February 13, 2011

The Voice of a Homebirth Mother.


Homebirth Video & Interview with Jessica, a Homebirth Mother.


Was this your first homebirth?
Yes, this was my first home birth. My first birth, Abigail, did not go as I had hoped. We labored at a freestanding birth center with midwives but ended up transferring to a hospital and using interventions I had wanted to avoid (epidural, pitocin, etc.). Once we got to the hospital, I felt like everything was being done TO me, and that I was powerless. While I am grateful that my daughter was born vaginally, and I have come to terms with what happened to lead us to the hospital, my feelings about Abigail’s birth are mostly negative. Wally’s birth at home changed me forever. There was such a feeling of triumph and strength and joy, and those feelings created a high that I can still tap in to. Every time I think about his birth, I smile. It was a quick labor, and Wally was born right before our midwives arrived. I kept saying, “I did it! I did it!”
Why did you choose to birth your baby at home?
A home birth just seemed to be a simpler choice for us. No worries about packing a bag, or leaving for the birth center at the right time. I wanted to be in the most comfortable environment possible, to have my daughter present, and to be tucked into our own family bed when it was all finished. And that’s exactly what I got!
Were you ever scared? What did you do to reduce your fears?
Early in my pregnancy with Wally, I had to come to terms with what happened at Abigail’s birth and let go of the fear that I would have to go to a hospital again. My midwife helped me to understand the circumstances that led to the transfer so that I wouldn’t keep doubting my body’s ability to give birth on its own. As the end of the pregnancy drew near, I began reading Hypnobirthing, and while I didn’t do the exercises, I paid a lot of attention to the negative effects of fear. I started reading affirmations every night before I went to sleep and focused on positive stories of natural birth. I also created a team of support very carefully. I wanted to make sure that anyone present at the birth had the right mindset and would encourage me. I wanted a circle of strong, natural birth mamas who I could look at and know that they had been through this before. I did reach a point in my labor when I whimpered to my doula, “I’m scared that I can’t do this much longer.” She suggested getting in the birth tub (which I had been wanting to do, but it wasn’t full yet), and less than five minutes later I gave birth to my son.
Were the people around you scared? What did you do to reduce their fears?
We dealt with a lot of fear from family once we announced our plans for a home birth. I think they assumed that because Abigail’s birth ended up in the hospital, that we would just start there this time. Family members would tell us stories of births gone bad and say that we were gambling with the life of our baby. Unfortunately, all the research we’d quote to them didn’t do anything to assuage their fears. Even after hearing about Wally’s wonderful, normal birth, I think they will feel the same fears the next time I give birth. I blame generations of fear-driven birth propaganda, and I don’t know how to fight it.
I want to let you know that you are, right now, today working to reduce fear around birth and homebirth. You are sharing your intimate moments of birthing your child for the world to witness. Thank you!
For women considering homebirth, what advice or words of wisdom can you offer?
Surround yourself with people who believe you can do this, both during pregnancy and during labor. Don’t give any mind space to the naysayers, the sad birth stories, the opinions of people who don’t support you. Oh, and I always hear people say that they’d like a home birth but that they don’t want to deal with the mess, but you should know that your midwives deal with all that! When I got out of bed after some rest, I came out to find my house cleaner than it had started out. Definitely don’t let “mess” stop you from having a home birth.


This video slideshow shows Jessica giving birth to her baby at home. Please note that Jessica has graciously opened her heart and voice to share with you in order to create understanding and awareness of homebirth. You may leave a comment below that honors Jessica and her family as well as the gift she has given to all of us to witness her beautiful experience.

Would You Like to Help Normalize Homebirth?

The Normalizing Homebirth Project Inc has been formed in order to meet the needs of women who are choosing to birth at home and/or would like to birth at home. Our mission is to support families with one-to-one mentoring, homebirth circles for social and emotional support as well as need-based financial assistance for families who need it. Join today! It is only together, uniting our voice and hearts, that positive change can be made so that all choices in childbirth are honored and supported.

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