The central role of ignorance is one of the many ironies of the homebirth movement. I’m not talking about the lack of basic knowledge of science, statistics and obstetrics, although that it is fundamental to homebirth advocacy. I’m talking about the valorization of those who refuse to obtain information about the current pregnancy.
This is a particularly notable phenomenon in unassisted childbirth (UC) where the goal seems to be to remain as ignorant as possible about every aspect of a specific pregnancy.
Years ago I wrote about a thread on Mothering.com in which UC advocates were boasting how little they knew about their pregnancies:
I’m such a uc’er.. I didn’t go to the docs for a pp hemorhage
I’m such a uc’er.. I didn’t hear the heartbeat until I was 37 weeks …
I’m such a uc’er.. I (keep it going mamas..)
I’m such a ucer…I check my own cervix.
I’m such a ucer…I had to guess at my due date.
Rixa Freeze’s recent boast that she does not know her due date is in keeping with this valorization of ignorance.
Homebirth advocates routinely counsel each other to decline various screening tests since it is “better not to know” if they have gestational diabetes or are colonized with group B strep.
Perhaps homebirth and UC advocates can explain this embrace of ignorance. I have three questions for them:
If knowledge is power, how can deliberately refusing information be empowering?
If preventing a complication is better than treating it, how can refusing screening tests make any sense at all?
What is the value of being “educated” about pregnancy in general, but totally uneducated about the status of the actual pregnancy?
I look forward to the answers!