Now that we're expecting again, a question I'm often asked is "Are you planning on having a homebirth again?" I usually respond with "We're sure going to try," because as most people know, there are no guarantees when it comes to labour and delivery. Another question I'm often asked is "How do you get the epidural if you're at home?". That's an easy one, you don't. Inevitably, the next question is "Then why do it?" That's a tough question to answer because there's a lot to it. The simple answer is, it feels right for me. Their response to that often frustrates me because it's usually something like "There's no extra crowns in heaven for giving birth without drugs" or "You don't have to be a martyr". I don't choose to avoid pain medication in birth because I'm looking for some kind of reward or acknowledgement (though I do admit that when someone tells you how amazing you must be, it does give a bit of an ego boost). I'm not being a martyr, I'm being a mother. Before anyone jumps the gun, I'm not saying that people who receive epidurals or have c-sections aren't mothers, not by a long shot. What I mean here is this: my job as a mother is to make the best decisions I can with the information I have at the time. A mother that chooses to have an epidural is making the best decision for her and her baby based on the information she possesses at the time. If I aim for a homebirth and the midwife tells me that it's just not going to happen, this baby needs to come out by c-section then off we go to the hospital for a c-section....because clearly, that's the best decision for us at that time based on the information we have. Though I may be disappointed by the outcome, I refuse to feel guilty about it.
It truly blows my mind that birth has become so medicalized that women feel like those who choose not to go down the hospital/drug path are somehow weirdoes. Like we're irresponsible parents because we're "taking a risk" by giving birth at home in the comfort of familiar surroundings. I can think of a million reasons why I wouldn't want to give birth in a hospital (given the choice) but I don't like sounding preachy. Having given birth once in a hospital, I can say I've had the experience but frankly, I don't need it again. It felt like a waste of time and gas to me quite honestly, but I'm lucky enough to have regular, low risk pregnancies, so the hospital isn't a necessity to me as it would be to others.
Mothers should be honoured for simply being mothers. Carrying a baby for 9 months is as important in the process as the actual birth. And what of adoptive mothers....those who sometimes have to wait years to finally be able to hold their child in their arms? We're all moms, just doing the best we can with what we have so let's cut each other some slack ok?