I have largely stayed out of this debate. Why? Because what other women do with their bodies is none of my business. I am TOTALLY against the recommendations set in the recent maternity review let me add, because I believe that every family has the right to make their own choice as to where they want to birth their babies.
I know many of you scoff at the word "choice" and "information" because of the monopoly the hospitals have on birth and it's info. I'm not talking about that sort of info. Informed choice is about getting REAL information-not just taking what your OB says as gospel-or the hospital, or your GP. But also not just assuming that you will have a traumatic experience because you go to hospital. People can and do have positive hospital experiences-it is not simply "winning the lottery" as one friend was told. The difference is that these women are informed of different choices, rather that going along with policy and have lots of information and usually a support person.
Why am I in defense of hospital? I'm not. I'm in defense of women who choose to birth there. Informed, empowered women who know their rights and choices-let's face it, a powerful woman is she who bucks a system to get what she needs from it.
On the flip side if a women gathers ALL the info and chooses to have a freebirth or a homebirth it should be her right to do so. Not because of fear or one sided information that hospitals are dangerous and the only way to have a positive experience is at home. And the camp is getting more and more divided there. With or without a midwife? Do you have scans? Use a doppler? Have a doula? Did you pee on a stick or is that too much intervention? When did it become a bloody turf war between home and free birth? Informed consent for women to choose their level of care at home should give everyone the warm fuzzies, not be dividing the homebirthing masses.
So why did I choose to have a homebirth? I had a bad hospital experience-in fact a traumatic one. I went in without doing my homework and expected that it would all be roses. I gave my power away to the hospital system and came out the other end feeling cheated and abused. And yes, the hospital did a very shit job of my care and the care of my baby but I was a part of the decision making process and I really didn't know any better. I did more homework on where we were going to stay on our honeymoon than how I was going to achieve the best birth for me and my child. It is very empowering to take some responsibility for how things went (if there is responsibility to take) because that meant the next time I was in control. I gathered LOTS of information and explored all my choices. I decided that homebirth was the best choice for me, my baby and my family. I chose a midwife. I chose a couple of scans and I did, indeed, pee on a stick.
I had an amazing, ecstatic, beautiful and SAFE birth at home. I was empowered. But was it the fact that I had the information, and confidence in my choice and body or was it purely because I birthed at home? I just birthed my 3rd baby, again at home, and while the birth was different I still came away feeling empowered. I made some different choices pregnancy wise-but again I was responsible for gathering the information and I made my own choice as to what I would do.
So for me this debate isn't about who's birth is better. Elective C-section, private or public hospital, Ob or GP, birth centre, homebirth or freebirth. If you, as a woman with CHOICES do some investigation, real information gathering-not just taking the words of an OB or the stories on a website-and decide that you have made a choice where you feel you will get the best outcome for you, your baby and your family, where you feel safe and cared for, where you feel empowered and in control-then that is the decision for you and your baby.
So what I choose and what I think is right or wrong birth wise is moot. How you birth your baby is not my decision-nor is it any of my business. But be sure you have all the information and are confident in your decision-and willing to accept help where needed.
We all need to make sure a woman's right to CHOOSE is not taken away, and that she has access to good unbiased information.
Crucify me if you must