Newsflash: you did risk your baby’s life for your own experience


Kristen of Birthing Beautiful Ideas is angry that many people regard her homebirth as selfish:

“Why would you put your baby’s life at risk just for the experience of a home birth?” STOP SAYING THAT!

[A]t no time in my decision-making process did I think that my choice was between risking my baby’s life for “the blissful home birth experience” and guaranteeing a safe outcome for my baby with an okay experience in the hospital…

Here’s the thing: the “putting your baby’s life at risk for the experience” comment–which many home-birthing women and families encounter, either directly or indirectly– fails to grasp the multiplicity of reasons that people might appeal to when choosing home birth.

I’ve got some bad news for you Kristen. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not going to stop saying that, because, whether you like it or not, and whether you admit it to yourself or not, you DID risk your baby’s life for nothing better than your “birth experience.”

Kristen, of course, rolls out all the inane “reasons” for the choice typically cited by homebirth advocates.

I have examined the research on home birth and hospital birth and am convinced of the potential benefits of home birth…

Newsflash: reading books and websites written by laypeople for other people is not research, no matter how much you would like to pretend that it is. If you haven’t read the scientific literature, the actual papers, not the abstracts, not Henci Goer’s summaries, you haven’t done research.

I do think that it is a safe option for my baby and me.

Newsflash: Thinking that homebirth is safe does not make it safe.

I have access to skilled home birth providers whom I trust to care for my baby and me prenatally, during labor, and in the postpartum period.

Newsflash: In the event of a life threatening emergencies, your baby does not need homebirth providers. He or she needs an operating room, an anesthesiologist, and a neonatologist. If your homebirth providers aren’t carrying those things, they are useless in an emergency.

I had a horrendous experience giving birth in the hospital and do not want to repeat that experience. I think that planning a home birth gives me a better chance of not repeating it..

I have a deep-seated fear of the hospital and am nearly paralyzed with terror at the thought of giving birth in the hospital. A home birth is a better choice for me…

Don’t worry. We’re completely clear on the fact that this is all about your experience. You don’t need to reiterate it multiple times.

I want to avoid both the maternal and neonatal complications associated with the high intervention rates at my local hospitals.

And so you are risking the ultimate complication, your baby’s death, to avoid the minor complications that you apparently fear more.

The reasons are unique. They are radically unique, just as unique as each individual person themselves. This is why two people can have the exact same situation and still arrive at different choices based on the uniqueness of their values and preferences.

Newsflash: Your baby isn’t radically unique. He or she will die without appropriate life saving measures in the face of an emergency.

Your homebirth midwives aren’t unique. They are the typical poorly educated, poorly trained hobbyists who wouldn’t be considered midwives in any other country in the industrialized world.

YOU aren’t radically unique. You are the gullible, woefully undereducated woman who thinks reading books for laypeople is “research;” who has probably never read a single scientific paper in its entirety, let alone the breadth of the literature on homebirth, but preen to yourself and others that you are “educated; who has written 10 reasons why you chose homebirth, using I, me, my, more than 20 times with never a single reference to the very real danger of death to your baby.

In other words, you are the typical homebirth advocate, risking her baby’s life for no better reason than your personal experience.