Home Birth Advocacy, Motherhood, Pregnancy

The Home Birth Community Live Examined Lives

3 Comments 30 October 2010

In the September-October edition of Mothering Magazine Editor and Publisher Peggy O’Mara begins her column, A Quiet Place, with an excellent article, The Examined Life.

Beginning with a quote from Socrates, “the unexamined life is not worth living,” Peggy goes on to question whether parents today make decisions based on the trust of their own intuition and personal fact-hunting or by mass acceptance.  She then makes the distinction between society at large vs. Mothering readers. The differences between us are large.

For example, 96% of the Mothering readers breastfeed. That’s compared to 22.7% nationally who breastfeed up to one year. Forty-six percent of Mothering readers had a midwife present at birth – five times the national rate of 8%.

Us vs. Them

I don’t like to believe, or at least I don’t like to participate in, being on one side or the other. I don’t like to point fingers, name call or say any particular way is wrong.

This is not to say there aren’t sides. There are. And sometimes we don’t get along.

As careful as I am out in the “real world” not to offend, not to say too much or how-to-do anything birth or parenting related, get me around my internet community or close knit tribe of friends and I am a whole different animal.

It is with my community and friends that I am safe to share my opinions. I’m grateful for them – that they’re there for me to confide in. That is what community is for.

Speaking of community, the home birth community is one fine group of people.

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Just as I am careful about what I say to mothers about their particular birthing situation, so are other home birth mothers.

I have never met more women who are so sensitive about the way other women feel, or how they feel about birth, than women who have given birth at home.

Interested in home birth or talking about the option? We will tell you until we run out of breath. We will tell you about home birth with tears in our eyes, laughter in our lungs, standing tall with baby in carrier, or publicly nursing. Home birth was the best experience…

I have never been so proud or grateful to be a part of a group of people.

We are conscious, giving, loving, accepting, natural, we believe in you, free-thinking, intuition gathering, hug giving, fact finding, compassionate, mothers of all walks of life.

Along with all this and in short, we live examined lives.

It is that common thread that pulled each of us toward home birth – coming to the place of knowledge and understanding that giving birth at home will be the safest and most pleasant choice.

You’re telling me I CAN’T? I bet I CAN.

Making decisions, whether that be birth location, vaccinations or circumcision, it is stepping outside of the mainstream for further investigation and freeing up the space to look inward for an answer is exactly what living an examined life is all about.

Going against the grain can be tough. Especially if you are met with resistance. And when those challenges come from a doctor or family member, your will power will be put to the test.

I’d like to share an inspiring story with you about a woman who trusted her gut above all else and achieved the home birth of her dreams.

“It was hard after half my life being told I’d have to have a c-section, absolutely have to, no chance of living through a vaginal (and yet was given a 50% chance of living through a c-section after finding my only intestine adhered to the front of my uterus, high chance of cutting them, the OBs wanted a GI surgical team on hand IN the delivery room!!), but my instincts were screaming so loud that I swear I could audibly hear my gut at time telling me by body IS capable of a fully natural childbirth! My heart and gut won out. I went with a homebirth, the polar opposite! When things were going so well with my labor, I suddenly had the feeling things were about to go wrong, and sure enough, she’s twisted chin-down, but my body still said I could do it. I listened to my gut, and did. I ended up not even tearing. Six days later I was out walking and carrying my baby while her daddy carried the carseat and we went to see Santa Claus! Our bodies want to LIVE even if we mentally want to die. Our bodies’ instinct is to live, and I firmly believe will not tell us we can do something if our bodies know we actually can’t.”
- Aria, Home Birth Mom

If you haven’t yet purchased the Sept.-Oct. edition of Mothering Magazine, I highly encourage it. Read The Examined Life and let me know what you think. Where do you stand on this issue?

Your Comments

3 Comments so far

  1. Anna says:

    I read that article by Peggy O’Mara, “The Examined Life”. Great article. I thought it was really on point. I also think this article is really on point.

    I think homebirthing, in and of itself, is a choice that can only result from living the examined life. The life unexamined would lead us to do as the other 92% of American women, and see an OB, or more likely join the daunting 99%, and give birth in a hospital.

    That’s not to say that everyone who’s ever had a hospital birth is a non-thinking sheeple. No. I was a hospital transfer for postdates once myself, so although I’ve never planned a hospital birth, I have ended up with one before, so I know it can happen even to the most pragmatic of decision-makers. (Right or wrong, I pride myself on pragmatism. I was an engineer before I was a mom. Pragmatism and functionality live in me, and always will.) While I hope I have been clear that hospital birth has its place in some cases, I stand by my original sentiment that homebirth is a choice that can only result from an examined life, and the resulting thought process, and that it differs from hospital birth in that regard.

    It takes a lot to go this far off the beaten path. It takes thought on a level that most of society has not yet delved deep enough to reach. We have. The experiences we will always carry with us, resulting from that, are worth twice their weight in gold.

  2. Jami says:

    LOVE your comment Anna!!!


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