Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bitter Homebirther's Wish List

I have a lot of friends who homeschool. There are a multitude of misconceptions surrounding not only kids who are homeschooled, but parents who homeschool. It becomes annoying. I was one of those homeschool kids who was asked, as I was at a social event, "Do you have any friends?". Nope. None. Mom keeps us in the basement, and today's the first time out in a year!  :facepalm:

Question layout credit goes completely to Deborah Markus at Secular Homeschooling.

My homeschooling friends posted an article, The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List, on Facebook today. And I thought it was brilliant! I also thought that us homebirthers should have one that is just like it, since there are just as many misconceptions about homebirthing. So, here goes:

1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. Women have been having babies at home since the beginning of time. Literally. And even in states where it's not technically legal, women birth at home anyway, exercising their rights as an autonomous human being. 

2. Learn the differences between a woman choosing to have a home birth after she's researched it and has decided it's best for her family, and a teenager who gives birth in a bathroom stall because she's too afraid to go to the hospital. These are not one in the same. Statistically, the latter may be thrown in as "out of hospital birth", but bears no resemblance to the first. 

3. Quit asking my husband if he is allowing/okay with it. Even if he wasn't, I am the one who is birthing the baby. I have done extensive research, I am not choosing to birth at home because it seems "cool". Just as he would not be able to order me to have a cesarean for no reason, he is not able to order me to have a hospital birth for no reason. 

4. Don't assume that every homebirther you meet is birthing at home for the same reason, or will have the same experience. 

5. If the homebirthing woman you know is actually someone you saw on TV (and probably on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant), the above especially applies.  

6. Please stop enthusiastically informing us of the horror stories you've heard of when babies are born at home. Because really, I have dozens of horrifying stories to tell about hospital births. If you want a pissing match, I'll happily beat you. I guarantee that I'm more informed than you are of the research and statistics regarding the safety in home vs hospital birth. 

7. We don't look horrified and start questioning you when you say you're birthing your baby in the hospital. Even though we want to. Because it is far more terrifying to birth in the hospital. Look at the statistics. I firmly believe the, "You're so brave!" sentiment should be given to women birthing in the hospital, not to those birthing at home. 

8. Stop assuming all homebirthers are religious. 

9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, then we homebirth because of religious reasons. 

10. I didn't go through all of the research and consideration and weighing of all of the information just to be a "rebel", or to be a hero. This was a very personal decision, one based on my experiences with childbirth. Stop thinking that it is your public duty to make us aware of the option of hospital birth. 

11. Please stop questioning my ability to give birth outside of a hospital, without drugs, without intervention. Once again, women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. Will it hurt without drugs? Sure. But to me, avoiding those is very important. Laboring in the hospital with drugs readily available is hard to resist, and I have committed to doing this not only for my baby, but for me. So I'm going to give myself the best shot possible at doing so. 

12. If we're birthing unassisted (sans Midwife) and you ask me how we'll know what we're doing, I will happily give you the equivalent of a 5-page rundown on how hormones work in labor, as well as the history of childbirth. If I didn't feel confident in birthing with just my partner, we'd hire a Midwife. 

13. Stop asking me if my baby will drown when I give birth in the water. Please take 2.5 seconds to think about what environment the baby lives in during his stay in my uterus, and if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. 

14. Stop assuming that if I give birth at home, I'm going to eat my placenta. I might, but you shouldn't assume it. I'm more likely to encapsulate it, or plant it under a bush or tree. 

15. Stop asking, "But what about the birth certificate?" I'll say it again. Babies are born at home every day, all over the world. A good chunk are intentional, some are not. It's not going to be impossible to get a birth certificate or social security card, just because we birthed at home. 

16. Quit assuming that I am a hippy freak because I choose to birth at home. 

17. Quit assuming that I am more concerned with the experience, than I am about safety. 

18. Quit assuming that because I am concerned about what kind of experience I will have, that I'm not concerned about safety. A woman will remember the way she was made to feel at birth, for the rest of her life. Is it really such a wild idea that a woman cares to give birth in the most peaceful environment possible?

19. Quit assuming that my Midwife has only read books about childbirth, but has no actual training; only carries a biting stick and a bundle of sage to births; and wears Berkenstocks. 

20. Stop talking about all of the "luxuries" I'll miss by being in the hospital to give birth. I'll be in my own home, sans strangers walking in and out of my room, eating and drinking throughout labor, and then snuggled into my own bed with my baby and not being bothered in the middle of the night. You'll have strangers coming in and out of your room, an IV and ice chips as your only sustenance, transferred to a terribly uncomfortable postpartum bed, and you'll be woken up every few hours to have you and baby checked on. 

21. Quit asking me, "Your doctor let you do that?". First of all, where I birth is not my doctor's decision and I did not ask him/her for permission. Second of all, I feel sorry for you if you ask this question. Because it means that you probably have authority-figure beliefs about doctors, and would base your decisions on what he/she says. 

Now, I am happy to give information to those who are genuinely interested in learning more about homebirth. But, let's face it. Most people who come up with these comments or questions do so because they simply cannot believe that we'd actually plan to birth at home. A good chunk just want to argue, or call us stupid without actually calling us stupid. 

1 comment:

Heather Anne said...

we had one hospital birth and two home births. By and far, our home births were so much more relaxing, peaceful - and enjoyable. People look at me strangely when I say that labour was the best part of my pregnancies! Kudos for a wonderful list.