Yes, I’m judging you for choosing homebirth, but not for the reasons you think

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Another day, another homebirth narcissist!

Johanna Parker at Mommyish treats us to yet another boring, self-absorbed “Look at ME! Look at ME! grab for attention” that homebirth advocates love so dearly. The title is I Know You’re Judging Me For Having A Home Birth. Parker is both right and wrong. She’s right that I’m judging her, but she’s wrong about the reasons why.

Parker writes:

When my husband and I made the decision to have a planned home birth, I knew we would be met with some opinions and concerns, both from our loved ones and from any random stranger within an earshot of us talking about it. So after doing a ton of homework and arming myself with every fact and statistic I could find on the subject, I felt ready to take on the haters. I did a ton of research on midwives and bookmarked several websites on my phone that I would always have at the ready in case I needed some backup explaining why someone would choose this method of delivery. The problem is, many people just don’t know much about home births, nor do they want to. They’re happy picturing you burning sage while a woman in Birkenstocks chants over you and your naked family floating together in a giant inflatable tub in your living room (which, by the way, is totally cool if that’s your thing). One major thing I’ve realized is that most people who were upset with or concerned about our decision didn’t even know what a midwife was. Trying to argue the virtues of a home birth with them is like trying to talk politics with your parents – you just can’t.

Excuse me as I pick myself up off the floor for laughing so hard at the napalm grade stupidity and hubris that leads women like Parker to risk killing their own babies for bragging rights. How ignorant and how arrogant is Parker? Let me count the ways:

1. Parker is so ignorant that she actually thinks that she has done “research” by reading a bunch of websites. Research involves reading scientific papers and textbooks, not websites for laypeople.

2. Parker fails to understand that homebirth is a business and that the websites that promote it make their money by selling it. These websites are just extended advertisements. “Researching” the relative merits of homebirth and hospital birth using homebirth websites is the equivalent of researching the relative merits of Ford cars and GM cars by using the Ford website. Only a fool would think she had done research by reading the material from one side.

3. Parker is a walking, talking embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect. According to Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias manifesting in unskilled individuals suffering from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their own ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude…

Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

  • fail to recognize their own lack of skill;
  • fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
  • fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy …

4. In her overweening confidence in her own “research” abilities, Parker appears to think that she has armed herself with every fact and statistic she could fine. Really? She seems to have missed quite a few crucial statistics:

  • According to MANA’s (Midwives Alliance of North America) own data, homebirth increases the risk of death by 450%.
  • According to Judith Rooks, CNM MPH’s comprehensive analysis of Oregon’s homebirth data, PLANNED homebirth with a LICENSED homebirth midwife increases the risk of death by 800%.
  • In the Netherlands, the country with the higest rate of homebirth, midwives caring for low risk patients have a HIGHER perinatal mortality rate than obstetricians caring for high risk patients.
  • The risk of a 10 minute Apgar score of zero (stillbirth) is 1000% (yes, 3 zeros) higher at homebirth.

5. Parker believes that others do not know the truth about midwives, but it is likely Parker herself who is misinformed. American homebirth midwives are not really midwives. They are simply lay people who couldn’t be bothered getting real midwifery training and proclaimed themselves “midwives” anyway. The credential of American homebirth midwives is not recognized or accepted by any other country in the industrialized world. Women who hire a homebirth midwife are simply paying a lay birth junkie to amuse herself by ogling someone else’s labor. In the event of an emergency, American homebirth midwives are useless. That’s why the death rate at homebirth is so much higher than comparable risk hospital birth.

The arrogance of people like Parker never ceases to amaze me. Obstetricians, pediatrician, and neonatologists are all on record as noting that homebirth is NOT as safe as hospital birth, but Parker, with no medical education of any kind thinks she knows better and is willing to risk killing her own baby to prove it.

You’re right, Ms. Parker, I’m judging you. I’m judging you as a fool who, in the words of Wikipedia, is suffering from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating your own ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to your metacognitive inability to recognize your own ineptitude.

As Dame Edith Sitwell said:

I am patient with stupidity, but not those who are proud of it.