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?

  • Lisa

    The “midwife” the Duggar girls “trained” under lost her license. Didn’t know where to post this.

    • Ash

      Giron? I thought she moved her practice to a different state. Her facbeook sayhs she did deliveries this month. She practices in Arkansas and OK now (OK has no regulations for lay midwives)

      UPdate: her Texas lay midwife credential is voided. That’s why she’s not practicing in TX any more. A Texas baby was born alive in her care and was harmed during birth, resulting in disability.

      • Lisa

        Vanessa and it was very recent

        • Ash

          Yes, Venessa Rose Giron. You can see from her FB page–her clicense is null and void in Texas but she was always living near the border of Texas. So she moved a little bit more so that she can practice freely in OK and Arkansas.

  • sdsures

    I know crowdsourcing on FB isn’t a new thing (Jan Tritten, ugh), but this gives me the creeps even more.

    • yugaya

      Something to creep you even more: Meg and Ruth, the two main admins of that group that cheered and killed the baby in UBA4C this month have multiple such groups where they groom and ‘support’ women into attempting stuntbirths, and they watch and cheer at least one disaster waiting to happen almost daily.

      • sdsures

        *facepalm*

  • yugaya

    Description of a sociopath that I found spot on for describing the admins of these deadly communities (paraphrased):

    ” They are ambitious, yes, and in the name of success they are willing to do all manner of things that people with conscience would never consider, but they are not an intellectually gifted individual. Their intelligence is above average perhaps, and people think of them as smart, maybe even very smart. But they know in their heart of hearts that they do not have the cognitive wherewithal, or the creativity, to reach the careening heights of power they secretly dreams about, and this makes them resentful of the world at large, and envious of the people around them.

    As this sort of person, they ensconce themselves in a niche, or maybe a series of niches, in which they can have some amount of control over small numbers of people. These situations satisfy a little of their desire for power, although they are chronically aggravated at not having more. It chafes to be so free of the ridiculous inner voices that inhibit others from achieving great power, without having enough talent to pursue the ultimate successes themselves. Sometimes they fall into sulky, rageful moods caused by a frustration that no one but them understands.

    But they do enjoy jobs that afford them a certain undersupervised control over a few individuals or small groups, preferably people and groups who are relatively helpless or in some way vulnerable. They are a lay midwife, or a doula, or a childbirth educator, or a lactation adviser. Or maybe they do not have a paid position and are instead the president of their condominium association, or a volunteer hospital worker, or a natural birth advocate. Whatever their job, they manipulate and bully the people who are under their thumb, as often and as outrageously as they can without getting fired or held accountable. They do this for its own sake, even when it serves no purpose except to give them a thrill. Making people jump means they have power – or this is the way they see it – and bullying provides them with an adrenaline rush. It is fun.

    Maybe they cannot be an OB or a CNM midwife, but they can frighten a few people, or cause them to scurry around like chickens, or – maybe, best of all – create situations that cause mothers to feel bad about themselves. This is not only good fun; it is existential vengeance. And without a conscience, it is amazingly easy to do. They quietly lie, cry some crocodile tears, or gaslight a group member, bait mothers with promises of empowering experiences, or provide misinformation that will never be traced back to them.”

    • sdsures

      They are extraordinarily dangerous, since there is nobody to check their behaviour, as there would be in the medical profession. They can get away with anything.

  • Lena

    Wait…Fraser’s sister ALSO lost a baby via homebirth and continues to preach the homebirth gospel? What is wrong with this family? They need to be studied.

    • peanutmama

      lots of dysfunction there…

    • Amy

      Their parents must be so proud…

    • MaineJen

      Janet Fraser labored at home for 5 days, spoke to a reporter during her labor in which she crowed that ‘birth takes as long as it takes’ or something to that effect, then had to call an ambulance when her daughter was either born dead or stopped breathing some time after birth (that part is a little muddy.) She then made the statement that watching her child die in front of her was NOT as traumatic as her hospital birth, in which her child lived. I’m not making any of this up.

      • JJ

        5 days!!!!

      • KarenJJ

        I remember it being in the news and then hearing of her baby’s death. I had a 6mo baby at the time, born via c-section. It was stunning that someone would risk a life in that way. It is still amazing how she clings to it and still has her identity so tied up in the birth process.

      • lilin

        Well, it wasn’t as traumatic. For her. And the kid’s too dead to complain, so . . .

  • FortyMegabytes

    To me it’s a truism that if you’re strong and confident in your opinion, you allow for dissenting viewpoints to be expressed. After all, easily refuting their arguments makes your position stronger, does it not?

    Whenever any group stifles dissent in any way – deleting posts, banning, going private, whatever – that instantly confirms to me that they are *not* confident in their position. No matter how much they bluster about how right they are and how “evidence-based” their position is, if they don’t allow a contrary opinion to be expressed, they’re exposing themselves as weak and full of doubt. In all my years of interwebbing, I have yet to seen that disproved.

    I will admit, when I first tumbled upon this website during my wife’s pregnancy, I was turned off by the blunt, even acid ways that Dr. Amy expressed herself. At first glance it read just the same as those who bluster too much but lack real conviction. But as I skimmed the comments, I noticed that she never, ever deleted a negative comment. Indeed, she welcomed dissenting opinions (if only so she could tear them down plank by plank).

    That immediately elevated Dr. Amy, in my book, as someone who is supremely confident that what she says is the truth. It’s a shame that the proselytizers on the other side of the aisle aren’t similarly confident.

    • peanutmama

      i agree. i was also turned off by her very blunt manner in the beginning, and i was a die-hard homebirther. but i kept coming back and reading and saw she backed everything she said with actual FACTS. i am sold.

      • JJ

        Me too. I actually really like Dr. Amy’s confidence since it is supported by evidence.

  • just me

    Still think it oughta be just plain outlawed to give birth any place but a medical center and be assisted by anyone but a nurse/doc. Exceptions would be made for babies born unexpectedly in cab on way to hospital etc. hopefully the bone birth people wouldn’t try to claim all the HBs were unexpected.

    • Cobalt

      You cannot violate someone’s bodily autonomy by forcing someone to take themselves to a hospital.

      You can:
      Require medical treatment for born children.
      Outlaw pretend medical professionals.
      Tell the absolute truth about risk.
      Require informed consent.
      Hold adults responsible for their decisions.
      Support a culture of life and health and safety.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        You could also prevent people from advertising falsely. For example, require free standing birth centers to give full and accurate informed consent about the risks of giving birth there versus a hospital. Require them to carry malpractice insurance so that parents of children who are harmed or killed have a way to seek compensation.

        • Medwife

          If states can require physicians and nurses to tell women who want abortions outright lies, then they can require midwives to relate some factual stats to their customers.

          • Roadstergal

            I wish I could upvote this more than once.

      • just me

        But you can’t have open heart surgery, colonoscopy, probably even liposuction at home. Why is birth different?

        I think until something drastic is done these senseless deaths won’t stop. Dr t will keep posting sad stories and you all will keep venting your anger here but that won’t stop the deaths.

        • Montserrat Blanco

          Technically you can give birth by yourself, and that should not be banned in my opinion, so that women with precipitous labors would not be prosecuted. I think that you should get proper education and a proper license in order to perform medical procedures and lay midwives and midwives without proper training should be banned. And I think that banning midwives from attending out of hospital births would cause a decrease in homebirth deaths. I am not yet decided about if that would be a good measure though.

          Same as with appendicectomy, you can perform one on yourself on your kitchen table, but you can not perform one on others if you do not have a proper training, a license and a hospital to do it.

        • Cobalt

          You can’t have the procedures at home, but you can choose to stay home even if you need them. You can’t force a person to seek treatment for themselves, and the ethical implications of doing so end up being worse and creating more harm than allowing bodily autonomy to stand sacrosanct.

        • Roadstergal

          Is it illegal for you to try to do those to yourself at home? It’s illegal for someone to pretend to be a medical practitioner and try to do them _to_ you, yes (and legitimate practitioners will rather insist on doing it in proper facilities), but if you want to try to operate on yourself at home – is that illegal, or just widely understood to be a Very Bad Idea?

          The ‘you can’t pretend to be a medical practitioner if you’re not qualified’ thing is the thrust of the changes Dr T wants, and I’m on board with that.

          • just me

            But that already exists. Babies still dying.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yep. But at some point, personal freedom has to be considered in all this. I mean, sure, if you imprisoned all pregnant women in a hospital, forced them to exercise, forced them to eat healthily, prevented them from drinking/smoking/taking drugs, made sure they took the medications they did need, and then delivered all of their babies via C-section at about 39 weeks (unless something indicated they needed to come sooner), then perinatal mortality would go down, but that doesn’t mean that that situation is acceptable, either.

          • Roadstergal

            What already exists? Midwives in the US have negligible licensing standards and, in almost all states, no requirement for malpractice insurance. That’s what needs to be changed. There would be a lot fewer babies dying if we had standards for birth attendants.

        • Sarah

          Because none of those things just happen. They involve people doing something. If you’re pregnant, unless you miscarry or terminate, you’re going to be giving birth whether you like it or not. It might kill one or both of you, but you’ll be undergoing the process. If you stay at home long enough, the process is going to happen there. The same is not true for colonoscopy. Birth is not a medical procedure.

          • just me

            That sounds very home-birthish ” birth is not a medical procedure.” Why did my insurance pay the 30k hospital bill???

          • Sarah

            Ask them. I know nothing about medical insurance in general and certainly not yours.
            But it’s not a medical procedure though. It just isn’t. Birth often involves medical procedures, yes, which I as a woman who’s had an instrumental delivery and an EMCS know better than most. But it’s not a medical procedure itself. It’s a process, one that the body of the pregnant person will eventually undergo by itself, without anyone else needing to do anything. Successfully or otherwise. This is why it is totally different to the other examples given, and why the analogy didn’t work. Cardiac operations don’t just happen spontaneously and unconsciously. Birth does, once you’re pregnant and provided you neither miscarry nor abort.

          • Medwife

            Even though it’s not a pathological process, _hypothetically_ (it certainly can and does become pathological), I think it’s the easiest way to think about it in terms of this discussion. Attending a birth is a medical/midwifery procedure, I consider it that way anyway, birth itself is a physiologic process with enough of a chance to go bad that attendance is required.

            For insurance coding purposes, giving birth vaginally or surgically is a medical procedure. And really insurance is what dictates our reality so it’s probably not even worth thinking about. (Who’s bitter, not me!)

          • Sarah

            Well fortunately it doesn’t dictate mine! But regardless of what anyone’s medical insurers have to say, the comparison between a process that is going to happen regardless of what anyone does and with no input from anyone outside the person and a surgery that won’t happen automatically is entirely invalid.

          • Medwife

            I agree.

          • Cobalt

            Same with getting pregnant in the first place. Conception is can be a flawed, dangerous process (infertility, molar pregnancy, chromosomal errors, etc), and there are medical treatments to help deal with issues, but it’s a biological function. Thankfully, modern medicine is frequently available to intervene when biology hands us a short straw.

        • Liz Leyden
    • Lena

      I don’t think it should be outlawed for women to birth at home with whatever attendant they won. I DO think it should be outlawed for those attending those births. What I mean is that mothers shouldn’t be penalized, but so-called midwives should. To be quite honest I’d rather women take their chances unassisted, only because people claiming to be professionals put a veneer of legitimacy to quackery.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      opefully the bone birth people wouldn’t try to claim all the HBs were unexpected.

      But they would, and how can you prove them wrong? You can’t.

      You CAN prevent people masquerading as health care providers attending homebirths. But even that is hard (I wasn’t a midwife, I was just there observing! Honest!)

    • lilin

      I completely disagree. A woman’s body is her own. She can’t be just a vessel for the safe delivery of a child. And while we might not agree with where these women draw the line between their safety and their baby’s safety, we have no right to force them.

      Now practicing medicine without a license – that should be illegal.

      • SG1

        Her body, her birth, her choice.
        You don’t set the agenda or the limitations.

        • lilin

          If I can set the limitations on who can call themselves and oncologist, I can set the limitations on who can call themselves a “midwife.”

          • sdsures

            There are legal bodies who actually take care of stuff like that.

      • sdsures

        Ah, but the minute she decides to have a baby, she must think of others besides herself.

        • Siri

          She doesn’t ‘must’ anything; however, the vast majority choose to prioritise their babies’ needs. The others still have every right to do with their body as they see fit.

          • sdsures

            If her doctor tells her she needs to lower her blood pressure for the sake of the baby, will she comply with whatever regimen he advises for the good of the baby?

      • just me

        It is illegal to practice medicine without a license.

        • lilin

          Not entirely true. At least two states are “voluntary licensure” states about midwifery. I could move to Oregon and call myself a midwife right now.

          Other states require “licenses” that are given out by private agencies and require, in some cases, as little as one written test and attendance at fifty births. Midwives should, at the very least, be required to be registered nurses.

          • Bombshellrisa

            There are also loopholes like midwives practicing under religious exemptions and as Native American medicine people.

    • Sarah

      No. Women have the absolute right to give birth outside a hospital if they so choose, however unwise. And your ‘exceptions’ wouldn’t work.

    • just me

      Yah, everyone hates my idea. But… It’s already illegal to practice medicine without a license. False advertising laws already exist. Etc. I’m liberal democrat pro-choice etc etc but I think the baby’s life trumps your personal autonomy to do what you want.

      Yeah there are botched home liposuctions etc but those are RARE bc it’s illegal to do that stuff at home.

      Let me try again: make it illegal for anyone (nurse doc midwife whatever) to [supervise/assist/whatever language works] a birth not in a medical center. Moms aren’t charged with violations, just the “attendees” or whatever they’re called.

      As long as it’s legal deaths will continue and all this gnashing of teeth won’t stop anything.

      • Roadstergal

        “Yeah there are botched home liposuctions etc but those are RARE bc it’s illegal to do that stuff at home.”

        But it’s not illegal for me to try to give myself liposuction at home. It’s illegal for someone to practice medicine without a license and give me liposuction at home. If there were no standards for someone to call themselves a ‘cosmetic surgeon’, and if lay direct-entry cosmetic surgeons could tout their ‘natural’ liposuction that’s so much more comfortable and safe than those nasty hospitals, and who went on social media to promote the joy of home liposuction and advertise their services, don’t you think it’d be a lot more common?

      • Myself

        No, that would be a bad idea. Attending a home birth is illegal in Alabama and that just means that home-birthers have completely unassisted home births here.

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    Does anyone know the perinatal mortality rate for unassisted birth?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      11.4% in this study (admittedly in the Congo so the infamous “better nutrition” thing applies):

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21870558

      • no longer drinking the koolaid

        So, if you choose an unassisted birth, your baby has roughly a 1 in 9 chance of dying?
        I would worry about that a whole lot more than a rupture alone.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          If you choose an unassisted birth and insist on going through with it no matter what then yes, a 1 in 9 chance of a dead baby and about a 1 in 4 chance of a damaged baby. And about a 3 in 5 chance that you’ll be hurt.

        • no longer drinking the koolaid

          I don’t think I have ever seen anyone quote these stats to someone who is considering an unassisted birth. These are shocking and horrifying.

          • JJ

            People that do unassisted birth though see themselves as special because they do special things like yoga, take supplements, eat organic, have positive meditations ect.

    • Cobalt

      The combined maternal/neonatal death rate in “the wild” is like 17%. It’s not just nutrition and “big” stuff by modern medical standards, there’s also a ton of stuff that just plain doesn’t happen anymore in industrial countries, like infected fistulae.

  • peanutmama

    it’s disgusting. and immoral.

  • Trixie

    And right now they’re bumping and oohing over a lady’s victory lap post about her HBA3C after 80 hours of labor.

  • Trixie

    Yes. Yes they are morally culpable. They’ve begun a rather predictable, Jen Kamel style purging of their members. Anyone who belongs to other groups with different ideas gets the boot. As they say, it’s for the members’ “protection.”

  • Amy M

    Of course they are. These people are outright lying, to (in many cases) women who don’t know any better. Those women, however, SHOULD learn from a homebirth tragedy, that bad things can and do happen. If they don’t heed this lesson, they are basically sticking their fingers in their ears and going la-la-la, and pretending that nothing bad could happen to THEM. Then to justify that, they tell themselves stories about why a bad thing could never happen to them, things like “Oh she must not have trusted birth. I do.” Or “She didn’t eat right or exercise enough, but I do, so I’m safe.”

    And the original perpetrators, who pull in newbies and turn them into worshipers parroting the party line, must be sociopathic because they see disaster after disaster, yet continue to spout their nonsense. If they just delete and ban anyone saying anything negative, they can pretend that everything is puppies and rainbows. Luckily, most women recognize the dangers of birth and want to have medical help.

    It seems like such a no-brainer: your house has no OR, no doctors who can given pitocin, and no machines to accurately monitor the baby—how could that possibly be safer than a hospital? I guess that depends on what you want to be safe from–safe from harm to you and your baby? Or safe from receiving medical care?

  • Mel

    On some level, they HAVE to know the “some babies just aren’t meant to live” is tripe.

    I’ve known several people who had babies born with problems that were incompatible with life – or perhaps more clearly – incompatible with a life longer than a few minutes to a few months. These families dealt with the impending loss of a newborn in many different ways, but no one decided giving birth at home was the best option. Because – on some level – everyone hoped against hope that all of the tests were wrong. That their baby would be born healthy. Or – if not healthy – alive enough that they could spend a few moments with the baby before he or she died.

    Those are babies who “just aren’t meant to live” could be applied to – although I think of it as babies that “we can’t save yet.” I hope that we could save them someday – but we can’t now.

    But the babies who die in homebirth – most of those babies are so amazingly healthy-looking or were before they suffocated or bled out. I can’t believe that they “aren’t meant to live”. They were meant to live. They would have lived if born in a hospital.

    They were meant to live.

    • Amy M

      And their parents meant them to live, otherwise why carry a pregnancy to term? With the possible exception of Janet Fraser, I imagine that people who lose babies to homebirth are devastated and would not look kindly on someone telling them their babies weren’t meant to live. Even if those people said that exact phrase, weeks before. I think the death of a baby is very abstract concept until it happens to you.

      • OttawaAlison

        As a loss mom, I will never judge a mom who lost their child in a homebirth. My loss wasn’t homebirth related, but it was a loss of a full-term very wanted baby none-the-less and I understand the devastation.
        There is absolutely no way to understand what losing a wanted baby is like at term until it happens to you. I abstractly knew it would be devastating, but I had no clue what that devastation was actually like until I got there.
        I know that Meg and her sister are exceptions when they say that hospital births are worse than losing a child.
        For the rest of my life I will support research into preventing stillbirths since I am pretty sure most babies that die even in utero like mine could have been saved (my daughter looked like a normal baby and the autopsy said the same thing).

        • Amy M

          I am so sorry for your loss. I believe that eventually, hopefully sooner than later, science will have more answers about term stillbirths, as well as prematurity, so fewer people have to experience such devastation.

          • OttawaAlison

            That’s my hope for the future.

        • Daleth

          I’m so sorry.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I challenge anyone to go to the Hurt by Homebirth web site, look at those big, beautiful, perfectly formed babies and tell me that they weren’t “meant to live”.

      • Amazed

        Actually, I’m starting to believe the trope. The severely premature babies, the babies with congenital anomalies imcompatible with life – those COULDN’T live. But the homebirth babies? Most of them could have lived, should have lived but that was not the midwives’ intention. That was not the homebirth cheering crowd’s intention. They didn’t give a thought whether babies could have lived or not. All their thoughts were on the INTENTION to keep homebirth going, at all costs.

        Poor babies weren’t meant to live the moment their living or not became a non-consideration in the great plan.

        MEANT indicates INTENTION. The intention was never to place these babies first.

        • Cobalt

          I think you’re on to something. They were MEANT to be delivered vaginally, at home, according to whatever birth plan was cooked up. “Live baby” wasn’t on the birth plan; if “live baby” happens to occur, then it’s just icing on the cake.

          • Karen in SC

            Just today I thought of a meme that had a collage of these horrid “midwives” pictures and the caption “your baby might NOT be meant to live….but don’t blame me”

        • Realitybites100

          Basically meant to live only if baby complies with a vaginal at all cost attempt. If baby cannot hang thru days of labor, infection, cord issues or breech then I guess it just wasn’t meant to be there in that family.
          But hey, as long as mom gets a healing birth “its all good in the hood” right?

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      EXACTLY. Also by this logic, kids with perfectly correctable, say, heart defects, aren’t meant to live either. A friend of mine (more specifically, she’s married to a friend of DH) homebirths with a midwife who doesn’t do bloodwork or ultrasounds or any other standard prenatal tests. I honestly hope she never has a baby with a heart defect, because there’s no way in hell that midwife will notice the defect, and they don’t see a pediatrician because Evil Pediatricians want you to Inject Your Innocent Children With Evil, Toxic, Poisonous Vaccines. (Not that I’d want any baby to have a heart defect, you understand, but at the risk of sounding terribly morbid, better one that’s caught early when you can have a ped cardiologist in the room during the birth than one that’s discovered during an autopsy.)

      • Liz Leyden

        It’s even better when the heart defect is caught prenatally, and Mom can plan for travel, a funeral, or termination.

      • Becky05

        And then in the MANA homebirth study, they excluded deaths due to congenital birth defects, as if they were de facto not preventable deaths. They’re so ignorant they don’t know what they don’t know.

    • Cobalt

      I have a friend whose kid, if he was ten years older, would have been one they “couldn’t save yet”. He got several newly available heart surgeries in his first weeks and is now in elementary school.

      He was meant to live, and thankfully modern medicine was there to save him.

      • Amy M

        Yeah, my parents have these friends who lost a baby to a congenital heart defect, in the early 80s. I think if she was born today, she might have lived.

        • Medwife

          Cardiology has the best problem ever. There are so many people surviving well into adulthood, apparently going to live full life spans, having been born with previously fatal cardiac defects, that they need to create a sub-specialty. It’s great! A friend of mine just had her second baby with her partner who is one of those new long-term survivors.

          • Who?

            Well heart disease and cancer in the fifty plus population caused by childhood vax is touted in some circles as another great reason to lay off the vax.

            Eyes are rolling.

      • Liz Leyden

        My daughter’s congenital heart defect would have been incompatible with life 25 years ago. Thanks to modern medicine, she’s a very curious 1-year-old.

      • Mac Sherbert

        I know an older couple. They had a baby die just hours after birth. It had a condition that couldn’t be treated. Fast forward many years… The couple now in their 70’s remark to some people about how adorable their child is. A conversation starts and they find out that this child in front of them had the same thing their child did at birth. The joy they had for these parents whose child didn’t have to die literally brought tears to my eyes.

        • Daleth

          Oh man. That’s so sad and beautiful.

    • OttawaAlison

      I am hoping science greatly reduces the stillbirth rate. I still don’t believe that my daughter who died in utero at 37 week wasn’t meant to live. She was perfectly formed inside and out, but something happened and her heart stopped beating.

      • Very, very sorry for your loss. Your daughter was beautiful and loved – and to be gone without explanation is so very difficult. I’m sorry for your heartache.

      • Mac Sherbert

        I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope that your efforts make so that at least one other family doesn’t have to know the grief that you have.

      • Mel

        I had a younger brother who died suddenly of a previously undetected birth defect a week before his first birthday. I’ve spent my life wondering how things would have been different if somehow that birth defect had been noticed before – because all David would have needed to survive was close monitoring and immediate antibiotics when he got a bacterial infection.

        That’s why I always think of babies who die suddenly or who have major birth defects as babies that we can’t save yet.

        • Cobalt

          That’s heartbreaking.

          And history shows us we can save more and more babies. Medicine continues to advance, there are a an awful lot of kids who are getting life saving procedures now that wouldn’t have made it in the past.

          • Yes — by way of example, when I studied nursing in the mid-60s the life expectancy for certain kinds of leukemia was barely a couple of months at best. Nowadays there are complete remissions or years of reasonably healthy life.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I’m sorry for your loss!

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I can imagine a loss parent saying that the baby “wasn’t meant to live” as a way of decreasing the overwhelming sadness of losing a baby. Especially if they were worried that they did something that contributed to the child’s death. I think that most people who have home births do so because they think it’s good for the baby: less stressful, more comfortable, etc. and because the promoters lied about how dangerous it was. They aren’t responsible for their child’s death, but their decision did contribute…and the pain of acknowledging that must be horrific. So I can see clinging to the “it would have been just the same in the hospital” or “some babies aren’t meant to live” narrative to ease the pain. I’d leave it alone and not say anything except that there are women and fetuses still at risk and decreasing their risk is important.

      • Realitybites100

        Saying not meant to live is probably the only way to cope at some point. To KNOW you could have saved it is an unbearable thought. Once that must not pass thru the mind.
        I get it. Denial is a strong part of mental heath survival sometimes…but truth is still truth and sadly one day it is going to sink in. I feel for the mom’s when it finally happens, but mostly I feel the most for the baby who lost it’s life in a birth plan that was about birth and not outcome.

  • attitude devant

    Yes