The thing about making unusual choices is, people like to question those choices. Often in a tone best described as mildly accusatory. You know what I’m talking about. You’re doing what? Why would you do that?
So I’m sort of thrilled that home birth is more mainstream now than it was ten years ago, when we were expecting Abigail.
Back then, I fielded all kinds of interesting comments on the topic. More than once, other women told me I was sure to run to the hospital once I went into labor. “You’ll change your mind, you’ll see,” they would say. “Or else we won’t need you to tell us when your baby’s born, we’ll have heard you screaming from here!”
Um. Okay then.
That didn’t happen, obviously. The changing my mind thing, or the screaming thing. And now, having given birth at home once or twice (or four times), I can’t imagine choosing anything else under normal circumstances.
If you were to ask, I would tell you all the things I love about home birth, and about all our different births. I’d tell you how my opting for home over hospital isn’t about avoiding something so much as it’s about preferring something else. I’d tell you about how my experience is normal. Not universal, but normal. Not a fluke. Not just a lucky break. I would talk and talk and talk and talk, if you asked. (If you didn’t ask, I’d mostly leave you alone.) But I don’t really think of myself as a home birth zealot.
Here’s the deal. It’s fine with me if you don’t want to have a home birth. My goal isn’t to convince other people to do what I do. In fact, I think the issue of where and how to give birth is one of reproductive freedom, and thus I’m not interested in telling anyone else what to do.
But what I am in favor is this: I am in favor of all pregnant and birthing women being treated ethically, in any setting. I am in favor of women having access to accurate and complete information. I am in favor of women having the opportunity to use that information to make choices about their care. I am in favor of mothers being valued and respected as autonomous individuals, capable of making good decisions about their bodies and their babies. I am opposed to fear tactics, and to coercion, in any setting, with any care provider.
That all seems pretty reasonable to me. Not even terribly unusual. At least I hope not.