hospital experience(s), it's cheaper, and it's the hip thing to do after documentaries and Discovery Health specials. Some of these supposed "reasons" I personally find insulting. Do you really think I choose homebirth simply to save money or because I want to be counter-cultural? Seriously?
But the reason that chapped my booty the most is this one (a direct quote from the article): "Some doctors also question whether a "feminist machoism" is at play in wanting to give birth at home."
When I read that I did a mental double take. What sort of sexist idea is that?! By birthing at home I'm just trying to prove how tough I am? That I'm as macho as any dude out there? Give me a break!
I remember my mom telling the story of when she was in labor with my sister the doctor suggested medication (she had already had two unmedicated natural births), "You don't have to prove that you are brave." Want to instantly make a laboring woman mad? Suggest she's going through this for no reason at all or for a reason that is stupid. Oh yeah, we love it when people do that.
No woman I know who is trying to labor naturally at home or in a hospital is doing it to prove she's brave. We've got nothing to prove. The vast majority of homebirth mamas I know are highly educated, have researched their midwife (or lack thereof) thoroughly, have read more books on birth and labor than most OB's probably realize exist, and have taken more than one childbirth class. The vast majority of mamas I know who choose homebirth have a supportive partner who is (almost) as educated on the choice as she is, having read many of the books she has conveniently lying about and has attended all those childbirth classes with her! Most homebirth daddies I know can argue and debate homebirth with anyone and hold their ground. And if you were to gather up all these homebirth couples together and ask them why they are doing this instead of just checking themselves into the local hospital, I don't think one of them would say that they want to prove that it can be done.
Like all choices we make as parents (to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, to co-sleep or not to co-sleep, when to introduce solids, etc.) we are choosing homebirth because we genuinely believe that it is what is best for our baby and our family. And I make no judgements on whether it would be the best choice for your baby and your family. We've made this choice seven times because we believe that it is healthier for Mama, Baby and the whole family--both physically, mentally and spiritually.
Not trying to save money.
Not trying to be hip nor countercultural.
Not trying to mimic some lady I saw on Discovery Health.
Not trying to be brave.
Nothing to prove.
Just making the best informed decision we can given all the factors of our life, health, and own family culture.