Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homebirth should be illegal.

Something tragic happened during a homebirth in Melbourne very recently. It took a week or so for the trash tabloids media to get hold of it, but they have now and all I can think is how much it hurts my heart that a bereaved husband will be exposed to such nastiness during such a terrible time.

It's bad enough that the media vultures have leapt on the event as 'proof' that homebirth is a dreadful thing, but I made the mistake of reading the comments on an online article (which I am not inclined to link to, sorry) and was blown away by the judgement there. Hence the title of this post... that was the gist of a number of the comments and it made me want to stab my laptop.

I GET that some women have very frightening experiences during birth and require medical attention. Those women should probably not homebirth, nor I suspect would they want to in most cases.

I GET that many women love their care providers and feel they have had the best care available in the hospital system. This is excellent!

I also GET that some women experience trauma in the hospital birthing suite so severe that the idea of returning is horrific to them. If they are able why should homebirth not be an option for them?

On top of that I GET that some women choose homebirth for reasons that have nothing to do with any of the above, as I did.

I will happily declare my bias. Our babygirl was born at home with the support of my husband and two midwives through a hospital run system. It was an amazing experience and I am grateful for it.

If I were to say epidurals should be outlawed because of the possible impact on the neonate... If I were to say elective ceasareans should be outlawed because they cost the taxpayer too much in the public system... If I were to pass that kind of judgement on any woman I would be cut right down to size and rightly so. So WHO gives women the right to judge the homebirther?

If you don't like the idea, don't have one.

If you believe specialist medical attention throughout labour and birth is necessary, don't have one.

But for goodness sake cut the crap and respect that women have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE. So many bleat on about feminism and women's rights and in the next breath pass judgement on how a woman dresses, presents herself or even chooses to birth.


Tragedies happen. And guess what, they happen in hospitals too. But that doesn't make for sensational sound bites I guess.

And before anyone launches in with a 'oh I would have DIED if I wasn't in the hospital!' know this: I am sorry that your experience was traumatic but it was just that... YOUR experience. Of all the homebirthers I know none of them made the choice lightly or without a lot of knowledge of their own bodies and the birthing process. Your experience is not mine nor is mine yours.

Make decisions that are right for you, and respect that others will choose differently. If you are feeling particularly brave you might even like to try supporting people in their choices even though they differ to yours.

My heart is broken for two little girls who will grow up without their mother. I have wept for a man who has lost his partner during what should have been a time of such happiness. But I do not think for one moment that blaming ANYONE in this situation is appropriate, nor does it change anything. As would be the case had the birth occurred anywhere else.

Have a heart.