When you picture home birth do you get anxious, skeptical, or even weirded out? Then this post is just for you. OKC Moms Blog’s resident home birthers (contributors Becky and Anna) want to clear up some misconceptions and hopefully provide you with a better understanding of the experience and our reasons behind our choices. Hold on to your placentas, here we go folks!
1. We aren’t judging your hospital birth.
Please know that we chose home birth for ourselves after weighing the pros and cons and considering our own unique pregnancies, babies, bodies, and preferences. In no way do we believe home birth is the “right way” to birth. In fact, many home birthing moms have chosen hospital births for other pregnancies. January Harshe of Birth Without Fear summed it up perfectly when she said, “I do not care what kind of birth you have…a home birth, scheduled cesarean, epidural hospital birth, or if you birth alone in the woods next to baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices, and that you were respected.”
2. Midwives are educated, experienced professionals.
Before I began researching birth options, the word “midwife” conjured up images of 80 year old hippies living on farms with long braids yelling for towels and buckets of hot water. I’m sure there are some rocking midwives that fit that description, but it is just not true of all midwives today. Some midwives have nursing degrees and their Masters in Midwifery. Some have completed lengthy apprenticeships and have attended hundreds of births before beginning their own practices. They are knowledgeable professionals trained to provide comprehensive prenatal, delivery and postpartum care. They can recognize and even treat some complications, but also know when a hospital transfer is necessary. As with any profession, the quality of care can vary, and every midwife should be able to provide their birth statistics, references, certifications, and background. The responsibility of finding a quality care provider for your birth should never be taken lightly, but, thankfully, we have tons of great options for midwives (and OBs!) serving in our area!
3. We don’t possess super strength.
When talking about having a home birth, one of the first reactions I get from other moms is, “You’re so strong!” or “I could never do that!” And honestly, this response just makes me sad. I understand the compliment, but you have to know – my pain tolerance is LOW. In fact, if I stub my toe, I’m probably going to limp on it all day long. In no way do I have super strength. I have, however, been blessed with low risk, complication free pregnancies and births. Other than education, diet and exercise, I did nothing to earn that. I totally get that sometimes medical intervention is necessary or wanted, and I can 100% accept that! What I have a problem with is the idea that only the exceptional can have an unmedicated birth. We doubt ourselves and our culture doubts us, too. We are living in a time when we preach empowerment for women, but for some reason, birth has been left out the movement. So, yes, be open to the idea that your birth may require intervention, and if an epidural is something you want – own that, too! But if you want to have an unmedicated birth, don’t limit yourself with the idea that “you could never…”. Educate yourself, find a supportive team of providers, and prepare yourself physically and mentally for the birth that you want. Because, maybe, you can.
4. You can ask me about it.
Whether you are just curious or actually looking into all options, we love discussing all things birth. You aren’t going to offend us or make us feel awkward so just have at it! We are all adults here who can discuss topics and even *gasp* HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS. Like I said before, this isn’t for everyone, but you also may not realize this is a good path for you if you never explore a little.
5. Speaking of questions – No, it wasn’t messy.
Short answer, if you have a midwife she will make sure that your house looks like it did pre-birth. We have “birth kits” that include all the items we will need during the birth but wouldn’t normally have on hand: gloves, gauze, tons of pads, a pool liner, the works! There’s a process for easy clean-up just like you would find at the hospital. So never fear – you aren’t going to come over to hold our new squish and find a crime scene.
6. We didn’t choose home birth to be trendy.
I’m not trying to be like such-and-such celebrity. I’m not trying to have the birth of my dreams. I’m not “putting my child’s life in danger to follow a movement”. Unfortunately, I have been on the receiving end of several unfounded comments like these. I have had both hospital and home births and I can say without a doubt that in my case, my home birth was a much safer experience for everyone involved. My body does birth very well on its own and kind of freaks out with medications and procedures to speed up the process. There were so many reasons that birthing at home was the right choice for our family, but I assure you that none of them had to do with the ELITE status we gain after our venture (said with extreme sarcasm, because when you are fast approaching 30 and your vagay is being discussed, people don’t look at you as the cool kid anymore.)
7. You can’t talk us out of it, so it’s best to be supportive.
Going back to the point about asking questions, we are more than willing to answer whatever concerns you may have, coming from a place of love, of course. But if we decide to disagree, you can still CHOOSE to be supportive. I know that I had friends with hesitations, but God bless them, they know that I love my children more than anything. They know that, just like them, I would do ANYTHING to keep my kids safe. They know I’m not trying to prove anything, or be like Gisele (although the resemblance is uncanny, right??), or have some fairytale birth. My skeptical friends chose to support me as I gave birth differently than they did but for the very same reasons. So maybe instead of trying to change our minds, open yours. We aren’t crazy hippies, we are moms making difficult decisions with much care and deliberation.
What birth options did you consider for your children? What did you decide was best for you and your child/children?