The “sickeningly sweet poison” of homebirth advocacy continues to flow

Tara Dukaczewicz generously gave permission to reprint her Facebook comment as a guest post:

Rewind to this time a year and half ago, my baby was 5 months old and I was firmly entrenched in the online natural childbirth community.

My favorite was Birth without Fear. I was researching home birth midwifery for my next baby, becoming “informed” I learned all about how OBs were really just surgeons and interventions were for their own convenience. I learned how prenatal testing was optional and every woman had an innate ability to give birth and that birth was safe. In my head I was doubtful, because my pregnancy was complicated and difficult,and my baby had issues after his birth.

I learned how mothers who had interventions should be mournful and were to be pitied. Their inherent “woman-ness” was stripped from them and they and their babies had become part of the assembly line of hospital birth. How c/sections weren’t births, they were extractions. I began to feel a deep uneasiness as serious pregnancy complications were brushed off as pretend and women were urged to homebirth even with placenta previa and pre-eclampsia. It began to feel wrong to me that these self-styled educators were dispensing medical advice. And I began to raise some cautious objections.

I was surprised and sickened at how these women turned on me, condescension, outright spite, and name calling. Then I noticed it happening everywhere. I remember one thread on the Unnecessarian, a woman verbally flayed for having a c/s. They picked at her like vultures, reducing her to a grovelling mess. If she wasn’t traumatized by her c/s she certainly was after this treatment.

I witnessed the most revolting treatment of a woman who lost her baby to a heart defect, and a mother who lost her baby to the hands of incompetent midwives told she had to own her outcome. She was blasted for posting pictures of her beautiful stillborn son. That face haunts me, a head of dark hair, so much like my own son. I cried for days, holding my boy tightly until he squirmed. It killed me to think how this mama would never hold her baby again.

But still the sickeningly sweet poison continues to flow; mothers are urged by these friendly cult leaders to do things that no one should ever do. But people like me and my friends are silenced and shunned. Their followers talk about how we must hate life and feel sorry for our children because we can’t see the perfection in birth and can’t dismiss the dangers that are so obvious to us. Blogs like Mama birth, The Mom:Informed, Made to birth, and Birth without Fear shame and cajole women into blindly following them like lemmings over the cliff. They appear to be so sweet and positive and out to educate women, but I believe they only want a cult following. And they do not care who pays the price.

They swarm around midwives like flies on carrion, making support pages and donating money for their legal fee and ostracizing the mothers of the babies they have allowed to die. I have been at the center of some ugly business in the last few days that has me questioning whether or not this is really worth it. Maybe I want to give up on the women who have been wooed into the pit. They certainly hate me for my troubles, let them risk their lives and their babies lives.

But at the center of this are the few who are really listening, and don’t know that it’s okay to have doubts about birth. They stay on the fringes, afraid to speak up. And they are coming, slowly, to the surface. I just want to tell you that we are here, and we welcome you, no matter how you birth and no matter how you choose to parent. You don’t have to pass a test or follow a set of criteria to find acceptance.

And to the rest of you, I truly hope you never find out how right we are.

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