How to Tell (or NOT tell) Your Friends & Family About Your Home Birth Plans
The best advice I can give in this area is by recounting my own experience.
(Each situation – each relationship, is different and should be handled accordingly. I can offer you tips and suggestions, but ultimately, use your own discretion)
When I told my mom I was thinking about having a home birth, she was cutting my hair (she’s a hairdresser/salon owner). She looked up at me briefly, said “mm hmm?” and tried to keep a calm look on her face while she continued cutting.
“I just can’t imagine giving birth in a hospital,” I went on to say. I could tell she had a level of concern. She knew I was the type of person to do things…differently.
In a lowered voice she asked, “well, what if something happens? Aren’t you worried?”
I told her the hospital is right around the corner from our house. She didn’t look too convinced.
That was as far as our conversation went that day.
I didn’t want to scare her, and frankly, I didn’t have enough information gathered to spit out facts and statistics about home birth.
What I did do, was rent her a movie to watch. At the time, I was working at the salon as the receptionist. I put the DVD, The Business of Being Born, by Ricki Lake, in her purse with a note, on Friday afternoon.
During our lunch break on Monday and I brought up The Business of Being Born.
To my delight and surprise my mom had not only watched it over the weekend, her opinion of home birth had completely changed as a result.
With the swift and immediate success of my mother’s shift in attitude about home birth, I decided to give the movie to my grandma.
She was having a harder time getting used to the idea of natural birth and didn’t understand why I would want to give birth naturally if I didn’t have to. At the same time, she has always had a strong trust in my ability to make decisions for myself, and since I was doing a lot of research into home birth, she trusted I was making a good choice.
As with the rest of our family…we didn’t tell them.
And since I was continuing to go to the regular prenatal visits at my local hospital, no one suspected anything unusual. I felt a very strong urge to protect myself from the opinions of those who didn’t fully understand, and I didn’t have the energy to explain and defend our decision.
We decided not to tell the hospital (the group of midwives I was seeing) either.
When a home birth couple who had taken the same natural childbirth class which we were enrolled told their care provider, they were asked not to return. Our instructor, as well as the home birth midwife we hired, suggested that if we wanted to remain clients for the duration of our pregnancy, to keep our plans to ourselves.
*I want to note that this is not always the case. If you have a healthy, respectful dialog with your care provider and feel comfortable talking to them about home birth, you could ask them to be your back up doctor in case transfer is necessary. In my case, I saw a different midwife every time and didn’t form any solid relationships.
We broke the news the day Ella was successfully born at home.
Many of our family members said (after the fact) that they wouldn’t have thought much of it – but I really think this is due to our home birth being successful.
If I’d transferred mid-labor and we’d told our family that story, I think their response would have been different. More like, “I thought you guys were nuts to have a home birth!” or something like that.
I will say, having a successful home birth has taught all of our family members not to be so quick to make up their minds about something they haven’t properly investigated. I’m proud to have brought this situation, which provided an opportunity to grow, to their lives.
Friends have also been inspired by our home birth, one even following in my footsteps by planning her own home birth and hiring the midwife I used.
By my second pregnancy, no one batted an eye at the idea of home birth. They were excited about it actually.
The most important message I’d like to get across is this:
Do not let anyone scare you into making a choice that is not your own. If home birth feels right, and you are a healthy, low-risk mom, by golly, find a midwife and have the birth of your dreams!