I am not “anti-home birth”.

This post has been quietly brewing in my mind for awhile now. It’s hard to define where exactly I stand on home birth but what I do know is that I am anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, anti-judgement, anti-disrespect…but I am NOT anti-home birth. Somehow the subject of birth and how one chooses to do so has become almost as delicate a subject as religion and politics. Oh wait…maybe that’s because those two things happen to fuel a lot of how and why someone chooses to birth. There is a terrifying birth story that is making waves and going viral all over the internet right now. You may have read it. Here is a link. The comments on the post itself as well as on a number of birth communities on Facebook have ranged from empathy, sorrow, love, and kindness to blame, distaste, and apathy. This is not a dead baby story. But it could have been.

Many of the more negative comments talk about how the writer is clearly anti-home birth and how “that’s just not fair” to happy home birthers. I get it. I had two beautiful hospital births and when people talk about how bad hospital births are I get a little defensive. Truth is it really doesn’t matter. We are humans with our own emotions and we get to own them whether someone else agrees or not. Maybe the writer is anti-home birth. She is sending a message that “hey, there are crappy home birth midwives out there. Be careful.” Maybe not everyone is hearing that but I am. But NO ONE has a right to say her feelings are not valid or that she should have picked a better midwife, etc….

I cannot emphasize the importance ofย education any more than I already do. This includes the client but more than anything includes the provider, or any professional one may hire for a service. Our country has a problem with how it manages home birth deliveries and the midwives and people that attend them. States vary on their regulations and standards of education. Many midwives are not bound legally by any form of liability insurance. More than anything, this just makes me sad. So I’m not anti-home birth….I am anti-lack of education, lack of experience…so many mistakes were made in that birth. It’s not the first time and sadly, that won’t be the last time either. An educated, proficient provider would have called 911 the moment she noticed the waters were stained with meconium. This is just one of the many problems with the birth and I am not going to keep breaking it down. Anyone can see from reading the story that there were many mistakes made.

Lastly, I would like to address a comment that keeps getting thrown around by many people who are clearly “anti-hospital birth”….”Babies die in the hospital ALL THE TIME!”. You guys. This is NOT true. In fact, it is RARE for a baby to die in hospital and most of the cases in which one does not make it is due to some kind of fetal anomaly that could not have been prevented (like a cord accident or genetic issue).

Anyway, I had to get these feelings out. I had to express how sad I am that, 16 months later, this mama is experiencing so much birth trauma. I have no doubt that writing about it helps her. I had to share that, though I may have concerns about home birthing, I am not against it.

Behave in the comments. Remember to be respectful.


4 thoughts on “I am not “anti-home birth”.

  1. Sure do sound anti home birth. I thought avoiding Facebook and blogs as I prepare for my own homebirth in the next month would be enough to remove negativity from my space and allow me to get my mind and body right. And now my subscription to your blog finds me in my email. Maybe I just need an Internet break period. As a midwife who safely, carefully, and with great love practices out of hospital birth, I think you speak in a lot of generalities you don’t know a ton about. I respect everyone’s right to an opinion. But as a pregnant lady preparing my own birth space this is just another reminder to me to step back from the Internet. At least until I’m up for midnight nursing sessions.

    1. Ashley, I have had to do the same with social media. It all gets quite overwhelming at times. You certainly can have your own opinions of my stance on home birth and I cant convince you or anyone else anymore than I have about how I feel. I will say that in my area, we have amazing home birth midwives and i know that there are amazing home birth midwives everywhere. Its the missed cues for emergencies that are a problem, among other things. In no way was I bashing home birth or home birth midwives. I do know more than I may lead on to share. I do wish you the best of luck with your delivery. Please come back again.

  2. Very well written, Sarah. As a certified nurse-midwife with over 20 years’ experience receiving babies into the world, both in hospitals and at home, I hold sacred the trust women give us to protect them and their babies. The first element of honoring that trust is to be ready – through education and practice. The next element is to evaluate risk – from the first meeting with a pregnant lady (or even before she’s pregnant) to every contraction of her labor.
    In this birth story, the disaster could have been averted if the midwife had carefully and honestly evaluated the mother’s risk from her obstetrical records, prenatal course, and labor progress.
    We must, as midwives, honor the truth of each pregnancy, labor and birth, or we must admit that we do not deserve the sacred trust of being called a “midwife” at all.
    Blessings on your path.

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