Monday, August 23, 2010

Empowered Birthing for Every Woman

The  following are our excerpt from a thread on a websgroup discussion that we and our friend Sheila Pai were a part of. It discusses our point of view on homebirth. The poster is considering the best birth option for her and is asking for others' experiences. 

I had a fantastic homebirth and no regrets whatsover. Christy Santoro, my homebirth midwife, is a member of this group. I also considered a birth center but in the end felt they were just a slightly more relaxed hotel version of a hospital. I cant even begin to explain what it is like to have the support of the midwives through the early weeks. That is where homebirth really is heads above every other birthing situation. The birth was just the start (or middle) of a what followed - any question I had was answered and we were checked up on IN OUR OWN HOME for days/weeks afterwards. In addition, we automatically became part of a larger, supportive community.

I strongly echo Madhavi. Homebirth!
We made a major shift from planned hospital birth to homebirth in the last trimester. So worth it.
Most importantly, should you choose a hospital birth I agree that a birthplan is so necessary, and a doula would be extremely helpful and supportive in that.

 Dear _______
 First of all, I hope you know how much of a support YOU have been to all the rest of us here. Community is a lovely thing.

About homebirth. I am very passionate about it, but so as not to overwhelm anyone I agree with what Madhavi and Jeremy have said. If I were to echo those and add some random things that I love about homebirth.

1. you're at home with your food, your comforts, your loved ones in your bed. you can eat and drink what you want when you want. move around when you want. be monitored only when you need to be.
2. homebirth midwives are there FOR YOU. not the lady down the hall, not the hospital's branch of a birth center, not even just your baby. there is a midwife for you and one for your baby at the least.
3. (perhaps most important) if a natural birth is something you truly want to have a chance at, then staying at home as long as humanly possible (which is generally the whole thing) gives you the best environment and strength to do it.

FINALLY, There is nothing that says if you have a homebirth that you can't go to the hospital whenever you want or need to and get whatever interventions you want or need. If you get to a hospital, there is no way you are getting out of there, and they are designed to intervene. You can certainly have a wonderful natural birth, but you will have to spend energy and work at it. That's the main thing that pushed me fully onto homebirth; I just didn't want my husband or caregivers more concerned about "the rules" or liability or any of that more than they were about me as a mother and my baby and the birth process.

My only other thought, and I am only saying it now because this is easily the third time I've heard this comment in the last week, is about the support or lack thereof from husbands/birth partners. I have no judgment of these men or the women that love them, not a single drop. However, my heart hurts to know that there are men that can't find models in society and messages from their communities (namely other men) that recognize the power of the women they love....that there are so many men unable to overcome the fear of the unknown because they lack the wisdom of generations upon generations of women. I can only assume that some of the women who love these men probably lack complete confidence in themselves and their men are also picking up on that. I guess my heart is sad that as a society we are so backwards and make it so difficult for men and women to be the natural beings they are. Homebirth has been proven over and over again to be as safe or SAFER than hospital birth. Interventions are there to help us work miracles when needed. The unfortunate reality, however, is that they have become the norm for normal, healthy births. If the husband or birth partner is afraid, get them some books, have them watch some of these amazing documentaries, have them talk to dads and mothers who have done homebirths. Get educated! Then make a decision together.

All of that said, I want women to birth wherever they can feel most relaxed because that will allow them to birth naturally and avoid interventions. At home you have complete freedom to set up the environment and the people present the way that supports a natural birth. In a hospital it is vital to have a doula and support team that is clear on what they should say and what they should and should not allow the hospital staff to do. EMPOWERED birth is the most important thing. It is your birth and you can have a certain extent because that baby is the one running the show!


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