I had a home birth. Yes, you heard me. I birthed a baby in my very own home. Without warming beds, IVs, bright lights and beeping machines. Some would say it was courageous. Why then, do I shy away from telling most people I meet the truth?
For my first birth, medicated in the hospital, I never hesitated to share gruesome details such as degree of tears, size of clots, hours pushing etc. I felt it was perfectly acceptable to inform mothers-to-be about the horrors of birth and what to expect. I never felt judged or sneered upon. It was like sharing war stories. How much weight did you gain? Who was your doctor? All reasonable questions to the stranger in the grocery store with the two month old baby.
But wait. After I came to my senses through battling major postpartum issues the first time around, I discovered there was a better way. Women centered care with choices. Bring on the midwife. As my belly bulged with my second tadpole, people started to ask me the same questions as they did the first time around. How much weight have you gained? Who is your doctor? Answering honestly usually did me no good. They would respond with, “What do you mean they don’t weigh you?” or “Yeah, but who is your doctor?” More and more I found myself lying. Not that I was ashamed of my choices, I just didn’t want to get into it. It was easier to answer these questions with “the norm.” Dare I tell the checkout lady that I plan on having a home birth with closest family there and no doctor in sight? Nope. There are to many people in line behind me!
I do want to advocate for women and having choices. Please don’t misinterpret my story. Open mindedness comes in varying degrees. The fact is, I discriminate in who I told, and still do. Provide the right venue and amount of time and I am happy to answer any and all questions. I will throw stats and facts out left and right to those who want to know. I don’t think it is fair to those asking questions while just passing by, to bombard them with something that they may not be expecting. Homebirth comes with deep seated beliefs and trusts that can not be explained in thirty seconds.
We must, as homebirthers band together and not hold back so much. One day, having a homebirth will not garner as much confusion as it does now. To get to that point, we must share our stories with the right people at the right moments.