Some say I am brave for choosing homebirth. To me, that’s like saying I’m brave for having a big wedding. No matter how involved the planning, we all know the real work of marriage starts when the wedding is over.
So it is with birth. Our childhood, our growing up, and our pregnancy is the training ground. Birth is the opening ceremony. Motherhood is the marathon.
Some say I am brave for choosing homebirth. Others would counter that choosing a hospital birth is brave.
I say choosing to become a mother is brave, no matter where you choose to bring your child into the world. I say learning to make fully informed decisions — guided by a beautiful hybrid of evidence-based information and your intuition — is brave.
Doing this often means going against the flow of society in general, and the tide of modern obstetrics in specific.
It means navigating endless resources, asking questions, and taking time to figure out answers. It means identifying, confronting, and processing fears, anxieties, and stressors that hinder you from being able to fully trust your body and your chosen care provider. It means letting go of a process we have very little control over, when all is said and done, and forming realistic expectations about your birth based on your unique emotional health, health history, and risk factors.
It means being able to tell your well-meaning loved ones that you appreciate their input, but that you are choosing a different way than they did. It sometimes means being willing to give up your ideal for reality — whether that entails a homebirth transfer, an unplanned cesarean, or an accidental homebirth.
The location of your birth doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you got there.
Navigating the road on this journey isn’t as simple as using GPS systems to decide where to turn. It’s less like a road trip, and more like a sea voyage. You may have all the tools in the world in your boat, but unless you use them, the horizon looks exactly the same no matter which direction you look. Sure, you can guess which direction is the right way to go, but you can’t really know unless you have a destination in mind, and you’re able to use the tools around you.
It’s up to you to pick up those tools and make use of them. No one else is really in that boat with you.
It’s up to you to be brave.
Where do you want to go?
Do your homework. Take nothing for granted. Never say never. Then, when you know where you want to be, pick up the tools you have and get yourself there. No one else can (or will) do this for you.
Some say I am brave for choosing homebirth.
What really made me brave was my willingness to open my mind and look beyond the status quo at all the options available to me. That was the hard part. What continues to make me brave is looking four little ones in the face each morning, and loving them in spite of the challenges that mothering them presents.
Some say I am brave. I say that all mothers are brave; some just have not figured it out yet.
When did you realize your bravery as a mother? In what moments have you been brave as a mother?
Pick up good books. Take an evidence-based childbirth class. Know where evidence-based information resides on the internet. (It’s not typically at BabyCenter, just FYI.) Ask questions of your care provider every appointment. Hire a doula. Look outside your box. Interview providers you might not have considered. Confront your anxieties and fears about birth – with professional help if you think you need it.
Grace & Peace,