Women who run homebirth support groups face a terrible dilemma

Eraser changing the word Unnoticed for Noticed

You really have to feel sorry for the women who run Facebook groups that support homebirth and other risky birth choices.

They face a terrible dilemma. If the group is private, it can’t proselytize to others that homebirth is wonderful and that they are warrior mamas. On the other hand, if the group is public, then everyone will see the endless stream of homebirth deaths and that won’t be good publicity.

Meg Heket and co-administrators face that problem with their private Facebook group. These women are well aware that homebirth kills babies who didn’t have to die. Heket herself lost a baby at homebirth, and Heket’s sister Janet “dead baby not as traumatic as birth rape” Fraser was personally excoriated by the coroner for her role in her baby’s death.

Supposedly, groups like Heket’s are private so that only words of support will be heard. But the urge to preen and proselytize is so strong that administrators find it hard to resist allowing in new recruits. After all, it’s very hard to make new converts when you only preach to the choir.

Of course if you let in new recruits who aren’t already committed to the group’s ideology that dead babies are just collateral damage, there will be some who will share the group’s private posts.

Ostensibly that shouldn’t be a problem. If homebirth and home VBAC and unassisted birth are truly safe, the group should be a endless stream of happy outcomes, with women defying their doctors and boasting about their births. But apparently it is a problem since whenever an outsider is discovered, the group institutes mass bans and tries to preserve privacy by becoming more exclusive.

The fact that administrators wrestle with dilemmas like these demonstrates that even true believers know that their choices kill their babies and may very well kill other women’s babies in the future.

The fact that they feel the deaths are something that must be hidden is consciousness of guilt. If they truly believed that these deaths “would have happened anyway,” there would be no reason to hide them.

Which raises the question: if these women know that homebirth kills babies, are they morally culpable when they encourage another mother to risk her baby’s life on the altar of vaginal birth?