Friday, January 16, 2009


Hello friends,

I plan to write a 'magnum opus' giant essay with footnotes and all that jazz, on the topic of homebirth. However, I just watched an amazingly beautiful birth video, and I can't NOT write a blog post about it now. So I'll write this now, but I promise when I'm done the big essay, I'll post it here as well. :-) I am not going to give all the specs and details in this post, I simply want to say how I feel about birth and homebirth, so please, if something doesn't seem argued well, it probably isn't. That doesn't mean there isn't an answer, I'm just searching my heart and pouring it out here right now. My research is done, I'm just not extricating it from my head at the moment. I'll save that for my essay-writing.

Homebirth. I first came across the idea maybe a year and a half or two years ago, somewhere online. It was totally new and bizarre to me, if you'll believe it, as my own birth was in a hospital, and I really never thought there was anything else to do but have your baby in the hospital. I began reading birth stories and researching this birthing method simply because it interested me. But enough with my research story.

What is birth? Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with the medical system, surgery, IV drips, medication, doctors, intervention, blood and guts, or terror and distress. In fact, the act of bringing a new life into the world is an entirely different thing, completely opposed to any and all thoughts of terror and distress. It is our business-like effort to make everything efficient and tidy that has made it so. Plus doctors kinda like money...but that's another story.

Though with pregnancy and the act of birthing does come some discomfort, yes, there is something so perfectly incredible and beautiful and gentle about it, that it makes me cringe that over the last century, so many mothers only have distressing memories of their childrens' births. Too often the good memories only begin when mother and baby come home. In fact, for too many years I also held a big grudge against the doctors who unnecessarily intervened in my own birth, and in the process my Mum almost died, and our family was left bereft of my incredible sister who has only had the opportunity to live within the pages of my journal.

Imagine this: Over the period of nine months, a tiny life grows inside a special, warm, protective place, all the while gaining a heartbeat, fingernails, eyelashes, tiny toes, a little nose, and finally, the day comes for this life to breathe air and be held in the arms of her mother. Over several hours, the mother's feelings intensify, and in the warmth of her home, surrounded by loved ones, perhaps in a tub of warm water, she allows every ounce of her being to work toward bringing this life forward. That moment of completion, and all the pain is forgotten, in that moment, she catches her own tiny baby, lifting her gently onto her bare chest, caressing the soft skin and crying over the miracle of life.

It happens every day. But all too often it doesn't happen. Women are not empowered with the knowledge that this kind of a birth is possible, and in most all pregnancies, advisable. It's that darned business attitude again, that believes that pregnancy is a disease and birth some sort of sci-fi surgery to remove the unwanted tumour, or something. It's scary. Birth should not be an assembly line process, which says 'get them out as quick as possible so the bed is free', it is a normal, natural, incredible part of life. In fact, it is one of the first building blocks of life, and to have that all-important moment blotted out by clinical intervention and usually-harmful 'safety' measures, is just sickening.

One day I hope to bear my own children. Until that day, I fear many people won't really take me seriously, but you know what? I don't care. I am going to continue to advocate natural birth, and all the blessings that come with it.

And so, with that, I leave you with a beautiful birth video. I have watched countless ones, and researched for hundreds of hours, but today I just want to leave you with this thought: Birth is normal.

I know this is kind of a funny kind of post for a 16-year-old's blog, but I am so passionate about it, so I just wanted to share a few of the thoughts that fly through my mind with you. It occupies many-a-moment for me. I promise to share more detailed research with you all sometime.

In case you want more information, there are thousands of sites out there, but this one, focusing specifically on unassisted birth, is fantastic:



Idzie said...

Thank you so much Sheila for writing this post! I've been thinking how odd it is that I'm so interested in home births, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and all that when I'm only 17! But it does interest me a great deal, more so lately, even, and I do believe very strongly in all of the above. I would never even consider having my own children in a hospital, or bottle feeding them, or letting them cry alone in their cribs... I think society at large has terrible views on birth and child raising. Hopefully, we, and others with similar views, can work to change peoples perceptions on that. :-)

Peace, and hugs,

Sheila said...

Exactly!!!! With my research of homebirth has come research on all of those things and more, attachment parenting, natural parenting, breastfeeding, doulas, midwifery, co-sleeping, respectful parenting, etc. etc. etc..... I love unschooling. :-D

So nice to hear that you agree.


Mariah said...

I agree with you there too! But, for me I've grown up that way so it just seems 'normal.' Which, I guess it is! :D

Sadie said...

So true. But then, I've never thought of having it any other way. It's the hospital birth that seems strange to me. But still, great post! =) Love you girl!

Anna Naomi said...

My little sister and I were born at home after my mom had 5 hospital births, and my mom has become a great advocate of home birth. She said it was much more relaxing and a better atmosphere than trying to rush and stay with the doctor's schedules. She often says, "Birth is natural - it's not a disease!"

beautifulgraceblog said...

Wow! That was pretty amazing. I mean, I've read about it, but I haven't actually "seen" it.

I remember seeing pictures of my sister and I and all our cousins at the hospital, but I've always known that my grandmother's three children(including my father) were born at home, so I've never really thought it "weird". Rather, without thinking about it, I've always kind of liked the idea.

You're going to have to explain. What is this about you sister? A still-born?


Sheila said...

My sister. :-) Well...she was never conceived, she was never born, she never existed. In my heart I have always had a sister. And so, I write ever page of my diary to the sister I never had, and she has become very real to me, it's almost as though she does exist. :-)