Sure my baby died, but look at the benefits to me

One of the most reprehensible aspects of homebirth is the mother’s willingness to risk her baby’s life for a chance to star in her own little piece of performance art. Everyone else, medical personnel, her partner, even the baby are nothing more than bit players at “her” birth. Some women are such narcissists (like Gina Crossly-Corcoran, The Feminist Breeder) that they stage a literal performance by tweeting or live-blogging the birth.

If the baby actually dies, though, that tends to take the mother’s focus off herself, her feelings and her performance. Not always, apparently.

Alicia Crockett’s son Joseph died in the aftermath of a homebirth. Writing on Mothering.com, Alicia explains:

One month ago I gave birth at home to a beautiful 9lb 9oz baby boy named Joseph Phoenix, but he decided that he did not need to stay long in this world and he died the next day…

He decided? Not exactly.

According to a memorial on Flicker:

Joseph Phoenix Crockett was born at 10:05 AM on February 13, 2011. He was not breathing when he was born because his arm had pinched off his umbilical cord as he descended. The hospital re-started his heart but he was already gone, as later tests showed no brain activity…

He did not “decide” to die. He died because of profound hypoxia during labor that went unnoticed and untreated.

Writing on a goofy new age spirituality website Alicia offers this stunning rationalization:

… Five weeks ago, I gave birth to a baby boy, full term who died the next day. There was no sign that anything was wrong during pregnancy or labor…

Here is what I found in my experience:

My son Joseph Phoenix came with a purpose and it was a big and selfless one. He didn’t need to stay long because his sheer existence in my body for nine months and his apperance into our lives fulfilled his purpose and he left…

JP also challenged all my notions about not believing in myself, or being scared to do something in life. For what is the worst thing that could happen to someone? Some would say losing a child, but I survived even that and here I am stronger and more loving than ever. So what is to stop me now? Only myself. I owe him my life in some respects, for my stillborn baby saved me…

So let’s get this straight. Her baby died an entirely preventable death, but that’s okay because he fulfilled his purpose? And what was his “purpose”? Apparently to facilitate HER spiritual growth. That is nothing short of grotesque.

Hundreds of years ago, a great philosopher named Immanuel Kant, made a revolutionary pronouncement, “Always treat people as ends in themselves, never as means to an end.” Kant insisted that each individual has intrinsic moral worth that must never be sacrificed regardless of how many others might benefit from his death or even a violation of his rights.

Alicia Crockett chose putting her birth “experience” ahead of her baby’s health. Instead of taking responsibility for her choice that destroyed her baby’s brain and then killed him, she has absolved herself of culpability by declaring that her baby’s entire existence had no other purpose than to facilitate her personal growth. In other words, her own baby was nothing more than a means to accomplishing one of her ends.

Alicia Crockett made a selfish and immature decision and now that disaster has occurred, she has offered a grotesquely selfish and immature rationalization for the decision that killed her baby.

Homebirth advocates like to characterize homebirth as a “loving” choice. Reading the stories of people like Janet Fraser, Rixa Freeze and now Alicia Crockett, it seems clear that homebirth is often a “self-loving” choice, and the baby is just a bit player in the mother’s grandiose dreams of her own fulfillment.

  • Dee

    I had my son at a hospital with constant fetal monitoring and he still passed away from complications due to lack of oxygen, meconium aspiration, and a brutal forcep deliverg four days after he was born. I thought I made the right decision to go to a hospital with a reputable doctor and be somewhere that could handle any problems and prevent things like this from happening and they didn’t. In fact they delayed treatment and did not perform an emergency c section when they should have so it doesn’t matter where you have your baby because doctors treat you like just another number anyway.

    • Stacy21629

      Dee, I am terribly sorry about your son’s death. I cannot imagine the grief.

      You may be right – an earlier C-section could have saved your son’s life. Unfortunately, the NCB belief that C-sections are to be avoided if at all possible (the dreaded “unneccaesarian”) has bled into the hospital system as well and doctors and CNMs may be practicing under the false notion that a vaginal birth is always more desirable. This can lead them to delay very necessary and life-saving treatment.

      Ultimately we have to look, not just at the individual numbers – such as your experience and the tragic death of your son – but the overall numbers. Yes, babies die in the hospital, but far more babies, proportionally, die at home birth with unqualified attendants. It is not a matter of absolute numbers (1 vs 10) but relative numbers (1% vs 10%) that matters.

      My deepest and heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your son.