Four years ago this week, I gave birth to my second child. Just like my first child, she was born at home, attended by the midwives at BirthCare, based in Alexandria, Virginia. Those days were among the two best of my life. The support and love I felt was something I hope I never forget. I loved having one person with me from start to finish – and I also loved being able to do exactly what my body was telling me it needed to do. That is not how I envisioned a hospital birth would be for me.
I’m proud of those births – and they make me feel powerful. Those contractions? They were from me! That was my body’s power – and it was incredible. Both midwives who attended my births were strong and reassuring, and the love and energy surrounding me was incredible.
I took a lot of heat for planning home births from friends and family. The news media and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists piled on often, it seemed. On the eve of my daughter’s 4th birthday, I want to set the record straight. I am not crazy. I believe I had the best care available at my home births. Recent studies support me.
The news media doesn’t have to sell this story as if home birth and hospital birth are mutually exclusive – and pretend that women choose to birth at home because we’re vain. We could instead, support each other’s choices – and recognize that there’s a place for all of them. My birth experience doesn’t take away from your birth experience, and your birth experience doesn’t take away from my birth experience. We can have different experiences, and they can both be exactly what we wanted and wonderful.
We all want healthy babies and mamas. And sometimes, a hospital birth is the best place for that to happen, and sometimes a home birth is the best place for that to happen. I’m hoping before my daughter gives birth we can find some middle ground that allows both practices to thrive –and in turn we will all enjoy thriving mamas and babies.
I’ve witnessed birth up close – mine, and others. With power like that in the world, I know we can figure this out.