Natural childbirth stupid: I have no idea of my due date

After failing to kill her last child at an unassisted homebirth, Rixa Freeze has already begun boasting about taking risks with the life of her next child.

You remember Rixa. She’s a devotee of unassisted childbirth stuntbirth, the ultimate expression of the homebirth philosophy that the greater the risk you take with your baby’s life, the greater the “birth warrior” you are. Rixa, the purveyor of natural childbirth lies. Rixa, the woman who and helpfully posted the birth of Inga on YouTube to inadvertently illustrate exactly how babies die at homebirth.

The video includes the immediate aftermath of the birth when baby Inga became profoundly blue and lost all muscle tone due to lack of oxygen. Ultimately Rixa was forced to provide mouth to mouth resuscitation and fortunately, the baby responded. When I first watched it, I was so angry I was shaking, but then I realized that Rixa has done obstetricians a wonderful favor. She has inadvertently produced the ideal teaching video for demonstrating how and why babies die in increased numbers at homebirth.

Unassisted homebirth functions as a sort of pagan worship offering a human sacrifice to the goddess “Birth.”

“Birth,” like any goddess demands worship. Her power must be acknowledged and her essential goodness must be constantly praised through birth “affirmations.” “Birth” also demands constant evidence of belief. What could possibly be more demonstrative of true faith than the willingness to sacrifice your newborn child? …

You can demonstrate your trust in “Birth” by having a homebirth in a low risk situation, where an unpredictable emergency can kill or maim your child. But women who really trust “Birth” are those who choose homebirth when they are at high risk of killing their babies. That’s why the greatest praise and awe is reserved for women who insist on homebirth with twins, a breech baby or a previous C-section. The bigger the risk, the greater the faith, the higher the praise.

Of course:

It turns out that sacrificing your baby on the altar of “Birth” isn’t the highest form of devotion. That honor is reserved for deliberately placing your next child on the same altar and trusting that the goddess who killed your last baby won’t kill this one, too.

Which brings us to this pregnancy. Shortly after announcing the pregnancy, the boasting begins:

This pregnancy is funny–I really don’t know when to expect this baby! I’m either 16 weeks along or 12 weeks along. After my very early miscarriage, I thought I had another cycle…but it was really light and really short. Nothing like I’ve ever had before. I strongly suspect it wasn’t a cycle at all, but just some breakthrough spotting that happened to come right when I would have had a period…

But…I can only say I’m about 95% sure. There is still the possibility of my baby coming in late April rather than late March! This uncertainty doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I like not really knowing and not really caring.

It would be easy enough to find out whether she is 12 weeks or 16 weeks along. She could have an ultrasound or even just a simple pelvic exam. But where’s the fun in that? Not knowing offers so many more opportunities to risk the baby’s life and isn’t that what it’s really about: risking the death of your child for bragging rights for yourself?

Think of the possibilities! She could have premature labor and not know it. Nothing increases your birth warrior cred like nearly killing your premature baby by giving birth at home. Or she could settle for the more mundane, but still high risk homebirth of a postdates baby. The very best part of these delicious possibilities? She won’t even know which high risk situation she has chosen until the baby appears!

Rixa’s choice is fundamentally unethical, but then unassisted childbirth is fundamentally unethical. It is a dangerous stunt whose only purpose is bragging rights for the mother. By definition, it involves deliberately risking the baby’s life and the greater the risk, the greater the glory.

I am profoundly grateful that Rixa didn’t kill her last baby and I hope that she won’t kill this one. But if so, it won’t be for lack of trying … and that is incredibly selfish, deeply unethical, and, above all else, appallingly stupid.