Homebirth mothers, how will you explain it?

cheerful kids with disabilities in rehabilitation center

When you’re pregnant, you’re expecting a baby. It’s easy to forget that you will end up with a child … a child who will eventually ask probing questions.

So, homebirth mothers, how you are going to explain the fact that you put your birth experience ahead of your baby’s health, brain function and even life?

How are you going to explain that first week of baby pictures with your son intubated, sedated, with tubes in every orifice and monitors all around?

How are you going to explain that because you wanted to be “comfortable” in your own home, your let your baby girl be uncomfortable during labor, struggling for oxygen, marinating in meconium, putting her future cognitive abilities at risk?

How are you going to explain that because you wanted to avoid an IV, you refused to give birth in a hospital, and your baby ended up with multiple IV’s, including the one they stuck in his scalp after they ran out of other veins?

It’s hard for me to imagine the pain and the guilt of explaining that because you had your heart set on a vaginal birth, your son can’t play catch with the other kids due to the limited function of his right arm as a result of the shoulder dystocia.

And the discussion with your daughter is likely to be agonizing when you acknowledge that her cerebral palsy will never improve, and she will never walk, let alone run, because you listened to your internet friends who encouraged you to have a VBAC at home, instead of your obstetrician who warned you that if your uterus ruptured at home, it was unlikely that your baby would survive unscathed.

You may be boasting now about how you “rocked” your homebirth, but will you still be proud when you see the pain that you have caused your child? Or will you ignore that, too, like you ignored his safety?

How are you going to explain to your son that his identical twin didn’t survive the homebirth because the second baby’s placenta detached right after the first baby was born?

What are you going to tell your daughter when the other kids in her class make fun of her because of her cognitive disability that almost certainly resulted from the fact that she was born blue and pulseless at home, and your homebirth “midwife” had never performed a resuscitation, had left her oxygen in the car, and was trying to perform CPR on a bed instead of a hard surface?

What are you going to tell your older children when the new baby they were eagerly anticipating dies in front of their eyes because you wanted them to be with you at the moment you triumphantly pushed a baby out of your vagina? Will you tell them some babies just die, or will you tell them the truth, that it was your desire to avoid the hospital that led to the baby’s death? You might be able to get the “some babies just die” story by them when they are small. What will you say when they are adults and they ask you again why they lost a sibling.

What will you tell the baby’s father if the baby dies at the homebirth he didn’t want you to have? Will you apologize to him for the loss of his child? Will you beg forgiveness for suffering he now has to endure?

How will you justify your choice when you see the devastation you have caused?

Or will you spend the rest of your life wondering if the pain, suffering, and even death could have been avoided if you’d put your baby’s health ahead of your own bragging rights?