“Why Homebirth Is Necessary,” is an article by Ina May Gaskin, legendary and some might say revolutionary midwife, mother advocate, and author of Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth as well as Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding. This article offers some wonderfully strong and simple arguments for the good for all women that has come out of some women’s access to and choice to birth at home. Here’s her conclusion, which echoes my own hopes for women:
Of course, this is not to say that women should be required to have home births. However, the option to give birth in the place of choice should be open to women who desire it, as long as their physical condition permits it as a safe choice. The body of knowledge available to all maternity caregivers depends upon a full range of choices being available to childbearing women.
She alludes to some of the history of the medical model of birth, which I myself found to be illuminating. Modern medical training also explains the path birth has taken. Did you know that most trained OBGYNs have never seen a natural childbirth? Have never taken a nutrition course? Have nonetheless spent hours and hours memorizing the drugs and dosages that are given for hundreds of common cases?
In this article, she points out that as medical research costs loads of money, the pharmaceutical and technological avenues of care are the most pervasive. Why? Because that is who drives the current medical industry in the United States. Fortunately, efforts are being taken to gather research from homebirth families and midwives. [Had any kind of birth? Participate in The Birth Survey.] Important, modern midwifery data is coming in, with the same continued competing or higher results of hospital births.
Slowly, more women are knowing women who have had homebirth. The choice is coming around again, slowly. People know it’s cheaper, that they can fight insurance for reimbursement with persistence and precedence, that it comes with the perks of home and that HOMEBIRTH IS SAFE. Someone even shared a blog post with me called “10 Homebirth Facts No One Is Telling You.“
Even so, some women find themselves wanting to choose a homebirth only to find that their partners are unwilling or unable to help them make that choice. After wondering where the voices of homebirth-supportive dads are, I saw none other than Jeremy Dyen (of Stay at Home Papa and Fear Free Birth) had written a great guest post on Bring Birth Home called “Is Your Birth Partner Supportive?” BBH’s husband also wrote a his experience and wisdom in a post.
Some families are fully supportive of homebirth, though, to the point where they are willing to take photos and video and share these visions with the world. The Feminist Breeder ended up having a live blog event. Admittedly, this sounds strange to the average bear, but in truth it could help provide information and inspiration to women and men everywhere. This does help more people see actual natural childbirth at home, in all its varied and vulnerable glory.
I’m glad that things like the internet are helping women share their stories, their positive stories of homebirth like Mommabare‘s “Why We Did It in the Kitchen.” I agree with Ina May. If women are free to choose homebirth, only good can come to all women from the choice. I hope we can all find ways to support homebirth. If not for ourselves, then for others. Ultimately, the lives and wellbeing of mothers and babies and families in the United States depend on that support.