I recently made a short movie about the homebirth / waterbirth of my
son, Judah, in order to get people interested in and activated about
homebirth; please forward the link to anyone you think might be interested.
In the past year The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have made statements and passed resolutions against homebirth and, indeed, seek to outlaw homebirth. There are many places in this country where homebirth is already officially or unofficially illegal and where certified professional midwives and lay midwives are being prosecuted as felons.
It is my strong belief, based on what I have read, witnessed and personally experienced, that homebirth is a safe choice for 90% (or more) of pregnant women. In many other countries home birth is acknowledged as a safe and appropriate choice.
Women’s rights, particularly our reproductive rights are being imperiled here in this country. Access to safe, legal homebirth is part of the larger issues of reproductive rights and quality health care in this country. Many medical experts have recently published books and reports pointing out how the current state of the birthing industry is pushing us towards unsafe C-section rates and other negative outcomes for mothers and babies. We are also in danger of losing centuries of birthing wisdom and the hands-on knowledge necessary to care for mothers’ and babies’ bodies, spirits and families.
Childbirth is a feminist issue: an issue of choice, empowerment, safety, and dignity. And midwifery is a feminist issue: an issue of respect and acknowledgment for women-centered skills and expertise. As the writer Laura Stavoe Harm has said, “There’s a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful–it’s that women are strong.”
This film is, I admit, a work of propaganda, which is defined as the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. It is not my intention to judge the choices made by individual women or to imply that those who chose to birth their babies in hospitals are doing something wrong. I am committed to working to improve maternity services for all women, to keeping homebirth legal, accessible and available to those who want it and to cutting through the fear and misinformation surrounding pregnancy and birth.
Rachel Zucker, mother, writer, doula and homebirth activist