Having my baby at home was the most amazing and empowering experience of my life. In some ways it is hard to explain the emotions and effects this experience has had on my life, but I will try my best.
I really want you all to understand what this meant to me… because if there is anything I could say to get you to consider home birth for yourself or to encourage someone else to consider it, I would feel complete. One of my greatest desires is that as many people as possible could experience this life-changing event.
In order for you to understand what brought me to home birth, I need to start at the beginning… my first birth.
Bjørn’s birth in 2009 was a typical hospital birth experience… similar to what many of you have experienced, I’m sure. We checked in to the hospital at 2cm, were given a cascade of interventions… Pitocin, epidurals (twice!), blood pressure meds, catheter, saline, continuous external and internal monitoring… basically most everything that tends to go hand-in-hand with a standard hospital birth.
At the time, of course, it all meant nothing to me. All I cared about was that I was going to soon meet my little boy! I didn’t know much about birth, and the only fear or thought that I had (mostly based on media’s ridiculous portrayal of labor and birth) was that I wanted to avoid a c-section at all costs!
I didn’t end up with a c-section (although it was threatened), so I guess you could say my birth went ‘as planned’… and maybe it did. But I walked away from that hospital feeling very lost, hurt and confused.
This was supposed to be the ‘high’ of my life, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something had gone wrong… that something was missing. I didn’t really understand my feelings, and it would end up taking weeks and months for me to really process them and begin to heal.
I now know that what I had lost was the true experience of giving myself to birth the way God intended it to be. He created this beautiful, perfect process that we as a society have twisted, altered and broken. And the saddest part is we are only hurting each other and ourselves.
Birth, the way it is intended, is meant to be the high of all highs. The ultimate challenge and resulting rush of endorphines and emotions that ultimately shapes who we are as mothers, fathers and families. Taking away the endorphines (which is a side-effect of all the interventions common in birth today) also affects our ability to adapt as fully and freely to this major sacrifical life-change.
Of course we can bond with our children no matter the circumstances of their birth, but I promise you… It’s just not the same. I wish I could explain this better, but as this is just me trying to share my experience with you, I will have to leave it at that for now.
Let me get back to what brought me to home birth. After Bjørn was born, I started doing a lot of research about birth in general. This all led me to Rikki Lake’s documentary “The Business of Being Born”. I watched it and I wept. I finally began to find the answers my heart was looking for, and also learned that I was not alone in my pain.
I was not alone in feeling like something was missing. Something was not right, and even though I did get the perfect end result of a beautiful little baby, it was ok to mourn the loss of birth as God created it. It is ok to grieve even though others may not understand the loss!
I knew at that point that I would want a home birth for my next child. I talked to my husband about my it, and he agreed as he trusted me to make the right decision for our family.