Hi all,

I'm 30 weeks this week and have recently changed providers from an OB/GYN to a midwifery group. I am currently planning to give birth at their birth center.

My husband is on board, but my parents are very concerned. They are mostly worried because the hospital that is closest to the birth center is 30 minutes away. I tried to explain to them that I am low-risk and that the CNMs are health care professionals who will be monitoring me and the baby closely and would transfer us to the hospital at any sign of danger (and that they would probably be even more careful given the distance from the hospital).

Part of me thinks I should consider giving birth in the hospital with a midwife, instead of the birth center, but I know that this would greatly increase my chances of being subjected many of the medical interventions I'm trying to avoid. I feel deep down, though, that everything will be safe at the birth center, so why risk interventions at the hospital.

Has anyone had any experiences trying to convince family? What did you do? How did it go?

Thanks!

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For this delivery I have chosen to do a Home Birth. My father was the only one in my family that fully supported my decision. Everyone else was extremely concerened about the safety issue. My MIL explained why: in her generation it was unheard of. She is stuck in the culture/information she recieved when she had her children. She said its hard to adjust to the idea of having a HB with a MW. Way out of her comfort zone. I found that to be true for my Mom as well.

How did I convince them? I armed myself with information and explained my position to them. I asked them to consider the fact that I would never make a choice that put my baby or myself at risk and asked them to trust that they knew that about me. I explained that this was a well researched, informed decision, not some last minute idea I came up with. I asked them to tell me exactly what their specific fears were so we could address them. Not just that they are worried about something going wrong but exactly what they were afriad would happen--specifically. I addressed those specific fears by giving them information, research, and studies I found. My Mom and my MIL were given the opportunity to discuss their concerns/fears with my MW.

I realized they had a very different idea of what a HB/MW was and did then the true reality of the situation. Their perceptions of what they thought/expected were far from what actually was and this clouded their judgement. In the end they are more comfortable with the idea. All have said that they wish I was doing it in the hospital but they trust me and my judgement and that this was a well-informed decision made with care, research and deliberation. Plus getting to meet the MW and hear what she would do, that she plans for and is prepared to deal with medical, even emergency issues really helped. (They really thought she would just "hope for the best" and didn't realize she had training to recognize and deal with emergency issues).

If you can get them to watch BOBB it may also help. However, in the end this is your decision to make and only you need to feel comfortable with it. And as hard as it would be to exclude them from the birth, if they don't come around they need to stay away until after the baby is here. You don't need any negative thoughts or energy anywhere near you when the time comes. Only happy thoughts and warm fuzzy feelings :)

Good Luck!!!
Hi Kim,
In the kindest way possible I want to share with you my view on this situation.

It is very important that women understand that the journey of childbirth is only a community event until the woman goes into labor. At this point it is crucial that YOU, the only person who can even birth the baby, is comfortable in the birthing environment you have chosen in which to give birth.

In other words...Would you marry a man that your parents chose for you instead of the man you really loved??? NO, you would ditch your blind date for REAL TRUE LOVE!!!

It's the same thing when it comes to making decisions about where and how to birth your baby into the world. Every decision needs to really come from you and your desires for your birth. Are you already uncomfortable in hospitals? (Who isn't?) Well imagine being in one of the greatest focal points of your life where you will be doing some of the hardest work your body was created for...Do you want people sticking you with IV's and constantly disrupting your focus with beeping monitors and questions that doubt your natural born strength? If you are ok with all of that then maybe your parents are right. But if you felt CONVICTED to leave your OB/GYN for a Midwifery Group because of the scary hospital statistics then I would think that was simply your destiny for the birth of this child and I wouldn't second guess it because of your parents concern. The fact that you are low-risk and healthy is PLENTY reason to pursue a birth center birth.

Recently, I had a friend come out of surgery while 12 weeks pregnant. The OB/GYN didn't even want to speak with her because she was a "homebirther" and they assumed that she would be difficult. So understand that if you decide on the hospital birth and they are even the slightest bit aware that you wanted a birth center birth - you may run into obstacles with the very people caring for you and your new baby.

Hope this helps!

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Hi Kim,

I totally understand where you are coming from, even though I live across the sea in Ireland!

My husband and I are planning a homebirth in January and although I am 27 weeks we have not told our parents yet for the same reasons (but we plan to this week!)

We are actually relocating and renting a house near our midwife (about 2 hours drive from where we live) because the homebirth service isn't available near us, and our maternity hospital is only 5 minutes away from our house, so I know our parents are going to think we are mad having a "home" birth which won't even be in our "home"!

We have thought long and hard about it all, and I've shed a few tears of stress too, but we know in our hearts this is the best thing for our baby and for us.

When I discussed my fear of talking to our parents with my husband he said (very wisely) that we are telling our parents about our decision, we are not asking them for permission or needing to convince them! In my head I had a whole defence plan laid out for when they object but now, I am not going to get defensive, we are just going to tell them we have made this decision, the decision is ours and we are a team on this. I feel both partners need to support each other strongly.

It made me look the relationship of our parents differently. We love them and care for them, but we cannot and will not take on their fears, we have our own and are working those out, we have researched everything and are making the best decision based on our values, beliefs and knowledge.

We will ask our parents to respect our wishes (they may, they may not) but ultimately this is our decision and we're not kids any more. My husband even compared it to us cutting our own umbilical cord, which is quite symbolic really.

I was at a Home Birth Conference at the weekend and heard the story of a really wonderful lady who had planned a home birth and ended up being transfered to hospital for a c-section. All we can do is plan what we would like and then be open to whatever happens. She said "we receive the birth we need".

Best of luck with your decision, whatever you decide do it for you, your partner and your baby, nobody else.

Blessings from Ireland.
well...here's my thoughts on this. While I understand that women should do what they feel is best for themselves, I personally choose to do the unmedicated hospital births. I did this because I value the relationships I have with my family also. I felt like every time I talked to my mom, there was friction and tension and I hated that! To me it wasn't worth it. The birth turned out wonderful, even in the hospital, but there are times I mourn the homebirth too. But for me, the loss of the homebirth, was worth the relationship with my mom because that was just as important to me.
I'm still pregnant with my first, no experience with home birth (planning on a traditional hospital birth). So I can't give you any experienced advice.

But I'm wondering...IF your parents did NOT come around...would they still want to attend your birth center birth? I would imagine, that they might opt out if they didn't come around. Or else they'd have to just grin and bear it ... as once they are there...what can they do? Drag you to the hospital. I guess my point is, they probably wouldn't want to attend a non-hospital birth anyway if they are truly uncomfortable with it/unsupportive of it. If they did want to attend, then I would imagine, despite their skepticism, they might be willing to be nice about it and just BE there without 'negativity'...?
i have already commented on this discussion but i just want to add that whatever the decision may be as it is only your and your husbands choice ultimately that if your decision is to stick with the birth center and your family never comes around and accepts that, you still have to do what is right for you, your baby, and your husband, in all reality if your family decides to never speak to you again over that decision i dont know what else to say other than im sorry i truly dont see anybody ever stop speaking to their family just because of the decision that was made of how to birth your child and if that ever does happen than i believe that there is another reason that they quit speaking, long ago before there was any hospitals around there was only deliveries at home yes there were complications in some but not everyone had complications and a doctor will tell you now if you and the baby are healthy along with a healthy pregnancy uncomplicated that there is now reason you cant have a birth center delivery or a midwife and when you make your firts appt with a midwife they will ask you about any complications youve had and let you know if you are a good candidate for a birth center or midwife and if they feel that you are not a good candidate they will tell you the reasons why and suggest you go to a doctor and hospital birth just remember the decision is yours and your husband and nobody elses ultimately if your family doesnt come around at least you have your main supporter there with you and that is all that matters
Oh, did I ever. I was SOOO in your shoes. Just let go of trying to "convince" them. They love you and want you to be safe. They just know what they have been told which is not often correct, bless their little hearts! I planned to go natural at the hospital until 37 weeks when my husband and I decided we had to birth out of hospital at the local birth center for precisely the reasons you mentioned. My parents and his were very concerned. My dad kept asking how far away the hospital was (he is a doctor, by the way). My mother-in-law REALLY freaked at first. But in the end, they had this gorgeous grand-daughter and an amazing birth story to tell. They were blown away, in a good way, when we showed them our video. In fact, now I think they really kinda get off on telling people that we had a natural water birth.
Fortunately, my family has been very supportive of our decision for a home birth. This is baby #3 for me, so they know I am aware of the process and can handle it. I agree with the advice everyone else has given, but wanted to add that I would think a birth center delivery with midwives is better and safer than a hospital because that is what they do there. Midwives are giving prenatal care and attending births more exclusively than OBGYNs. An OB is seeing patients in the office for various reasons, including non-pregnancy related complaints. In the hospital, they are performing surgeries like C-Sections, hysterectomies, cyst removals, and even circumcisions. An unmedicated delivery is not a huge concern to them, and they are in and out of other patients rooms and at their office, etc. while you are in labor. You are just a number, and that is how you will probably be made to feel. At a birthing center, it is all like-minded women with the same priority as you - a safe, healthy birth. I wish you the best.
My mom loved the idea of a midwife, but hated the thought of me giving birth at home. We really only talked about it twice briefly. She expressed that she would be more comfortable if I gave birth in a hospital and I replied that I would be less comfortable doing so. I really didn't think it was my job to try to convince her to change her mind. And we agreed that no matter where I gave birth she wouldn't be in the room. Ultimately, when she came to town two weeks before my daughter was born and got to meet my midwife at my last few prenatal exams and realized she was a knowledgeable, trustworthy, experienced midwife, she came around. She was still nervous, but put that aside and kept herself busy cooking and walking the dog while I was in labor. Now she understands the risks of a home birth are low and, as a very independent person, appreciates that a home birth allowed me to take change of my experience. Just realize that it's about you and your baby and nobody else, and if your parents come around, great, and if they don't they'll probably forget all about your disagreement after they meet their grandchild.
First off CONGRADS!!!!!! And Second make your own choice and do what your comfortable with.
I am not pregnant but I am planning on trying to get pregnant this coming summer (2010) Anytime I mention that I want a home birth, the other person gasps and says your not going to be able to handle it, my wife blah blah blah or (family) when your aunt did that your cousin had this problem blah blah blah all negative feed back so I have decided from now on to not talk about it to anyone but my man. I feel that educated woman should be able to choose where she wants to give birth no matter it’s at a hospital, birth center or home. If you aren’t comfortable at the hospital you probably won’t progress as fast as you would if you were at the birth center. So what you could do it tell them off and later blame your hormones or just birth at the birth center and not talk about it with them. On top of that if they feel negative about the birth center and want to be there that may also slow down labor (just heads up) I’m sure you probably know that already….. I hope that helps also I highly recommend getting a doula it will help when the big day comes, especially if the your parents want to be present.
I think you should put family to the side and focus on your birth. Don't engage them or let their negativity and fear bring you down...it could even effect you subconsciously. You need to be strong and positive.

Convince them afterwards.
Hi Kim,

I didn't mention anything to my family, and neither did my fiance, until we were absolutely sure about what path we were going to take. And even then we didn't tell everyone (that we were having a home birth).

There are very few of us mamas who have birth outside of a conventional hospital setting. Based on not only the stats but look at TV shows and movies! All births are conducted in that same, often fear based, high anxiety setting.

When I made the decision to have a home birth, and felt comfortable and strong enough to let my family members know, I rented The Business of Being Born and gave my most important family members the DVD to watch. We talked about it after they watched the movie.

It explained things and provided much more data and experience than I could have. And I knew I would end up sounding defensive, which isn't educational and far from confident.

And it worked! My mom became a huge advocate of alternative birth methods and my grandma loosened up to the idea.

This was all fairly early on. We had much more time to think, talk and examine birth alternatives. Both ended up being present at the birth. It was a beautiful journey.

Best of luck on yours - it sounds like you've found a lot of strength and encouragement from this community.
Kaitlin

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