Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What happened to choice?

I swore to myself that I wasn't going to weigh into this debate. The arguement for and against homebirth has been raging everywhere. It's all over the internet, tv and radio. Here are a few links to a couple of current articles out there.

Mamamia blog - homebirth in the news
ABC News - mothers defend right to home birth
The Daily Telegraph - four dead in home births
There is people with strong opinions on both sides , people are throwing facts and statistics left right and centre. You would have to be a brain fried zombie if you didn't believe that these facts are been construed to suit each others agendas. Seriously this is the media, it happens everyday, especially with such an emotive topic, sensationalised journalism is going to be rife.

Additionally when I read these news stories there appears to be a clumping of free birth and home birth in the same bracket. Yes they both happen in the home environment, but there is one big glaring difference, the later as a qualified, independent midwife present, who has the medical knowledge and experties to deliver babies, and usually there is a backup midwife who will be there to check the baby when it is delivered. Free birth is done in most cases on your own with no medical support, see one massive big glaring difference.

Now my opinion on this is simply pro-choice, I believe a woman has the right to birth her baby any way she damn well feels. Heck if she wants to dance the cha cha whilst pushing out her baby on top of Uluru, then by all means go for it. That birth wouldn't be for me but that's the point, just because something isn't for you, doesn't make it wrong. It is her birth and she shouldn't have to justify her reasons for choosing to birth one way or another, to anyone.

I don't consider myself an extreme leftie, more leaning as far on the fence as I can go, so I guess I would consider myself moderately mainstream. My girls are both breast fed, extended breast fed, tandem even. Both girls have worn cloth nappies and we've co-slept with both girls. I haven't birthed at home, although I would be seriously considering it if and when baby number 3 comes along. Both girls were born in hospital, a private one at that and I had one via c-section. I am not disenchanted by my birth experience, I am peace with how my girls entered the world but understand that not everyone feels this way. I consider myself strangely normal, whateer that is but given I'm considering homebirth does that make me a zealot, a fanatic, a hippie?

I really think the core issue, the unspoken issue, comes down to money, shock horror. With home birth becoming more main stream, an actual plausible option, no longer been made to feel like a hippie or an out cast for choosing such a birth, more and more women would leave the hospital system, choosing the comfort of their own home to give birth, taking their money and possibly funding with them. This may sound like a far fetched possibility to some but I know of at least 6 people in the past 12 months that have had successful homebirths and I know of 1 that is considering to free birth. If every one knows that many people then that is alot of money going elsewhere and out of the hospital and medicos coffers.

So to combat this loss of money, what does the medical assosication do, they deflame homebirth in the media, use scare tatics, pull the dead baby card, bring the masses back into the system anyway thet possibly can. Why do you think the coverage has been so one-sided, why else are they interviewing known anti-homebirth doctors and not independent midwives, who practice this care everyday and might actually have some knowledge on the subject.

It really does beggar belief, home birth is safe, contrary to the trash that is circulating at the moment, why does there need to be a debate at all, why can't people just accept that we are all entitled to make our own choices about our own bodies and how we see fit do deliver our babies, without the need to explain ourselves to others. If it is ok for you to have a c-section without anyone batting an eyelid, which is major surgery which could result in death, then why is it different for someone choosing homebirth, answer me that?


  1. Kat, I am pretty appalled by some of the narrow minded opinions out there too. I just checked out Mammamia's blog and she isn't helping the cause at all. I envy women that have homebirthed- it would be an absolute dream for me but seeing we aren't having more kids, I can dream away!

  2. Here here Kat, I agree with you 100%.

  3. And all of that is another reason I choose to have my children in the UK where homebirth is legitimate, and a government funded community midwife will attend you at home as part of standard antenatal care if that is what you have chosen.

    Birth location is just another question asked during your checking in appointment!