I Support Home Birth *Safety*

I’m not entirely sure why I feel so strongly about home birth. I always have, I mean, I felt so strongly that I even refused to be born in the hospital! Which, of course, is more a joke than anything- I don’t know whether or not I truly believe that babies have that level of awareness, it could just be a coincidence that I happened to be well-timed and my mother was able to have a quick birth, resulting in me being delivered right after the paramedics got there rather than at the hospital as planned.

I don’t think that my birth is what caused these feelings, though. Growing up with a story of the easiest birth ever could convince someone that they’ll be looking forward to the same- but I don’t think I ever believed I’d have that same birth. I never really thought about it before getting pregnant, and throughout the pregnancy I hoped but also knew I needed to be prepared for pain and problems. Those ideals also would have gone away after having a traumatic home birth with a negligent midwife who put my and my baby’s safety in danger. I would be completely justified in being anti-homebirth. But I’m not.

I also always knew that I may not be able to do a home birth. Well, not always, but for a very long time. See, my mom has a congenital heart defect (I’ve mentioned this before) and if any baby of mine gets it- there’s not a chance in Hell I’ll take the risk of a home birth. Any midwife who would be willing to try should lose their license. I also don’t think I’d be comfortable delivering twins or breech at home, and there are plenty of risk factors that could crop up that would take it off the table. Even when I was in labor, I considered transferring and I’m still not sure if I made the right choice or not. Mostly, I don’t want to dwell on it because the answer is most likely “yup, I dun f**ked up”.

Yet, I’m still considering a home birth next time. (again, provided I feel it’s safe, which will be much harder after what happened the first time)

Home birth isn’t about some ideal for me. It’s not that I want this perfect Earth Deity birth. It’s not that I think nothing can ever go wrong. It’s not that I think home birth is better. I just… don’t like hospitals. And not even in a “they’re evil” way, just in a “I’m seriously glad they exist but I just can’t calm down in them” way. I don’t feel strongly about myself giving birth at home. But I feel strongly about home birth. I feel even more strongly that home birth should be safe.

Which is a strangely and sadly and infuriatingly lonely position. See, most home birth advocacy ignores safety and brushes it under a rug. There’s this bizarre idea that if you don’t talk about bad things, then they can’t happen. This is not safe. This makes me angry, because it puts people in danger. It allows midwives who’ve hurt people and endangered lives get to continue practicing with the support of a community. I’m not okay with this.

But, on the other hand, most of the people who talk about the danger of home birth as it’s practiced now (at least in the US, apparently it’s safer elsewhere) use this to decry all home birth. They want to take away the choice entirely. They attack those who choose it as being either ignorant sheep or selfish douchebags who don’t care about their children. I don’t totally know why, but this actually cuts me deeply.

I really appreciate that Safer Midwifery For Michigan is about promoting home birth safety, despite the tragedy that the people involved faced.

I wish there were more people like this. Too few people are actually pushing to make home birth safer, but it needs to happen.

I don’t actually have much emotional investment in doing home birth myself. I prefer it, but it’s like preferring chocolate over vanilla- either way, it’s ice cream, and if there’s a compelling reason not to get chocolate then I’m fine with vanilla. Yet, I still feel very strongly about home birth in general. I really can’t say why, I just do.

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