Brave has nothing to do with it; it’s all about ignorance

Morgan McLaughlin McFarland, in a guest post at Bring Birth Home entitled Brave Has Nothing to Do With It, helpfully illustrates the self aggrandizing ignorance that is the hallmark of homebirth advocacy. She is annoyed:

“When hearing the news that I had my last baby at home and am planning to have this one at home as well, the first response from most people is, “You’re so brave.”

This has to be one of the most irritating things that people say to homebirthers. The implication is that birth is dangerous and that we are willing to take on a tremendous risk to do it anywhere but a hospital.

It negates the research and planning that we’ve done to come to this decision. It makes the choice about balls, not brains. After all, homebirth is “dangerous.” Hospital birth is “safe.” Therefore, it must be bravado alone that would lead a woman to choosing such an option. Right?”

Research? Now that’s a hoot. In the homebirth community, what passes for “research” is being impressed by the bibliography salad cited by professional homebirth advocates who don’t understand (and probably have not even read) the papers that they cite.

Let’s see what McLaughlin has “learned” from her “research.”

“Over 30% of women in the US have cesarean sections, while overwhelming research has led the World Health Organization to set an ideal standard rate of cesarean sections at 10-12%, with 15% being the rate where more harm is being done instead of good.”

Hey, Morgan, you just made that up. Marden Wagner, then at the WHO, pulled the 15% number out of thin air. There has been NO research, none, zip, zero, nada, to support the 15% recommendation, a point that Wagner himself has publicly acknowledged.”

“Kenneth C Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss’s Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America, BMJ 2005;330:1416 (18 June), found that the outcomes of planned homebirths for low risk mothers were the same as the outcomes of planned hospital births for low risk mothers, with a significantly lower incident of interventions in the homebirth group.”

See what happens when you don’t read and analyze the study? You don’t know what it actually shows. The Johnson and Daviss study actually shows that homebirth with a CPM has nearly triple the rate of neonatal mortality of low risk hospital birth. Guess you didn’t pick up the bait and switch. J & D compared low risk homebirths to high risk hospital births. Funny what you learn when you do real research.

“The Netherlands, where 36% of babies are born at home, has lower maternal and neonatal mortality rates than the US.”

The Netherlands has the highest perinatal mortality rate in Europe! The US has a lower perinatal mortality rate than Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands. By the way, according to the World Health Organization, the correct statistic for international comparisons is perinatal mortality (neonatal mortality plus late stillbirths). That’s because countries like The Netherlands like to boost their international rankings in neonatal mortality by pretending that premature babies born alive are stillbirths and not live births. I guess you didn’t learn that basic fact in your “research.”

“Call me stubborn, because I wasn’t willing to accept out of hand the culturally held belief that hospitals are safer.”

No, I’d call you ignorant, so ignorant that you actually think you know what you are talking about. You’ve done no research. You’ve read no papers. You lack even the most basic understanding of science and statistics. You don’t even realize that virtually everything you’ve written is factually false.

“Call me an idealist, because I believe that birth can be a positive, safe, and empowering experience for child and mother.”

No, once again I’d call you ignorant. Birth is inherently dangerous. It is and has always been a leading cause of death of young women and babies in every time, place and culture. “Believing” birth is safe just shows that you don’t know much about birth.

“Call me a nonconformist, because I choose to birth at home in defiance of a powerful technocratic system.”

No, I’d call you ignorant, and self aggrandizing to boot. Only a fool would proudly risk her baby’s life to “defy the system.”

“But brave? Don’t call me brave. “Brave” has nothing to do with it.”

That’s right. Brave has absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s all about ignorance.