I have written this post before… and though some things are still relevant, others are not as much. I have now had the experience of birthing unassisted since then and have grown in the last 3 years.
Some people I have encountered are truly scared of birth. In their eyes, birth is dangerous. For mother and child and needs not only to be attended but managed.
Though I am not shy about my decisions, I have not talked to many people openly about my plans. However, I do not lie either. If someone asks me where I am going to give birth I will say at home, if they go further and ask if/how I got a midwife I will tell them that we don’t… The same questions always come up after that… who is going to check you? Who is going to cut the cord? and then the what if’s come out… Then I get the comment “you are so brave” or something similar… I respond to the questions simply… no one will check me and I would let a doctor of midwife do it either… The cord will be cut after birth by either Simon or I after a the placenta comes out or longer… the What if’s I don’t go into details and just say that I am ready for many situations and will deal with them at home.
The brave comment is what makes me go crazy….
I am not brave to birth at home. What is brave in my opinion is to entrust my body to someone else. I was willing to do that with my (first) two pregnancies and births and I am not happy with the way that they turned out. Of course I have two gorgeous and healthy boys but the births were long and I felt rushed and threatened. I cried many tears because I felt that I had no control, not control over my body because I knew that I had to let it do its work, but control over my treatment. I wish that I wouldn’t have had so much courage those times to trust these strangers, I wish I would have had the courage to take charge of my own health completely and would have known more when I was pregnant with the boys. Of course, I was raised in a society of fear and was taught that doctors and midwifes were the experts of birth and a woman’s body in pregnancy and that you must surrender your body over to them and trust them. I am glad however, that though I was taught that, I never could believe it…
Now, at about 36 weeks pregnant, the questions of course come in full force when I am out… People that know me a bit more and know of my last birth just ask if I will be doing the same… others that find out have the usual questions but both nearly always say the brave comment.
But what I have realized is that the brave comment often has nothing to do with being “brave” but is often just another way to say “I think you are crazy”. Whereas before I would answer with a confused face, now, I answer directly to that comment by saying that I think the brave people are those that go the hospital. It turns the table and brings up more questions about the things that I want to avoid. The power struggles, the hospital policies that have no basis in health reasons but simple bureaucracy, interventions that are still practices without any scientific backup and all the rest of the negatives of going to the hospital when trying to have a normal and natural birth.
When most people talk about the things that can go wrong they are often talking abut things that are of direct consequence of standard interventions that are often not questioned, so bringing up those risks as a reason that I want to avoid the hospital setting often brings more insight than just saying that I want to avoid the interventions. Of course I know that things can go wrong, but that is why I would rather stay away from the place that holds the most risks and knowing what I know, that is in a hospital setting.
Of course the ‘brave’ comment also seems to point towards just being out of the person’s comfort zone.
I understand that most are just more comfortable in a hospital setting or in the presence of a midwife… I just wish that some people could understand that for many being home alone to give birth is where their comfort is at the highest. For some that is at home, for others that is in a hospital setting. Having people observe and having people around makes my labour stall, makes me go into the ‘fight or flight’ response. The more stressful the situation, the more my body shuts down and labour is hindered and being with the exact people that are hindering the birth by their presence alone, then they decide to start intervening and the cycle starts to spiral.It as already happened twice to me. The second time, my power was given back to me by the words and encouragement of a visiting midwife and I was able to get my power back, tell everyone to leave me alone and soon after I was giving birth to me second son. That experience showed me that being alone is what I need.
Whatever the reason it is being said, the brave comment often just gets to me.
It has nothing to do with being brave but with making an informed decision that I believe is best. It is about staying within my comfort zone and choosing what I believe is the safest place to give birth.
I would be brave if I did the opposite of what I am comfortable doing.