But, but, you’re only supposed to praise me.

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The world of homebirth advocacy is a vast echo chamber where ignorant women praise other ignorant women for being “educated.” It is a world where fragile women go to boost their self-esteem with unrestricted plaudits for even the most irresponsible decisions. It is a world where women actually risk their babies’ deaths for the admiration of their equally uneducated peers.

In other words, it is not the real world.

Perhaps that explains why homebirth advocates react with utter incredulity when the real world gets involved.

They are shocked, shocked to learn that when they publish their stories of loss, or neonatal injury to the entire population of the world, other people read them. Why don’t they keep them private? Because they are seeking praise and validation for the irresponsible decisions that led to the deaths or injuries of their babies. Evidently, the praise and validation they get from the homebirth advocates that they know personally is not enough. They need more and they actually think they will get it by telling the entire world of their choices and the hideous outcomes.

They cannot believe that there could be any other response to a homebirth loss or injury than praise for the mother who is now bereaved or facing permanent injury to her child, often as a direct results of her own decisions. That, despite the fact that the mother has often been begged by her parents, in-laws, and friends to give birth in a hospital where lifesaving equipment and the personnel who know how to use it are available.

Occasionally, they react the way that any sensible person would, and make their blog private. Generally, they do not, because you can’t get praise from strangers if they aren’t able to read your story.

Here’s what they need to keep in mind:

The overwhelming majority of people think that homebirth is irresponsible. They aren’t impressed with your decision; they are appalled. They don’t think you are educated; they think you are ignorant. They are very sorry that your baby died or was injured, but they think you bear some, if not all, responsibility for the tragedy that didn’t have to happen.

If you don’t want to know what the majority of people think about your choice, don’t publish your story to the entire world. No one is going to respect your “privacy” when you clearly have no respect for it, eagerly abandoning privacy in a desperate attempt to gain validation.

Harsh? Maybe, but that’s nothing compared to the suffering of the babies whose lives were sacrificed unnecessarily or who will have to live with permanent brain impairment or other injury.

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