I knew that I wanted a home birth when a midwife guest lectured in one of my classes in college when I was 21 years old. She taught us about the hormones involved in labor and how they can be altered by the mother’s state of mind and environment during labor. She then explained that once one intervention is introduced into the woman’s system, it triggers a snowball effect that could require more interventions. A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is the professional of uncomplicated natural births, which means they recognize immediately when something is awry because it is amiss of the process they are so familiar with. Ninety percent of births are uncomplicated and for that ten percent that is complicated, they will know early and take proper action before an emergency arises.
The midwife also retold stories of women giving birth standing. For example, the woman who crossed the border of Mexico into a clinic in Texas and shed a single tear as her baby entered the world. Then there was the story of an indigenous Brazilian woman who squat down as she caught her own baby and walked on. These stories were nothing like the images of birth that I had seen in the media and heard about from people I knew who birthed in the hospital.
The midwife showed us that the way we experience pain is very much a cultural thing. Pain is then a perception which means that I can I have some degree of control over how I experience it. After that realization, I enjoyed letting my optimism get ahead of me to paint me as that woman who would take birth standing. The experiences that she shared that day combined with my history of traumatic sport injuries prevented me from ever fearing the pain of labor. I was no stranger to pain and I would bend it. I am a woman and women have babies. My friends would shake their heads and laugh as I would demonstrate how I too would squat down and catch my baby when the day came.
A common response to hearing that I chose a home birth is “You’re brave!” My response to that is, I didn’t make that choice to be brave. I chose it because it makes me feel safer actually. I want to have the freedom of movement and the freedom to trust and listen to my body. People also ask, “what if something goes wrong?” or “what if you want an epidural?” These types of questions come from a fear of an emergency situation or a fear of pain. I already discussed those issues above. It was an easy choice for me and I chose out of love, not out of fear. I am willing to experience the intensity of labor. I want to embrace this unique experience of bringing a person into the world. It is the highest honor. I should feel something. I should feel the impact of this act. It will impact the world too in some way.
With a healthy pregnancy, a wise midwife, and the best husband, I felt excited and eager to meet my baby at home.
Check out the South Bay Homebirth collective at: Southbayhomebirthcollective