Homebirth and human sacrifice

Remember the biblical story of the sacrifice of Isaac?

To test his faith, God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son. God wants to find out if Abraham would be willing to kill the person most precious to him simply because He commanded it. Would Abraham being willing to make the supreme sacrifice to demonstrate his devotion to God?

If you know the story, you know that at the last minute, when Isaac is already bound on the altar and about to be killed, God sends an angel to stay Abraham’s hand. Evidently God never meant that Abraham should actually sacrifice Isaac. God does not want or need human sacrifice.

The sacrifice of Isaac is meant to demonstrate that the God of monotheism, of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, abhors human sacrifice. Unfortunately, it appears that Birth, the goddess in which homebirth advocates place such trust, has no such qualms.

Pseudoscience is generally associated with immature cognitive errors and homebirth advocacy is no exception. Like most pseudoscience, it involves invoking mysterious forces, bizarre “energy” flows, and imputing intentionality to non-intentional natural processes. In homebirth and natural childbirth advocacy, these immature cognitive errors are combined to create a personification of “Birth.”

“Birth,” like any goddess demands worship. Her power must be acknowledged and her essential goodness must be constantly praised through birth “affirmations.” “Birth” also demands constant evidence of belief. What could possibly be more demonstrative of true faith than the willingness to sacrifice your newborn child?

Unlike the God of the Old Testament, though, “Birth” does not send an angel to stay your hand. Quite the opposite, “Birth” sends tests; hence the praise for women who take the greatest risks at homebirth.

You can demonstrate your trust in “Birth” by having a homebirth in a low risk situation, where an unpredictable emergency can kill or maim you child. But women who really trust “Birth” are those who choose homebirth when they are at high risk of killing their babies. That’s why the greatest praise and awe is reserved for women who insist on homebirth with twins, a breech baby or a previous C-section. The bigger the risk, the greater the faith, the higher the praise.

Unlike the God of the Old Testament, “Birth” apparently does want and need human sacrifice.

Babies die all the time at homebirth, and the biggest risk factors lead to the greatest number of deaths. As with any religion, believers must then deny that the deity had anything to do with it. Yes, they trusted “Birth” and the baby died, but that was just an incredible coincidence. They vehemently insist that the baby would have died in the hospital anyway, and they might have ended up with a C-section scar, too. A C-section scar is a horror because it is a permanent brand, marking its wearer as one who lost faith in the “Birth.”

It’s easiest to figure out who are the truest believers. They are women like Janet Fraser who lost babies at homebirth but still trust “Birth.” To demonstrate their continued faith, they immediately being planning for the next homebirth.

It turns out that sacrificing your baby on the altar of “Birth” isn’t the highest form of devotion. That honor is reserved for deliberately placing your next child on the same altar and trusting that the goddess who killed your last baby won’t kill this one, too.