I’m so angry, I’m shaking right now. I was pointed to this article and I made the mistake of reading the comments. And then leaving a couple hundred of my own.
A few of the particularly infuriating things:
1. One commenter said home birth was bad because illegals could then have unregistered babies. Uh.
2. One commenter said that “women aren’t supposed to be comfortable, they’re giving birth!” Where to begin? Many people have been saying that women who home birth are selfish. HOW DARE WE WANT COMFORT! And yet women get epidurals, for their own comfort, all the freakin’ time. Why isn’t that selfish?
3. There’s a lot of men making comments about how & where birth should be done because, you know… it’s exactly the kind of thing men know about and experience & can understand.
4. I’m TIRED of the old “but what if something happens” line because A) something can happy in a hospital, too B) things usually DO happen & go wrong in a hospital, due to unnecessary interventions & trying to outsmart the natural birth process C) midwives will typically not take on a client unless a hospital is within a certain distance D) midwives DO have medical training, have seen all kinds of birth, have experienced every problem imaginable, have the training to deliver breech & twins, which ob/gyns do not and they also bring medical supplies, including oxygen tanks.
And on and on. What really gets me is that all these people who have opinions about home birth & say how “risky” and “stupid” it is, don’t actually know much about it. They’ve never seen one, they don’t know how it works, the kind of training that midwives have, the fact that not everyone is a viable candidate, the “rules” of home birth (distance to hospital, backup ob/gyn, etc) They don’t know that midwives are trained to handle most emergencies so that they don’t turn into bigger emergencies and to recognize when an emergency arises that they need to do a hospital transfer, within a certain amount of time.
They don’t know that home births are commonplace in much of western Europe and yet, we don’t see screaming headlines about scores of women & babies dying because of it.
They don’t know that the WHO recommends a return to midwife model of care.
The men… oh god, the men. And even some women. They don’t get that giving birth is a hugely emotional & physical experience and YES, not only do we have the fucking right to embrace it, but it’s better for all when we do.
Some commenters laugh about how the doctors can’t FORCE you to do anything, but are clueless as to the number of times women get coerced into doing things or find their membranes being stripped or water being broken without being asked or worse, after saying, NO.
They don’t get what an incredible memory it is to look back and remember those first few hours – mother, father and baby all laying in bed together, bonding.
It’s what *I* wanted. And I got it. And I have the right to do it. Home birth is NOT for everyone. And if you don’t want one, I don’t judge you. But don’t you DARE judge me or call me stupid & risky for it. I could say the same.
But in having birth at a hospital, some things need to change. A) women need to be treated as individuals and the idea of birth as a hugely emotional process needs to be acknowledged and respected B) Doctors need to respect the natural pace of birth and not try to rush it, unless the mother is exhausted and WANTS intervention C) women need to not be hooked up to unnecessary wires & IVs D) women need to be able to move around and give birth in the position that THEY choose, not what’s convenient for the doctor E) women need REAL, informed consent about c-sections, epidurals and pitocin D) babies need to NOT be separated and manhandled immediately following birth.
I am not a home birth Nazi. (Hate that term.) If I talk to a woman who had a hospital birth, even with interventions, and she feels happy & satisfied with it, excellent. I take no issue with that. MY issue is that so many women express NOT being satisfied, or feel that something was missing, or look back and think, “I wish…” Or, some have traumatic experiences. In that case, I say – home birth is an option.
OH. And add to the first list – some women left comments that birth was a traumatic experience – too many interventions, not feeling heard, doctors acting against their wishes. People actually responded with, “You have a healthy baby. How is that a traumatic experience?”
We need to change the way people in this country look at birth. It’s a huge fucking deal, people. To say “who cares how your baby arrived, so long as it’s healthy” is just such bullshit. BULLSHIT. Yes, a healthy baby is of the utmost importance, but it is not the only thing that matters. That one brings up so much anger, again, that I can’t begin to articulate. But if you agree with that, there’s just nothing more I can say to you.
PS Someone just left the comment that “most women can’t find their vagina on a map.” Sigh. SIGH.
And with that… well. Just WELL. *shaking fist at the sky*