Saturday, June 12, 2010

The homebirth situation in Australia

Photobucket
Me after my first homebirth with Willow

I haven't yet blogged about the woeful changes that have actually happened in Australia with regard to women choosing a homebirth with an Independent Midwife. Mainly because I'm really angry and depressed about it at the same time. Women are being forced into a collaborative agreement with an obstetrician who will have the final say on whether you are, in fact, allowed to birth at home with the midwife of their choice. Excuse me while I say GET FUCKED. Before you read on I would urge you to read this by Midwife Lisa Barrett as it gives a more realistic view of what collaboration will look like-not the romanticized press-release version that the government are sprouting to the media which make it look like women will be offered more choice. Yeah right.

How dare anyone think they have the right to do this. I find this insulting on so very many levels, but you know what gets me the most? The fact that they are trying to protect your baby. Like your decision to birth at home means you don't ever consider that anything could go wrong. That you would avoid medical assistance should you need it. What a crock. Most women who choose homebirth, both assisted and not, have put MORE thought into a variety of scenarios, both good and bad. Not to mention a homebirth Mama does her research! Most women who birth in the hospital (most peeps, not all) hand their power over completely to the hospital and OB and just wait to be told what to do next. A lot of women are so believing in the fact that the hospital will save you and your baby from any possible complication that they don't realize that babies die in hospital every day from the same complications that they die from at home, or from complications caused by too much intervention. Of course a baby dying at home is always investigated with the attempt to prove that had the said child been born in a hospital the terrible tragedy could have been avoided. And it will make the news and the job of the midwife will be on the line. When was the last time you read a story in the Herald Sun about a stillbirth at the RWH?

Women who choose to birth at home do not choose to do so at the expense of safety. Nor do they pretend any actual complication that requires intervention will magically go away by lighting a candle and chanting. But women who choose to birth at home also reject the idea that birth is an illness that must be constantly treated and monitored looking for problems. Homebirthing women understand that with intervention comes RISK and avoiding intervention unless necessary keeps birth SAFE. NOT the other way around.

The only child of mine who was ever in any danger at their birth was Tannah, who was born in the hospital. All of the unnecessary intervention put her life in danger. The scary thing is that the way the law stands now I would probably be denied a homebirth by the powers that be based on the fact that I was induced and she was born by vacuum extraction. Instead by MY OWN CHOICE I employed an Independent Midwife and had an easy, complication free (and orgasmic!) birth at home. How many women and babies be denied their birthright to a gentle and safe birth because of red tape?

69 comments:

Rachael said...

Shae it makes me want to weep. In many ways I'm relieved my birthing days have passed, but am simultaneously gutted at the 'choice' being offered to women, not to mention their poor babies.

bonnie said...

Come to NZ for your next birth, we still have a great midwifery system that allows mothers to choose where to birth (I chose home of course!) Although given our gvernment's fondness for following everything the FDA and American and Australian medical system do, it's something we will need to be vigilant about keeping.

shae said...

Bonnie- NZ have a great system! My birthing days are over but I might have to move my family there when my daughters are old enough to be considering babies. I'd like to think that the decision ultimately came down to them-not an obstetrician.
Rach-it's so sad huh? I can't wrap my head around it

Naomi said...

I've had two home waterbirths in the last 15 months. The fact that I would not be able to make that choice again (though no more babies here for us!) makes me so angry. It's my vagina, I get to choose where it is used, thanks very much!

I wonder what will happen when it is time for my grandchildren to be born? My heart aches at the thought of hospital being the only "choice" :(

Jesseca Amy Harris (nee Hoath) said...

She you give me goosebumps and inspire me to take more action even though I have so little time to do so. I just wish I could articulate as well as you. I also wish that all the Herald Sun readers could read your posts instead of the drivel they publish.

Here here.

bonnie said...

I think, and it may not be such a bad thing, that there will probably be a rise in unassisted home births. It's a growing movement!

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