July 22, 2011

The Voice of a Homebirth Mother.


Homebirth Video & Interview with Shawna, a Homebirth Mother.


1) Was this your first homebirth?

YES! This was my first home birth, my third birth, and by far my most transformational. I had my first son as a single teen mother. That birth was highly medicated and very traumatic. I struggled with, and eventually gave up breastfeeding due to lack of education and support and subsequently spent years after his birth in fear, trying to figure out how I could “control” the pain of birth next time. Eight years later, my husband and I had our second son. A hospital birth, I felt the best way to have the birth go the way I wanted was to completely remove all pain and I asked for and received epidural anesthesia not because I needed it but because I ‘planned’ it. For months after I couldn’t place why I felt as though his birth wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it should have been.

2) Why did you choose to birth your baby at home?

I remember clearly when I decided I wanted a home birth and it wasn’t very long after conception. I was taking an English course at the college and found out I was about 6 weeks pregnant. My prof and I bonded over a paper I wrote about breastfeeding and she shared her homebirth (in water) experiences with me. As a child I was very aquatic, and was convinced I was a mermaid for many years. It made sense to give birth in the water. After all I had learned and as far as Id come, I needed to birth the way I was intended to…it was like an epiphany.

Research validated my decision and the more I read, the more I was convinced that staying away from the hospital was the best way to avoid unnecessary intervention, diseases and to have a pool (something our hospital has yet to providing laboring mothers) to deliver my baby in.

My daughter’s birth was nearly pain free. No lie. I was so relaxed, and birthed so deeply from within, it wasn’t until I started grunting during my contractions that I realized is was nearly fully dilated. In fact the only real pain I felt was when I had my anterior cervical lip held back. Youch!!

3) Were you ever scared? What did you do to reduce your fears?

I was scared to tell some people. Haha. I suppose the week I was due I got one little twinge of doubt; in myself mostly. I felt like I was so vehement about birthing my way during my pregnancy that I forgot to account for all of the things that can go “wrong.” I was very unprepared for transfer, but I didn’t share that with many people. By the time I was “overdue” by a week or so, I definitely had come to a complete peace about everything. Reading is always a great way to reduce any anxiety I have as well. I didn’t have any friends that had birthed at home, so I definitely felt like it was a hot topic. It never felt like that for me, maybe because I had known early on that this baby would be born safely at home.

4) Were the people around you scared? What did you do to reduce their fears?

Well, one person, but she was quickly convinced! I was very lucky to have the support of my entire family and my husband’s entire family. It was their love surrounding us that day and it really made all the difference. My mother is, and always will be, the best Doula ever. Aside from a few “playground” mothers that had nothing better to do than say things like “ wow you’re SOOO Brave” or “ wow that’s a risk I would never be able to take” I was totally surrounded with people who truly believed that I could do it. I’m very lucky.

5) For women considering homebirth, what advice or words of wisdom can you offer?

Haha a list!

  • ~ If it feels right in your gut, DO IT.
  • ~ Don’t allow yourself to be told you ‘can’ or ‘cant’ do this or that by anybody without irrefutable scientific evidence.
  • ~ ALWAYS question the things you are told about your baby and your body.
  • ~ Read. Read. Research. Repeat. About Pregnancy, Birth AND Parenting. Knowledge is power and you can only “DO” what you know to be true. The more you learn about yourself and your baby the better.
  • ~ Try not to tire yourself trying to validate your decision to birth at home. If somebody you really love is having a hard time accepting it, offer them a book like “Ina May Gaskins guide to Childbirth” and let it do the convincing.
  • ~ FILM your birth, from multiple angles or take photographs. A camera on a tripod can film without needing anyone. You can seek out professional birth photographers too, and once its happened, the footage of your birth becomes priceless.
  • ~ Hire a Doula. If you cant afford one, consider having a “Doula pool” at your shower instead of gifts or finding one still in the midst of certification. Even if you have an amazing birth partner, a Doula will make sure all of the details are taken care of and you both can birth in peace, without interruption. If you DO end up needing her, her presence will be invaluable. In fact, just having a Doula present statistically lowers the incidence of intervention, augmentation and caesarian section.
  • ~ Above ALL: Trust Birth and Trust your BODY.


This video shows Shawna giving birth to her baby at home. Please note that Shawna 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 Shawna 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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