Oh the horror! Some women see birth as “the way to get the baby”!


O tempora! O mores!

Homebirth midwife Sarah Biermeier, CPM bewails the sad state of modern civilization:

To some, at the root of the hospital-vs.-home-birth debate is how labor and birth are viewed.

Biermeier says birth is no longer seen as its own event – it’s seen as “the way to get the baby.”

Thank you, Sarah, for confirming my oft stated criticism of homebirth advocacy. For homebirth advocates (and many natural childbirth advocates), birth is a piece of performance art and the baby is nothing but a prop.

It explains so much about the otherwise unfathomable selfishness and self-absorption of homebirth advocates.


Just because your baby died at a homebirth doesn’t mean you had a bad experience. Since birth is a piece of performance art, whether the baby lives or dies is secondary to your satisfaction with your own efforts.

Just because your baby died at homebirth doesn’t mean that your midwife was anything other than awesome. After all, her role was not to save the baby’s life, it was to insure the integrity of your performance.

And that explains why women who have C-sections are such losers. Instead of worrying about the integrity of their experience, all they want to do is have a healthy baby.

The same thing applies to the losers who have pain relief in labor. The point of labor is to avoid the pain medication, stupid, not the pain. Duh.

According to Sarah:

“The doctors seem to think that it’s their birth, their baby and their placenta,” she says.

Now that’s funny. The majority of obstetricians are women and (clearly this is going to come as news to Sarah), we have had our own babies and births, and have no interest in owning yours.

The difference between obstetricians and homebirth midwives has nothing to do with ownership and everything to do with the way we view labor and birth.

We view it much more prosaically as “the way to get the baby.” And therefore, whether the baby survives the experience intact is our highest priority.

If you value process over outcome, then homebirth makes perfect sense.

For the other 99+% of women, hospital birth is the safer, better choice.

211 Responses to “Oh the horror! Some women see birth as “the way to get the baby”!”

  1. Joyha
    February 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I also wanted to note that I had a natural birth for my second son with no medical intervention. Both my boys were 9lbs. I plan on going natural for my 3rd as well.

    • C T
      February 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

      I’ll raise you to four unmedicated births in the hospital (yes, it can be done) with two of them over 9 lbs., and expecting to do number 5 the same way (although I’m open to induction a little earlier on now…). That’s nice you love Sarah and she gave you good care, but you’re missing the point here. Websites extolling homebirth have been elevating the whole process of natural childbirth above the point of childbirth: having a live child to raise. Best wishes for baby #3.

    • Gene
      February 1, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

      Why in the world do people think that completely unmedicated, “intervention” free births never happen in a hospital. I’ve seen plenty of them. At one of my previous hospitals, we had an incredibly large immigrant population (the vast majority of whom were not in the US legally and were, therefore, not eligible for health insurance). Most of them chose not to have pain relief (due to expense – they paid cash). In my experience, most women choose to have pain relief, but there are plenty who do not.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      February 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      How nice for you. I had one 7 pound baby by c-section. Your implication that you are superior because you gave birth “naturally” is noted.

    • Happy Sheep
      February 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      Congrats on the new baby and your 2 sons!
      I had a medicated birth for my first, the epidural was AMAZING!
      I had a 100% NUCB with #2. pushing on my side, in the hospital. It sucked, big time.
      If we have a third, I am “planning” an induction with an epidural placed prior to Pitocin starting so I never have to experience NUCB again. What is your point?

  2. Joyha
    February 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    You clearly have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to Sarah. She was my hired midwife for the birth of my first son. She was nothing more than gracious, kind and incredibly skilled and knowledgeable in the practice of midwifery and Birth. Sarah always had the interest of the health and safety of both my son and I throughout the entire birth experience. So much so that through her help she even agreed that there are definitely times for medical intervention but yet this should not be the norm. When I transferred to the hospital after 5 days of predromal labor she was nothing more but professional gracious and supportive and continued to stay with me at the hospital until long after the birth of my son. the OB that assisted on the birth of my son had no issues with Sarah’s care of me at any point in my birth. (When I transferred to the hospital, at no point was I or the baby in danger. The transfer only happened because together Sarah and I agreed that I was tired and that an epideral at this point in my labor to rest could help my body relax enough to progress the labor. I didn’t need it but together with the help of Sarah we agreed to go this route.) Because you see birth is not a formula, it should be treated with individualized care to the individual situation. it isn’t about you the OB or Sarah the midwife. it’s about the mother and child and the bodies ability to bring forth life and be born. Once again it’s not about you. May every mother and child be able to experience the high level of care, options, and freedom that my child and I experienced in our Birth. Sarah is a fantastic midwife.

  3. Jp
    February 1, 2014 at 1:06 am #

    You are clearly insane.

  4. StinaMina
    February 1, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    For the record, Sarah was my midwife. She’s amazing. If having a birth at the hospital is such a fantastic idea then why are home birth C section rates around the 5% mark and hospital births around the 75% mark?? Also, why is the mortality rate a higher percentage in hospitals add well? You can’t fight the facts. Home birth is safer.

    • An Actual Attorney
      February 1, 2014 at 1:13 am #

      StinaMina, you comment on this old post today. You say that there is a higher percentage of mortality in the hospital. But somehow you miss all those posts from today about those stats MANA just released — shows that home birth has 550% more deaths than hospital birth. So for the record, maybe you should learn to read.

      • Radha
        February 1, 2014 at 10:08 am #

        Actually, if you look at the numbers, it shows how biased the source was, as they used the “at risk” group for home birth, vs all groups for hospital. They pulled out the percentages that way, doesn’t that show anything to you? When you see number thrown like that, look at the source and study the numbers and categories carefully, it is so easy to impress with number, without elaborating on what they really represent.

        • Box of Salt
          February 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

          Radha, yes, you should probably look at the source carefully. Did you actually read the study to which An Actually Attorney is referring above?
          Here’s a direct link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jmwh.12172/full
          Take note of the following from the Methods section: “Participation in the project was voluntary, with an estimated 20% to 30%
          of active CPMs and a substantially lower proportion of CNMs

          Do you think there might be some bias coming from voluntary reporting? What kind of outcome did the other ~75% of midwives have?

          • Happy Sheep
            February 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

            There is a massive reporting bias, and yet their own numbers show that homebirth isn’t safe, what does that tell you?

    • Gene
      February 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

      Seriously? 75% c-section? I would LOVE to know where you got those numbers.

      • Young CC Prof
        February 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

        Maybe RCS versus successful VBAC? That or they are coming from another country where maternal choice c-section is the norm, possibly one in Latin America.

        Or, StinaMina just made it up.

  5. Teleute
    November 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Have you see this, Dr. Amy?

    • Teleute
      November 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

      Also, the author has apparently taken to Twitter to complain about peoples’ reactions:

      Carrie Murphy: i wrote ab re-birth ceremonies for @mommyishdotcom & OF COURSE the whole “healthy baby” thing happened in comments: http://t.co/psgpVYtFlw
      about 8 hours ago

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      November 29, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      I hadn’t seen it. It’s seems rather pathetic (acting out the birth you would have had if everything had happened exactly as you had planned, but fortunately not harmful to the babies.

  6. Jenny Star
    November 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    I wasn’t much interested in the birth and didn’t look forward to it at all. I found it traumatizing and unpleasant and was happy to get my epidural. But I really, really wanted a baby – more than almost anything, more than was probably reasonable. Since I ended up never being able to have another, I’m really glad I had the one I did. He’s nearly adult now and we have a wonderful relationship. I am perplexed by the idea that “bonding” takes place only at a specified few moments after birth – it’s a lifelong parenting process, with the first few months/years arguably the most important.

  7. manabanana
    November 20, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Please watch the film that was made about this midwife. You will have enough fodder for a month’s worth of blog posts.

  8. itry2brational
    November 20, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Your blind spot is not considering WHY or WHAT causes women to be so selfish and self-absorbed.

    • Lisa the Raptor
      November 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      So do tell us then?

      • itry2brational
        November 21, 2013 at 10:03 am #

        Are you not capable of being considerate/thoughful? My wife isn’t selfish or self-absorbed. Why is she different? You’re a woman, certainly you think you know better than me, ‘splain it to me. If women are not selfish and self-absorbed, and obviously they are not, what enables them to behave that way? Simple question exploring a solution. *shrug*

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          November 21, 2013 at 10:58 am #

          What are you on about, man? You made the claim that Dr Amy is not considering why or what causes women to be so selfish and self-absorbed. Lisa asked you to explain it then. How is that inconsiderate?

          • itry2brational
            November 21, 2013 at 11:24 am #

            Indeed I did but you and Lisa are still missing the point: you’re refusing to even consider the root causes of the behavior you deride. You’ve also diverted the discussion to being about me and not the issues.

          • Guestll
            November 21, 2013 at 11:37 am #

            Well, I’ve considered the root causes of homebirth in developed countries, and I offered you a few explanations, but they weren’t satisfactory.
            I’m not sure what you want to hear.

          • itry2brational
            November 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

            Then you considered entirely the wrong thing. -Everyone- can be selfish and self-absorbed but we choose not to. “Because I can” isn’t a valid excuse for bad behavior.

          • Guestll
            November 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

            I didn’t make any statements about validity. I don’t think “because I can” is an excuse.
            What is your question? Why or what causes women to be selfish/self-absorbed? Why is your wife “different”, when she is neither selfish nor self-absorbed?
            I gave you explanations as to why women consider homebirth since selfishness and self-absorption are referenced in the blog piece and you asked why/what in your original comment.
            As for why your wife is “different” when you claim she is neither selfish nor self-absorbed, I don’t know your wife. Maybe you should ask her. Why are you asking strangers to explain your wife’s behaviour?

          • Teleute
            November 22, 2013 at 12:54 am #

            “Maybe you should ask her. Why are you asking strangers to explain your wife’s behaviour?”

            He probably has the couch tonight. Must’ve done something selfish… or else wife and baby are co-sleeping.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 21, 2013 at 11:55 am #

            you’re refusing to even consider the root causes of the behavior you deride

            What are you talking about? Lisa asked you to provide more information! How is that “refusing to consider” it? That is, pretty much by definition, considering it.

          • itry2brational
            November 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

            If I asked: “consider for a moment what caused the universe.” Would, “do tell” mean that you gave it consideration? No. That’s how.
            “Because I can” is not a valid explanation…its an excuse.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

            If I asked: “consider for a moment what caused the universe.” Would, “do tell” mean that you gave it consideration?

            It would be a starting point, that’s for sure. It certainly would not constitute “refusing to consider it”

        • Guestll
          November 21, 2013 at 11:00 am #

          Because they can.
          Because modern medicine has made birth in a developed country so very safe. Intrapartum death is now rare.
          My grandmother, born in 1918, was terrified of giving birth. Why? Because her white, healthy, middle-class mother lost 3 of her 8 children (all born at home) in childbirth. This was not unusual. Yet by the time my grandmother was giving birth (mid 40s and early 50s) she was doing so in a hospital, and mortality rates were falling.
          It can be a luxury to reject something you feel you don’t need. Your wife is different because — pick one — she values process over outcome — she’s unaware of the inherent dangers of homebirth — or she believes birth is safe and she’s chosen to reject all the evidence proving that when it takes place at home, it is markedly less safe than when it takes place at a hospital.
          Some women who choose homebirth are selfish and self-absorbed — it’s clear from the many homebirth stories that abound on the internet that they do value process over outcome. Some are ignorant of the facts, and the culture as a whole is full of outright lies (homebirth is as safe/safer than giving birth in a hospital, for example).

          • itry2brational
            November 21, 2013 at 11:20 am #

            So women are self-absorbed and selfish “because they can”? Modern medicine enables women to be selfish and self-absorbed? These don’t seem like good explanations.

          • Guestll
            November 21, 2013 at 11:35 am #

            Sorry to disappoint you (not really)

        • Nouvelle Vague
          November 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

          Are you drunk?

          No, I’m serious, did you even read your comment to make sure it said anything worth saying before you posted?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      November 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      I’m confused. What do you mean that I refuse to consider why? This whole post is about is about why homebirth advocates are so selfish and self-absorbed. They are profoundly ignorant about the dangers of childbirth, and they believe that since the outcome is guaranteed, the only thing worth thinking about is the process.

      • Teleute
        November 22, 2013 at 12:50 am #

        I don’t think it’s ignorance so much as ideology. You’ve blogged repeatedly about MANA refusing to release its statistics on death rates, and how they require researchers to pass “ideological litmus tests” and sign non-disclosure agreements in order to access their databases. Just because you’re serving the Kool-Aid doesn’t mean you’re drinking it too.

        Advocates of home birthing (accessories included) are fully aware that they are a “crunchy” minority and that their practices are frowned upon by OBGYNs and pediatricians alike. The most “credible” advocates are those perfectly well versed in the arguments against home birth. These are the ones who play games with statistics (comparing the NUMBER of home deaths to hospital deaths) and cite the opinions of anthropologists as medical science. Others dismiss the arguments out of hand, preferring the empowering messages of their leaders over cold hard facts. Ideology trumps ignorance every time.

        I think the truly ignorant ones aren’t the advocates but the targets of these advocates. The more undecideds they can draw into their little cult, the more “credibility” they can boast.

  9. Lynnie
    November 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    Um, uh, well. Hmmm, isn’t to get a baby the WHOLE reason for birth? The whole point of that particular event is to get a baby out of the whole thing. It is the culmination of 9 or so months of preparations and expectations. The idea of putting a baby’s health and life in risk to have the “ideal birth” is totally unthinkable to me. Yes, for countless generations women gave birth at home with little to no help, but that was because it wasn’t available and they generally used all the help that was available to them at the time. The same thing for women in 3rd world countries. I’m sure millions upon millions of women wished that they have pain relief and/or life saving interventions during childbirth. The refusal of available medical care is purely an egotistical first world issue. Yes, childbirth is a medical event. There are two people going through an intense amount of physical stress that can cause damage or death. I know I’m “preaching to the choir” with this comment, but it’s something I have become passionate about lately. I made the mistake of watching “The Business of Being Born” a few months AFTER (thankfully) my son was born and it thrust me into the messed up world of NCB and the BS that is involved with it. I wondered why my experience with being induced wasn’t anything like it was described in that “documentary”. If a woman wants to go natural, that’s her decision, but no baby should be in danger so the mom can have her experience of her “perfect birth”.

    • Lisa the Raptor
      November 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      A baby is the only reason to do any of it. If I did nine months of pregnancy and 22 hours of labor and all I got was a rock I’d be pissed

      • Lynnie
        November 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

        Or an easily avoidable funeral.

      • Bombshellrisa
        November 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

        No kidding-plus I didn’t go through those stupid baby shower games with the “guess how big the tummy is” string game to use an outfit I got from it to bury my baby in.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        November 21, 2013 at 10:59 am #

        ***Awesome Charlie Brown reference!******

        • Lisa the Raptor
          November 21, 2013 at 11:18 am #

          I was wondering if anyone would catch that 🙂

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 21, 2013 at 11:53 am #

            Any good PCM would absolutely notice it.

            In fact, it pretty much makes you a PCM for just using it. See, people? This is the kind of thing that makes a great PCM.

            One last test: how do you pronounce “crochet”?

          • Lisa the Raptor
            November 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

            Why Crochet, of course 😉

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

            How does it sound, though?

  10. Zornorph
    November 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Of course, I’m an evil penis-possessor, so I totally saw birth as a way to get the baby. I couldn’t wait for the birth to be over so I could get my hands on my baby. Fortunately, my lovely surrogate mum felt the same way about it as I did.

    • Lisa the Raptor
      November 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      I love surrogates BTW. Selfless creatures that they are. Well except for the birth junkies who are hopefully weeded out early on.

      • Zornorph
        November 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

        Any reputable agency would pick up on that and not go forward with them. The odd nut does slip through, but they are pretty good at catching the crazies.

        • Lisa the Raptor
          November 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

          Many times the problems arise in private deals without agencies and lawyers. And that’s where the trouble always starts.

        • November 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

          Question re:surrogacy – what happens if the surrogate wants a HB? Do you get input on any aspect of the birth? Is that sorted up front…?

          • Zornorph
            November 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

            Before you sign a contract, the Intended Parents and surrogate discuss those issues (including but not limited to: selective reduction, abortion for major defects, how the birth is handled, etc). I told my surrogate that I didn’t care how she gave birth as long as it was in a hospital and I wanted to be in the room (but at her head, not looking up her legs). I’m glad she went for something very conventional because during the pregnancy I got very turned off by the idea of a water birth.

            Now it’s possible for a surrogate to change her mind and get all gung-ho on home birth and there’s no real way to stop that, but most surrogates wouldn’t do anything like that. There was only the case of that horrible woman who recently refused to abort a severely deformed child, may she burn in Hell for all eternity.

          • November 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

            Link to that? And thank you!

          • Lisa the Raptor
            November 21, 2013 at 8:24 am #

            Absolutely, you have to know before hand how it is going to go down. Every now and again someone goes rogue and because it is her body you can’t really enforce her having an abortion/or not or birthing at home/or hospital. However, if something happens you can sue her for violation of contract. This is a very very rare outcome, but something potential intended parents should think about and why its important that you have a good contract. And I’m not just saying that because I work for an ARTs attorney 😉

          • Lisa the Raptor
            November 21, 2013 at 8:25 am #

            Also GCs are not any less prone to emergency child birth in a car than any of the rest of us. That is why contracts usually say “To the best of her ability” or ” it is the intention that they birth in a hospital, barring obvious emergencies.”

    • Lisa the Raptor
      November 21, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      BTW I read that as Penis PROFESSOR!. That took me a second 😉

      • Zornorph
        November 21, 2013 at 10:14 am #

        The evil Penis Professor sounds like an X-rated comic book villain.

        • Lisa the Raptor
          November 21, 2013 at 10:18 am #

          Seriously! I was thinking “Could I do that job?…I think maybe so” lol

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          November 21, 2013 at 11:01 am #

          It’s Ron Jeremy.

        • Teleute
          November 22, 2013 at 12:59 am #

          Ever hear of Captain Condom and Lady Latex?


          • Felicitasz
            November 22, 2013 at 11:08 am #


            (Once again I realize that I keep coming back for my cultural education as well as the on-topic information.)

          • Teleute
            November 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

            My friend’s mother used to teach sex ed, so she had the entire collection. She also had an *incredibly* awkward childhood. I remember watching The Simpsons in her basement when her mom suddenly comes downstairs with a sex-ed board game in hand, wanting to play with us.

  11. The Bofa on the Sofa
    November 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    My wife and I never really talked about :”giving birth” or anything like that, our language was “we had a baby.” That was the way to describe what happened, without the baggage of worrying about how.

    What mattered to us was that, before the baby was born, we didn’t have him, and then after he was born, we did have him. Having the baby was what mattered.

  12. cwill
    November 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Heh. I’ve been feeling guilty because I just don’t care at all about birth #2. I feel like I should read something or do some visualization or watch a video or something… but I’m all, meh, let me know when the baby gets here.

    • MaineJen
      November 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      LOL…I think my ‘birth plan’ for my 2nd child went something like this: “Don’t tell me how/when to breathe, and give me the epidural when I ask for it.” I feel like we did just fine, even though I skipped the guided meditation and instructional videos.

  13. meglo91
    November 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    If I could grow my children in tanks, I would. Because 1) it would be cool to watch and 2) I wouldn’t have to deal with PIH, enormous weight gain, my aching back, stretch marks, and, oh yeah, the real non-cosmetic risks of childbirth.

    • Zornorph
      November 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      In the year 6565
      Ain’t gonna need no husband, won’t need no wife
      You’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too
      From the bottom of a long glass tube

      • itry2brational
        November 21, 2013 at 10:08 am #

        Husbands and wives will still be needed…children need their parents, both of them.

        • Dr Kitty
          November 21, 2013 at 10:28 am #

          Children need to be raised by people who love and care for them.
          They do not have to be blood relatives and there do not have to be two of them as long as the child is cared for and loved 24/7.

          • itry2brational
            November 21, 2013 at 11:46 am #

            Parents are loving, caring people too but it seems you have a different impression. A pedophile will love and care for a child/children so its not so simple. As for not having two, there’s a great deal of data which suggests otherwise …particularly with regard to outcomes from fatherless homes/families. Two people loving a child is literally greater than one. Twice the love and care 24/7. 🙂

          • Vyx
            November 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

            I think classifying a pedophile as caring for a child is a misuse of ‘care’ in every sense of the word.

          • November 22, 2013 at 12:04 am #

            Actually, two people is very good because the dual income is really freaking helpful. Remove the effects of poverty from the measures of outcomes of children of single parents, and oh look! Single parenting isn’t really a problem anymore.

    • rh1985
      November 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      I wish we could do that! I would love watching mine.

  14. Maria
    November 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    I must admit that I too am more interested in birth as a way to meet my baby rather then as an “experience” in and of itself. This is especially true now that I have already done it once (a very boring, not too long, epidural birth). Having said that, I think women who have experienced a particularly traumatic birth might have a different perspective.

  15. SarahSD
    November 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    “For homebirth advocates (and many natural childbirth advocates), birth
    is a piece of performance art and the baby is nothing but a prop.” It’s also really bad performance art.

    • Zornorph
      November 19, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      What if you crap your baby out on the rocks by a stream in the rain forest? That must be worth a song or two, yes? I think ‘rainforest birth’ should at least be a fragrance of hand soap. Though it would probably smell like sweat, blood and dirt mixed together…

      • MichelleJo
        November 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

        When I saw that woman walking around naked in the open in broad daylight, it was clear that she had obviously lost it. I didn’t bother with the rest.

  16. auntbea
    November 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    I wonder how many hard-core NCB’ers come from deeply misogynistic families where they have been told time and again that it’s okay that they aren’t as smart and it’s fair that they aren’t as powerful because they get To Have Babies.

    • prolifefeminist
      November 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      I used to know a group of people who did in fact believe this. The old, “don’t worry too much about being ‘overly educated’ or capable of supporting yourself – your future is in your ability to have babies and be a wife.” Obviously, being a mother and homemaker are worthwhile, necessary, and honorable positions in life – but they should never be a substitute for proper education and the ability to fend for oneself if desired or necessary. Telling women and girls otherwise is a nasty little way to control them, and yes, I do see elements of that pretty strongly in the NCB world.

      • VeritasLiberat
        November 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

        The NCB types I am familiar with don’t bother to get married. They have an offspring or two with their soul mate, then the planets realign or whatever and they are no longer soul mates, so these womyn move on to some other guy who is allegedly their real true soul mate this time. In between guys, they are such a free spirit that they find a normal job oppressive, so their family is poor, which is of course the patriarchy’s fault.

        • Lisa Cybergirl
          November 20, 2013 at 3:31 am #

          Every time I’ve heard someone refer to their soul mate, the next thing I hear about them is that they split up!

          • Wren
            November 20, 2013 at 7:38 am #

            I got married pretty young and I have to say our marriage got a lot better once we realised we weren’t “soul mates” but two people who love each other but still have to work on it to keep our relationship going as we both grow and change.

    • yentavegan
      November 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Hit the nail on the head! The only outlet available for me to express anything remotely feminist was birth. I actually believed that eschewing the epidural was praiseworthy sacrifice for the cause.

    • Hannah
      November 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      I’ve often thought the overlap between here and the blog No Longer Quivering (for ex-fundamentalist Christians) was stunningly remarkable. Both in the religious-like attitude used to convince women to homebirth, and the use of homebirth by religion to keep women submissive. NCB seems to be both a cult and a tool for cults.

  17. rh1985
    November 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Honestly I couldn’t care less about birth if there was a way to poof my baby out of me without having to give birth I’d take that! I just want her here safe and healthy and me safe and healthy.

    • prolifefeminist
      November 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      I LOVE the excitement that surrounds birth – there’s nothing quite like the day your baby is born! But the pain of birth and all that – oh yes, I could definitely do without that part. Seriously. I’d like to take those moments of sheer joy when you first meet your baby, and all the excitement leading up to it, and have it say, oh, over happy hour. 🙂

      When I was caught up in NCB, I thought that all the pain leading up to the moment of birth somehow made the joy all the more wonderful. But after having had three sections, the joy is still there just as much as it was during the two vaginal births I had. NCB is like waiting with great anticipation for a good friend to arrive from far away, and then being disappointed upon their arrival when you find out that they flew instead of driving. What difference does it make?? They’re HERE, safe and sound – that’s what really matters. And if the way they traveled truly bothers you, I’m sorry but you’ve got issues that need to be dealt with.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        November 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm #


        It’s “having a baby” that’s exciting.

    • Trixie
      November 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      I would also like a machine that makes all baby teeth come in instantly and painlessly. Between these two devices, I think I could have 6 kids.

    • Antigonos CNM
      November 20, 2013 at 12:51 am #

      After the second C/S my husband asked the doctor if there wasn’t a way to install a zipper.

  18. Carolina
    November 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    That stock photo looks like Fred Arminsen in a wig. That’s all I have.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      November 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      I voted that up, and I don’t even know who Fred Arminsen is.

    • prolifefeminist
      November 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      There’s not enough placenta to go around because everyone is wolfing it down to try to stop the PPH’s after the cinnamon gum breath their HB midwife blew on their faces didn’t work.

      Although, I’ve gotta say…I’m getting a little suspicious about something. Now that so many birth kits contain Big Red, has anyone thought to wonder why Big Gum is trying to interfere with the natural process of birth? What are their real motives? Women’s bodies were designed to bleed – I just don’t see what the problem is here. Extreme blood loss is just a variation of normal. It’s most likely the uterus’s way of crying because it’s not the center of attention anymore. A hearty chunk of placenta and affirmations should be enough to soothe the distressed uterine spirit. If it’s not, well…women die in hospitals too. We just have to accept that some women aren’t meant to live.

      • Zornorph
        November 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

        I have something else I like to call ‘Big Red’…

      • Certified Hamster Midwife
        November 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

        Y’know, I’m sucking on a cinnamon candy right now, and I had completely forgotten about that “treatment.”

        • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
          November 20, 2013 at 10:42 am #

          Tsk tsk. Cinnamon candy is a powerful medicine that shoild not be used so frivolously. You are going to build up a tolerance and then it wont work when you need it!

  19. Allie P
    November 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    The day we all get Star-Trek style beaming is a happy day for pregnant women and their caretakers. Just beam that baby out. No messing with incisions OR cervixes.

    • Josephine
      November 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

      Why not some futuristic clear pod (preferably artfully designed to also be aesthetically pleasing)? It would be at some nice, clean, well-designed facility with all sorts of backup generators and you could stop in a few times a week after, say, dinner and some wine to say hi to the developing fetus. I’m having a hard pregnant day, is it obvious?

      • Amy M
        November 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

        Didn’t they have that in Brave New World?

        • Josephine
          November 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

          Did they? I admit I’ve never read it so I have no idea! I fully confess I could have very well picked it up out of the ether somewhere reading something or the other, though I can’t say for sure.

          Accidental internet comment plagiarism, I need to go to comment jail. 😉

          • Amy M
            November 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

            Nah, it’s a good idea, so I could see how many could reach that same conclusion independently. And I could be misremembering anyway, but I do think it was in one of those dystopia books.

          • Josephine
            November 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

            Seems as likely as anything – of course for me it’d be more a utopian idea…

          • Young CC Prof
            November 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

            Lois McMaster Bujold wrote it in a much more positive future scenario, where most parents go to a clinic, provide gametes, have the zygote checked for genetic disorders or chromosomal imbalance, then put it in the baby box. You can even keep the baby box at home and talk to it.

          • prolifefeminist
            November 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

            So not cool! You should wear that baby in a box strapped to your chest every waking moment. Sleep with it at night. Take it with you everywhere. That’s what GOOD parents do. Right?? Oh wait…

            You know that if we went there, they would too. It would only be a matter of time.

          • Young CC Prof
            November 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

            Actually, in the first book, the main character muses on her sister’s conviction that carrying children in her body was somehow more special than making them in a box. Main character sees no difference between body babies and box babies. It actually reads a whole lot like extreme lactivism vs formula is OK.

          • VeritasLiberat
            November 20, 2013 at 9:18 am #

            Was there any discussion of the box being saferfor the baby? Boxes don’t get gestational diabetes or eclampsia or cancer or fall down the stairs…

          • Young CC Prof
            November 20, 2013 at 9:36 am #

            That same character later wound up carrying a baby physically. Then she became rabidly in favor of baby boxes after her son was permanently harmed because someone tried to poison her while she was pregnant.

          • Carolyn the Red
            November 20, 2013 at 11:17 am #

            Oh, more than that, if I remember it correctly, it wasn’t the poison that harmed her son in utero, it was the treatment to save her life that was teratogenic.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            November 21, 2013 at 10:49 am #

            Later in the same book, the fetus was moved to a baby box and the baby box lost behind enemy lines. It was an interesting demonstration of there being risk to pretty much any method of reproduction.

          • Josephine
            November 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

            I just googled! You’re totally right about it being in Brave New World. I bet I read some reference to it and it stuck in my head.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife
            November 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

            Bye baby banting, you’ll soon need decanting.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          November 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

          It shows up in other sci fi as well. I think it qualifies as a trope at this point. Plus, there’s no inherent reason why we couldn’t do this, it’s just that no one*’s thought developing an artificial uterus important enough to actually go through with it yet.

          *That is to say, no one with enough money to fund the studies necessary to make it happen.

          • auntbea
            November 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

            March of Dimes should get on that. Solves the prematurity problem.

          • Bombshellrisa
            November 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

            Solves every other problem too-from miscarriage to GD to pre-eclampsia. Not to mention PPH.

          • VeritasLiberat
            November 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

            It might even solve the abortion issue in most cases. For example: you don’t want to be a parent but your boyfriend does? Sign the fetus over to him and he can “keep it in a box”.

          • Mishimoo
            November 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

            The only problem with that is most of the pro-lifers I know also believe babies should never be separated from their mothers, because men are nearly useless and are only good for one thing: ‘providing for their family’.

          • MichelleJo
            November 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

            You’d probably call me a pro-lifer, although I am one by default, following Jewish law where in most cases abortions are forbidden. But no, I do NOT consider men only good for providing. I wouldn’t and couldn’t cope with my kids without my husband’s help. In fact, if a kid wakes up at night, he cries for Daddy. I face the other way to hide my grin before falling back to sleep. (I’m not always that wicked, only most of the time.)

          • Mishimoo
            November 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

            Hence the use of ‘most’ 🙂
            I was hoping that not every pro-lifer is like my best friend’s mum, who would not be out of place in either the Quiverfull Movement or the militant pro-life movement.

          • Antigonos CNM
            November 20, 2013 at 1:00 am #

            Actually, Jewish Law is surprisingly liberal within certain parameters, but a great many Jews don’t know it. See:


            or http://tinyurl.com/ptmvdcw

            It might be difficult to get hold of the book, however, as it seems not to be in print.

          • MichelleJo
            November 20, 2013 at 6:10 am #

            As all my pregnancies took place in a stable marriage where the pregnancy was wanted, abortion has never been an issue for me. I certainly have never had to take a stand on the pro-life or pro-choice debate. Although Jewish law, as you say is surprisingly liberal, today I imaging that the abortion issue is mainly because of an extremely liberal lifestyle, which Judaism forbids, and abortion are as a result of these pregnancies, they would come under the class of forbidden abortions. Me says.

          • Wren
            November 20, 2013 at 7:34 am #

            What exactly do you mean by “the abortion issue is mainly because of an extremely liberal lifestyle”?
            Abortions are not all had by young women or teens who sleep around. Even adult, married women can be in a position in which another child or another pregnancy just does not work. Any woman, whatever her socio-economic and marital status, could have a pregnancy in which the fetus is not likely to survive long past birth or develop an illness for which the treatment is incompatible with a viable pregnancy. Abortion is about a lot more than sluts getting pregnant.
            Even if it weren’t, I have a hard time seeing women who are not married but have sex as leading an “extremely liberal lifestyle” in the current world.

          • MichelleJo
            November 21, 2013 at 7:18 am #

            Wren, I apologize if what I commented came over as all abortions being a result of a lifestyle that would not have been accepted in Victorian times.

            You say ” I have a hard time seeing women who are not married but have sex as leading an “extremely liberal lifestyle” in the current world.” I never said that they were. I was referring to exactly what you were, to pregnancies of young women or teens who sleep around. This is definitely a more recent phenomenon and has caused a significant rise in the number of unintended pregnancies leading to abortions, and why abortion has become such a hot topic in recent years. Jewish law is liberal in the very kind of abortions you describe, where the child is not viable, severely deformed, or other similar problems. It also takes into account pregnancies caused by rape, and if abortion can be performed within the first 40 days.These are definitely things that Jewish law weighs up. I apologize if I came over as referring to any pregnancy outside of marriage as an over liberal lifestyle. Although I personally am forbidden to do it, I can appreciate that many people would, and I am not judging them.

          • Young CC Prof
            November 21, 2013 at 10:29 am #

            In Victorian times, unmarried women had sex, got pregnant, and then dumped the perfectly healthy babies in orphanages so poorly funded that 90% of the babies died and the few survivors were developmentally stunted. Nothing new about sex.

          • MichelleJo
            November 21, 2013 at 10:52 am #

            It would appear though that they did see it as something bad, hence the dumping,

          • Young CC Prof
            November 21, 2013 at 10:58 am #

            Oh, yes. Having illegitimate children was viewed as bad, back in the day. Being an illegitimate child was worse. Moving away from the first belief may or may not have been a good idea, but I’m rather glad our society has mostly abandoned the second belief, at least.

          • Wren
            November 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

            Thank you.
            I don’t completely agree with your distinction between young women who sleep around and those who just have sex outside of marriage, and I’m not totally sure that more unintended pregnancies are actually occurring. I think it is likely that abortion is simply a more available option, as opposed to being sent away to have a baby or being forced into marriage.

          • prolifefeminist
            November 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

            Most of the pro-lifers I know don’t believe that at all. The ones I know are pretty big on equality between partners. Then again, most of them are non-religious and progressive. Some of the uber religious and faux feminist ones have some pretty screwy ideas (either that the man is superior and the woman is his servant, or the other way around).

            But yea, that would be pretty cool if we could invent an artificial womb. A compassionate and peaceful solution to a conflict of rights is always a good thing.

          • BeatlesFan
            November 20, 2013 at 9:44 am #

            Only if we get to call him “Loretta”.

          • MichelleJo
            November 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

            And HG!

          • Young CC Prof
            November 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

            I’m not sure we can build a replacement for the maternal part of the placenta that stays clean without anticoagulants. That’s part of the reason ECMO is imperfect and can’t be used on micro-preemies, the coagulants are dangerous. And of course, the “maternal” fluid isn’t hooked up to lungs, small intestine, liver, kidneys and heart, so you need to add food and oxygen, remove metabolic wastes and carbon dioxide, and keep it circulating at a nice high blood pressure for baby, all without introducing infection. (No, the chemicals used to clean dialysis machines probably wouldn’t be good for baby.)

            The technical problems are… not exactly within reach, but maybe not insurmountable. It’d be an interesting moon shot, anyway, and who knows what else we might find along the way.

          • MichelleJo
            November 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

            I’m sure a car mechanic could think of a way. I’d pay a lot for that invention.

          • Antigonos CNM
            November 20, 2013 at 12:54 am #

            A long time ago I read that the Japanese are working on the idea of an artificial uterus for the extremely premature, whose organ systems are so immature that they cannot live outside the uterus. Never read that there was much progress, however.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            November 21, 2013 at 9:59 am #

            Eh, we use anticoagulants in the natural system all the time. ECMO isn’t a physiologic situation. A true artificial uterus might actually require less in the way of anticoagulation, especially if you could work out endothelialized surfaces.

    • LovleAnjel
      November 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      When I was asked what kind of birth I wanted (natural or not), my stock
      reply was that I wanted them to beam the baby out of my body.

    • SarahSD
      November 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

      No. Babies that are beamed out before they decide they are ready will only cause more problems for the world (ie, conflict, war, and other bad things). This will create a generation of lost children who don’t know where they came from and have no direction in life. Besides, how will they learn to be decent humans without the perfectly designed combination of vigorous, intense squeezing and the natural cocktail of love hormones?

      • November 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

        Can they beam the Birthy Smells?

        • Petanque
          November 20, 2013 at 5:28 am #

          and hats?

          • Amy M
            November 20, 2013 at 6:54 am #

            Only if they have the hats in there with them.

          • Petanque
            November 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

            Surely we have the technology to preplace the hats!

      • araikwao
        November 20, 2013 at 6:05 am #

        Babies know when to be beamed

    • Starling
      November 20, 2013 at 6:37 am #

      Can we get on that research, o scientists? Because I’d love for the baby transporter to be available at a hospital near me by about mid-January. The fetus I’m hauling around is expressing his dissatisfaction with the cramped quarters by drumming on the ceiling (not unlike the downstairs neighbor in my last apartment) and I’m thinking his housing arrangement is not sustainable in the long term.

  20. Renee
    November 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    There is nothing wrong with wanting the experience to be a good one, and doing things to make that happen, I just cannot see putting this above safety. They are putting the cart before the horse- if the experience is good, than good will follow. Its part of their belief system that they can create an experience with their thoughts.

    • WhatPaleBlueDot
      November 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      I think my biggest questions is why the hell is a homebirth/natural birth a good experience? The very idea of uncontrolled pain, the terror of lack of access to or delay of lifesaving treatment, the pressure of doing it right or creating a serial killer… nothing about that says “good experience” to me.

      • antigone23
        November 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

        I agree. That experience doesn’t appeal to me at all. I enjoyed my medicalized births tremendously. I liked not being in pain, being surrounded by experts, and feeling safe.

      • Trixie
        November 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

        I know it’s weird, but I actually did enjoy my birth without pain meds. In a hospital though.

        • meglo91
          November 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

          It’s not weird. You like what you like. If you didn’t want meds, that’s cool. It’s legit to want to do things your way. It’s just not legit to tell everyone else that because they didn’t do a lotus birth/eat the placenta/go without meds because you did and it’s the only way. Not that that is what you are doing.

          • prolifefeminist
            November 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm #


        • Mishimoo
          November 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

          Same, but like you, I wouldn’t tell people that it’s what they have to do in order to be a good parent and/or bond with the baby.

        • prolifefeminist
          November 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

          Same here, although my first one without meds was pretty horrible (10 hours of back labor…ouch). Second one was pretty great actually – challenging, but an experience I’d happily repeat. BUT, and it’s a big but, I’m smart enough to realize that every labor is different, so it’s idiotic to try to tell other women how they should manage their labors.

          The other problem too is that the NCB/HB movement actively lies to women to sell them on HB. Like MichelleJo said, midwives are out there telling women that “birth is as safe as life gets” and that home is “as safe or safer than a hospital because you don’t have complications from interventions.” My midwife told me these things. They’re all out there spewing absolute falsehoods about safety, and there’s zero accountability for it. They can falsely advertise all day long and not get in an ounce of trouble for it. Ridiculous.

          • MichelleJo
            November 21, 2013 at 9:59 am #

            I would call it more than ridiculous – it’s scandalous.They are literally peddling death. to fulfill a hobby of theirs.

      • MichelleJo
        November 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

        I can understand it. If I was totally brainwashed by the NCB attitude, that I am as safe as I can get, what could be better than just staying at home, with my own shower and bed? I wouldn’t have to check into hospital when I was in labor, nor would I have that horrible ride to the hospital. My later labors were so fast that I didn’t get any pain relief anyway, and there wouldn’t be this panic to get there in time.

      • Petanque
        November 20, 2013 at 5:33 am #

        I have family members who believe that the more you experience the physicality of life closely (i.e. no painkillers or medications for anything, minimal technology), the purer and “better” a person you are.
        That’s all fine to choose for yourself I guess, but when my sister-in-law felt her son’s seizures shouldn’t be medicated because it was better for him to “learn to work through them” I couldn’t remain silent any longer . . . .

      • Bombshellrisa
        November 20, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

        Not to mention the chances are high that your birth video will end up on YouTube, naked lady bits and all

      • Jenny Star
        November 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

        Someone I know who did the birth center thing was just waxing rhapsodic about this on a locked blog recently, bemoaning that she *didn’t* reach a level of pain so terrible that she reached “ego dissolution” from being completely and totally unable to cope – although she almost did. There’s no understanding people with that level of masochism, really.

        • Dr Kitty
          November 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

          I think she’s on the wrong type of locked blog.

          There may well be a small subset of NCB people who are really into the pain. I think in particular the people from very religious backgrounds might feel that gleeful acceptance of childbirth pain is acceptable, but would be horrified if you suggested that they might find the BDSM scene a good fit.

          If you’re too vanilla for 50 Shades, but secretly really like pain…NCB is for you!

          It is certainly what I think of when I hear “orgasmic birth” or stories of women using vibrators during labour,

        • MichelleJo
          November 21, 2013 at 9:56 am #

          rhapsodic. You just taught me a new word, and an excellent example of where it would be used!

  21. Trixie
    November 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Every time I hear the phrase “birth as performance,” I picture the Game of Thrones scene where Melisandre gives birth to Stannis’s shadow-assassin love-child in a cave.

    • Zornorph
      November 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      They didn’t show the part where she inhaled the shadow placenta. Gave her one hell of a buzz, too.

  22. Gene
    November 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    I’ve got it! The JOURNEY! The journey is the important thing, not the destination! Except instead of bemoaning traveling by Ferrari versus Volvo versus Yugo, the NCB movement is insisting on flatbed mule drawn wagons for all. Or are wheels the evil invention, convincing us that our own feet are the only method. With no thought given to anyone with defective lower limbs since nature wouldn’t make a human not capable of self locomotion.

    • November 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      The “Destination doesn’t matter” philosophy never really appealed to me. I am a person who gets lost all the time and nobody knows as well as I do that destinations do matter. A lot.

      • LibrarianSarah
        November 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

        Seeing that the final destination is death, I wouldn’t mind getting a bit lost on my way there.

  23. Susan
    November 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    The promo video trailer made me cringe… gives me the big time uh oh feeling and disgust for the “human rights” … it’s all about the midwife’s rights to give any kind of unsafe care at home that gives her a thrill.

  24. Pillabi
    November 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    [ typo: “o temporA! o mores!” ]

  25. Guest
    November 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    But for all but the genetically-blessed few, birth just sucks. It is a testament to my love for my children that I stood it for them. Birth was the day I had to get through to get to my prize, which was them.

    • Trixie
      November 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      I know one of those genetically blessed few. She had two completely pain-free, rapid births. Not because she tried. This was back in the late 50s. She was in the hospital in what they thought was early labor. Felt she had to use the bathroom, called for the nurse, stood up, and the baby came out.

      • Amazed
        November 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

        My grandmother went all the way from her village to the town hospital to give birth to her second, only to nearly miss the birth! In fact, she was there talking to the doctors why labour wouldn’t start, only those pains she had been having for weeks, and she was told that she was, in fact, in labour. She didn’t believe them and almost sat down on her baby’s head to argue with them.

        Strange enough, the experience was horrifying. To her, the lesson she took with her was that next time, she might give birth in her cowshed without realizing that she was doing so. And she did not like the idea at all.

        Shame on her!

  26. Amy M
    November 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Yeah, my OB was so NOT about owning the birth of my children that she wasn’t even there, a different OB was. If she was as possessive as ol’Sarah here implies, she’d have swooped in and done a Csection as soon as I walked in the door. But I’m pretty sure all of us saw it as “the way to get the babies.” After all, they had to come out one way or another, preferably alive and healthy.

    I suppose those midwives who never show up at all, not even backup midwives aren’t owning anything either. They sure want the mom to own it if it is a disaster. Unless of course, she transfers to the hospital. Then, the doctors can have it.

  27. drsquid
    November 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    hold the space… sigh. wtf does that possibly mean? how can you be taken at all seriously

    • Amy M
      November 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      Here in New England, if you have on-street parking, you use an old kitchen chair or one of those orange cones to hold the space after a snowstorm, so your lazy-ass neighbors and their visiting friends don’t steal your space that you worked so hard to shovel out. Maybe we can get some of these of midwives to stand in the parking spots instead, because sometimes the city, or possibly your neighbors, will come and throw away your space-holding chair (it was an old bike rack in our case) and steal your space anyway. Space-holding for on-street parking would be a very valuable service.

      • PrimaryCareDoc
        November 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

        Alternatively, we can just replace home birth CPMs with traffic cones. They’re about as useful in an emergency.

        • Trixie
          November 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

          Now that is just unfair. Traffic cones can be quite useful in certain emergencies.

    • Renee
      November 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      It is a concept in new age meditation and yoga. Here are some good explanations for what is basically sitting and doing nothing, taking no responsibility, and leaving it to “the universe”.

      This is perfectly fine in meditation practice, or with friends, but as a HB MW? Criminally irresponsible IMO. But it is tied in with their whole philosophy of “do nothing”. This is where you get HB MWs that sit and knit while baby is dying inside mom.

      Here are some general explanations, not birth related:

      “So. I see “holding space” as fostering a safe and completely non-judmental environment for people to experience what they’re experiencing without interfering in the process of the Universe.

      It’s about unconditional respect, surrender, acceptance, patience, compassion, and support. And most of all, it’s about trust.”


      “It means when someone is going through something, you hold down the ground for them to have their own time and space to work out whatever they’re going through.

      You provide stable, solid ground for them to be completely where they’re at, without judgment, criticism or blame. A neutral territory for the other to just… be. You have faith in their intelligence to figure it out of their own.”


      • Amy M
        November 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

        ‘Cause the ground would fly away otherwise. Without these people, gravity stops working.

      • Dr Kitty
        November 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

        It is a way of saying that you need to be paid for doing nothing, because the nothing you do is really VALUABLE nothing.

        • Petanque
          November 21, 2013 at 6:03 am #

          It’s homeopathic work! I wish I’d figured that out before, I could have retired comfortably by now.

    • Renee
      November 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      Here are a few from birth related “holding space”, where your energy can impede or harm the birth. They claim to get this from wise Native women (which tribe? They never do say), who probably did sit and patiently wait back when there was not much else they could do.
      Many of the killer MWs, like Lisa Barrett, do this and celebrate it, never wondering if doing nothing may have enabled them to miss the signs that led to the deaths they presided over.
      Knitting is popular. It is suppose to make mom feel better, that its all good, because if it wasn’t, she wouldn’t knit, right? As if this can make something happen or not.

      “This kind of presence in labor non-verbally communicates a felt-message of trust in the mother and the process; so knitting is one way of “holding the space.”


      “The term “holding the space” has been widely used, but generally it means being aware of the energy you bring to the birth space and managing it appropriately by sometimes…DOING nothing.

      I also call this “DOula more by DOing less”.”

      “Doing nothing is harder than it sounds. When a woman is moaning or pacing the halls, it is our instinct to “help”. But often, these are her very own wise and instinctual coping techniques.”

      From: http://thisholywork.com/2011/09/25/holding-the-space/

      At least this is a doula, and not in charge of actual medical things. Still, I cannot see paying someone to do nothing.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        November 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

        wise Native women

        Hmm…I’m 1/16 and change Native American. And as such my inner wise Native woman would like to say, “Screw that! Give me the drugs when I’m in pain! Give me monitoring and a live baby! Sure, I’d like a pretty room to give birth in and whale sounds* in the background, but if the shit hits the fan I want a nice, sterile, impersonal OR ready to rescue me. What, you thought we didn’t like technology as much as Anglos? WRONG!”

        *Actually, my NA ancestors were from northern Mexico, i.e. desert and whale song would be totally not our thing, but rattlesnake and scorpion noises in the background sounds wrong somehow…Maybe a nice, wild, life giving thunderstorm?

        • November 20, 2013 at 1:45 am #

          Maybe haunting flute music? I think the Hopi and Zuni territory originally included Arizona, New Mexico, and down into what is now Northern Mexico.

      • PrimaryCareDoc
        November 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

        They don’t have to mention which tribe. For those who specialize in cultural appropriation, all indigenous cultures are the same. Just pick and chose whatever appeals.

        • Trixie
          November 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

          Just like the old “babies never cry in Africa” trope.

  28. Anonable
    November 19, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Oh my goodness. I know and have worked withSarah since before she was a CPM. She has always been, in my opinion, rather super-woo, even for the home birth community of our area.

    • Amazed
      November 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      I spotted her at Navelgaging Midwife blog a few years ago. She was mortally offended that her, then ongoing, CPM education wasn’t taken seriously.

  29. Mel
    November 19, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    “The doctors seem to think that it’s their birth, their baby and their placenta,” she says.

    If we’re gonna get all hissy about possession of the placenta, I’d like to note that the placenta is fetally-derived tissue. The placenta, if owned by anyone, would be owned by the newborn.

    Also, the birth that is occurring is the birth of the BABY. Not the mom. She was born at some point in the past.

    Yes, the baby is technically “yours” but possession and the responsibilities therein are often shared with the father of the baby.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife
      November 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      Or the other mother. Or the adoptive couple. Or the kibbutz…

      Once birth is over, the baby no longer physically needs the mother, NCB dogma aside.

      • MichelleJo
        November 20, 2013 at 5:20 am #

        My Dad was born on a kibbutz, and got three months to be with his parents. After that, it was off to the baby dorm. I’m not advocating this kind of lifestyle, but he had a lifetime caring and loving relationship with his parents. They left the kibbutz when he was five, and during all that time, he was cared for by whoever had whatever duty that day. My Grandma was actually the ironing lady, she ironed all the men’s shirts for eight hours a day. They kind of saw each other at mealtimes, but they weren’t sitting on the same table. I often wonder how the kids even knew who their parents were, but from pictures I have seen, they all seem to be having a good time. There is one particularly funny picture of about 20 two year old boys, one of them my uncle, all sitting on potties. Someone was assigned to get them all trained.

        • BeatlesFan
          November 20, 2013 at 10:07 am #

          I’d never heard of this before. When I read the part of Gulliver’s Travels where he describes how the Lilliputians raise their children for one year and then send them off to be raised in a community by strangers, I thought, “That’s fucking nuts! I couldn’t imagine being expected to hand over my baby for someone else to raise!” My mind is a bit blown to discover this happens in real life.

          • MichelleJo
            November 21, 2013 at 10:40 am #

            Kibbutzim like this were very common in Israel following the establishment of the state. It was mainly because there were so many holocaust survivors left without any family or friends, that they tended to get into groups in the DP camps, or towns where they used to live, but 99% of the community had been wiped out. They called themselves kibbutzim, which just means ‘groups’ in hebrew, and made their way to Israel. They were penniless, and had no family support. So they considered themselves to be one big family and worked a kind of co-operative farm to be able to provide for themselves in an efficient way. It gave them a sense of belonging. For people like my grandmother, who is German and was the sole survivor of her entire extended family, it was really the only welcome place to be, She got married in ’49 while the kibbutz was still in Europe, and had three children on the kibbutz in Israel. The men worked the fields, the women took care of household type jobs, and the children did things like picking grapes. They were still penniless, as they could only manage enough production to sustain themselves, and not to sell and profit, but it worked for them. Although there are a couple of communal kibbutzim still going, most of them fizzled out after 10-20 years and turned into something more farm like, which produced a single product as their industry with a few families living there, in their own homes.

          • BeatlesFan
            November 21, 2013 at 11:50 am #

            Thank you for the detailed explanation! I wasn’t intending to poke fun, so sorry if I came across that way. The community lifestyle I can understand, it’s just hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of handing off my baby to be raised by a bunch of other people. Did the kids go back to the parents at night, or did the children have their own sleeping area?

          • MichelleJo
            November 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

            No, you came across as interested, not as poking fun. The kids only got to sleep with their parents until they were 3 months old, after which they were in the ‘children’s house’, where there were adults on duty in shifts around the clock. I think they saw it as efficiency, like if my Gran was up at night with a baby, she wouldn’t be able to do her day job properly, and it would affect the running of the kibbutz. For three months after birth though, the mothers were free of all duties.

    • Zornorph
      November 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

      Which, of course, means that the placenta-eaters are literally eating their young.

  30. Elizabeth A
    November 19, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    And that is why, in the final analysis, I found my c-section to be such a positive and healing experience, despite all my fears beforehand. I could not be more satisfied with the end results.

  31. The Computer Ate My Nym
    November 19, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Biermeier, a mother of five, admits she was a little nervous about how
    the birth complications that occurred during filming would be received
    by audiences. Three of the babies needed help getting out, and one
    needed mouth-to-mouth.

    Hey, OBs, is a rate of 3 out of 4 babies needing “help getting out” normal? I’m wondering if she’s actually selectively picking high risk women to “help”.

    • Karen in SC
      November 19, 2013 at 11:13 am #

      mouth to mouth? I’m sure that neonatal resuscitation performed by a professional trained in the method would be much more effective!

      • Dr Kitty
        November 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

        NCB get all sad about CS babies whose lives are saved by the CS not having the right gut flora, but apparently a CPM giving a baby mouth to mouth (which is NOT hygienic) is fine?

        • Certified Hamster Midwife
          November 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

          Nah, more flora.

    • Elizabeth A
      November 19, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      I’m not clear on how many births are in the documentary, so I don’t know what the overall stats represented are, but I would prefer to take my chances on SD in the hospital if it’s that common. Personally.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        November 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

        If I understood correctly, 4 deliveries (all singletons) were shown in the movie. Three had complications. That seems high.

        • Amy M
          November 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

          Oh if that is the case, then yeah, I’d agree with you.

    • Amy M
      November 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      I don’t think she meant 3 of her own children, I think she meant 3 of the babies that were filmed being born in her movie.

  32. The Computer Ate My Nym
    November 19, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Biermeier says birth is no longer seen as its own event – it’s seen as “the way to get the baby.”

    Um. Yep, pretty much. Got to admit that I’m guilty of holding this view. And I got a baby too. As performance art, I have to admit that my birth was piss poor, though.

    • Awesomemom
      November 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Yeah mine were boringly complication free for a csection. The only bit of fun and speculation was how big the kids were. Everyone in the OR would throw out a guess including me and then we would wait to see who had guessed the closest.

    • Josephine
      November 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Right? For mine, there was absolutely no drama, no earth-shaking moaning noises (well I did have some pretty rough contractions, but I surprised myself by not being vocal about them), no chanting or Enya over the CD player, no dark, candlelit living room, and very little suspense. (There were also no dolphins or rainforest streams.) The only plot twist was my baby going breech during labor, which as we all know hardly even counts when we’re talking about birth theatrics. Then I laid on an OR table and cheerfully chatted to the doctors/nurses about the procedure as they performed it on me, painlessly. I’m not even a direct-to-video birth. How sad. I really let Mother Nature down.

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