Yeah, I Said It: Hospitals Should Be A Birth Option


Planning for a homebirth still means I’m in the minority just because I had a positive hospital birth and, yeah, I would recommend a hospital as a birth option. I know hospitals have a bad rap what with the high rates of c-sections and inductions for normal, low-risk pregnancies that could be avoided if it was out of that sterile and cold environment. Believe you me, I didn’t feel safe in the hospital but, alas, my then-insurance didn’t cover birth center or home births. What better way to play with what you’re dealt with than go in with your arsenal of birth prowess and a stealthy army into territory you can’t help but go to. This goes for all birth environments.

I did it all. I watched “Business of Being Born,” checked if my insurance covered midwives, got a doula, and took the classes. I mentally and physically prepared for this birth and I got the birth I planned for. For every positive sharing of my hospital birth, I’ve gotten just as equal if not double the negativity or poor experience. Look, I’m sorry you had a horrible time in the hospital. I’m truly very sorry. How does me sharing how my nurses were completely supportive of my preferences while my midwife called a surgeon on stand-by completely downplay your birth experience?

Let me have this. I’m not disregarding your experience just because I wanted to point out that there are instances of where women choose to birth in a hospital and go on to have a great experience. I share this experience in hopes to reach out to women who want to birth intervention-free in the hospital. Despite what you or I would like, not everyone will have nor want an out-of-hospital birth. Just not happening. If I were to scare the woman out of the hospital, how different is that from the society’s “warnings” of the homebirth? I believe a hospital should still be a viable option for a birth setting. Same as a birth center, home birth, unassisted/free-birth, they should all be presented to and considered by the mother because every person has their own sense of safe birth. Let them have that.

Have you run into a guilt-trip when you shared something positive/negative about your birth experience? How do you handle that?

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15 thoughts on “Yeah, I Said It: Hospitals Should Be A Birth Option

  1. I had a terribly negative hospital birth experience the first time, but I totally agree with you. I wouldn’t begrudge a woman’s choice to birth exactly the way she chooses, nor would I try to talk a person out of an educated decision they had made. And I couldn’t imagine being anything but thrilled for someone who got the birth experience she wanted!

    I have experienced what you are talking about, though, with people making me feel bad about a good experience, especially regarding most things having to do with child birth and child rearing. I remember once years ago feeling left out of “the club” ’cause I didn’t have post partum depression, and even more so because I had shared how I immediately fell in love with both of my children, especially the first. I didn’t realize I would be offending the other women in the room who felt disconnected at first, and took time to grow to feel comfortable and “in love” with their new baby. One of them was an older lady too, and she acted like I was lying. =/

    I attempted a vbac homebirth with my 2nd, and ended up in the hospital, and even though it resulted in a c-section, I had a wonderful hospital experience. It was the polar opposite of my first. I think one big reason is because I went in educated. If a woman goes in unprepared, and doesn’t know how to advocate for herself, I think it’s easier for her to end up being “herded”, or swept up in all the overly-scientifc stuff, if that makes sense.

    Anyway, that was too long for a comment! I loved your post, though, and that picture is just wonderful!

    ~Daniél

    • Thank you, Daniél. I know there are plenty of negative hospital births. You’re so right about going in prepared and well-researched vs. going in expecting the best.

      How ironic that you feeling joy in postpartum time can make others turn against you in a time like that? Its like that when I share my breastfeeding journey. “I’m not sorry that I overcame struggles but I am sorry others didn’t have the resources or support they wanted or needed,” you know? Because everybody deserves at least that.

  2. Great thoughts. I’ve felt this way before. Even though I had a home birth (which for us was the least expensive options), I attend hospital births as a doula frequently. And you know what? It IS possible to have a positive, empowering, natural birth in the hospital. I know there are women who have had very unfortunate experiences with things that have gone out of their control, but many times advance planning and open communication with care providers can help you to get the birth you want. Way to go on having your awesome hospital birth!

    • That’s great you lend your experience in hospitals to understand where my post is coming from! It’s great to hear that there are good hospital births but I’m more excited more families are making informed birth choices, hospital or not.

      Thank you for your comment.

  3. Hear, hear! Many women aren’t aware of what their options are – whether it’s the place that they plan to birth, the people they want to attend it, the atmosphere they want to labour in and the preparations that they can make to give themselves the best chance of a positive experience.The more you learn, the more empowered you are.

    One friend told me that she didn’t want to read about birth because she wanted to leave everything up to the obstetrician. So maybe people are just scared.

    I had two beautiful, natural births (http://everybodylovesstring.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/not-just-lucky-i-worked-for-it/) but I rarely tell people about them because i get so sick of people telling me that I was just lucky – or lying! – when, really, i put so much bloody work into giving myself the best chance of a happy birthing experience.

    • Uhm, how could you be lying about birth? I would be so offended for busting my ass then to have someone not even take it for what it really is. People have a way of dealing with guilt or striking down other peoples accomplishments.

  4. We planned a (hopefully natural) hospital birth and ended up with an accidental freebirth, haha. Although deliberately choosing unassisted birth sounds totally … fringe.

    A bad birth experience can happen anywhere; we do ourselves a disservice when we hate on hospitals 😛

    • It’s rare but it surely does happen
      – families choosing unassisted births. I believe they have a midwife attend after birth, of course but who am I to say how their choice came about, after much information and confidence, I’m sure. 😉

      I agree; I used to say, “Hospitals are so bad for birthing women!” Now that I’ve been exposed to a world of many ideas an opinions, I don’t think that’s right of me to say because there *are* wonderful experiences in hospitals – saves lives, natural births, etc.

  5. I absolutely believe in natural hospital birth! Women deserve to be supported in following their instincts no matter where they give birth. Hospitals should SERVE women. I also believe that when women bring natural birth to hospitals, they are giving a great gift to all the nurses, midwives, and doctors who work at the hospitals. They don’t often get to see natural birth, even if they themselves believe in it. It is so magical to attend a natural birth, wherever it happens.

    • That’s great! I completely agree that natural births are great to happen, period! It’s especially important to hope that it does inspire more birth professionals to understand and for future mothers to birth naturally. Like I said, it’s really unfair to think that hospitals should not be an option because great things *can* happen there.

  6. I had two great birth experiences, one in hospital, one at home, although I agree completely with what you said! I probably wasn’t ready for a homebirth at the time of my first, and the hospital water birth I had seemed amazing (at the time…). But my water birth at home… wow, amazing! If I had to do a third time… I would be staying at home for sure 🙂

    • Love hearing that! I’m looking forward to planning the homebirth. I did so well laboring in water and am assuming I’ll enjoy the birth pool but who knows? Maybe I won’t. We shall see! Land or water birth, it’s going to be at HOME.

  7. Pingback: How To Have A Natural Birth In A Hospital « The Laotian Commotion

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