So I'm pregnant with my 2nd child and am planning on having my first homebirth in November. I'm so excited for the homebirth. I feel very relaxed and peaceful about the decision to experience the miracle of life at home. Unfortunately, my husband and I can only talk about our decision to my side of the family...his side would completely lose their minds and then hound me about it until the end. Also, I never mention it to any of my friends (most of which don't have any children) because I know how pro-hospital birth and epidural they are. We recently had dinner with some close friends who just got married and so, of course, we talked about them wanting to have kids soon which prompted the husband to ask if I was delivering at the same hospital as with my first child. I was going to simply say no and and leave it at that, but my husband said "we are having the birth at home". Then came the dead silence. Our friend is an attorney who works in a law firm that deals specifically with malpractice type cases so you can imagine how he feels about anything "hippie" or off the beaten path. He immediately said "you know that situations arise that require c-sections to be done within a matter of minutes, right?". I am in this all the way and I'm not going to change my mind about the homebirth just because of his inexperienced opinion. I'll admit I do get nervous, but only because this will be my first experience with homebirth. I trust my midwife and know that she would never let me get into a situation that was extremely dangerous.

I guess I'm writing this because I'm wondering if any of you all go through this stuff. Where you feel like you are fighting for something you believe in and you are on your own. My husband is going along with it but he always lets people know that it was MY idea and that ultimately I'll do what I want. I just want someone to be excited for me for once and to be encouraging. I'm determined to keep my spirits up...I know how important it is for me to go into this birth with a happy and positive attitude. No worries :)

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Lindsey, I understand how you feel. I just had my first home birth, my fifth baby. I was really afraid to tell my friends and family about my choice to birth at home, because I was worried that they would just think I was completely crazy. I also felt peace about my decision, which helped me through the entire pregnancy, because I never doubted my decision to have the baby at home. I never had anyone tell me to my face that they thought I was making a bad choice, but I got a lot of comments like "well, I hope it works out" or "I hope it goes the way you want it to". I was pleasantly surprised by some people who thought it was great and told me they were excited for me, but that wasn't the common response. Even now, after the baby's birth, the general feeling I get from people is that they're relieved it worked out and that we're all healthy, especially because the baby was breech and other people feel it could have gone horribly wrong even though it went very smoothly. What I had to decide for myself was whether or not other people's opinions really mattered. They don't. My husband's feelings mattered, because I needed his support, as well as the support from my midwife and her attendants. But other than those who would be present at the birth, it didn't matter whether they thought I had gone off the deep end. What mattered was that I was doing what I felt was best for me and my family, and I held true to that.

At first my husband went along with it because he knew how important it was to me, but he really warmed up a lot through the course of the pregnancy. As the due date got close, my husband was completely supportive and just as excited as I was for the new birth experience. I think it just took him some time to really get excited about it and be ready to support me completely. Give your husband some credit. This is a big deal, and he may be more nervous than you realize. You feel peace, but he may not feel that as much as you do. It's really good that he's going along with it, and hopefully he will be more supportive of it as time goes on.

I'm very excited for you, and thrilled that you are moving forward with what you feel is important. I know what you're going through, and I know that it was a wonderful growing experience for me to learn how to deal with the negative opinions or doubts of others. I hope I'm developing thicker skin because of it. I'm sure you'll have a beautiful birth experience, and I hope you will continue to have peace and comfort in your decision.
I agree with everything Cherylyn said...I didn't have a great deal of support from my husband's family or many of our friends, but my husband and I trusted ourselves and our previous births enough to weather the storm. My family came the day of our delivery and were with me in our livingroom right up until I delivered in my bed and they had nothing but great praise for the way I handled it and the way our midwife handled me. I have never felt more in control and in touch with myself as I did breathing and rocking through the contractions and more comfortable recovering in my own home in my own bed.

I have four children and I learned more through this pregnancy with a midwife than I did with the other 3 combined. I am sure you are discovering tons of info that you weren't even aware existed until you made your homebirth choice. I believe that the safest, best place to have a baby is in your home (unless there are serious complications) and as your birth draws near I hope you continue to feel the peace that lead you to this decision.


My family and I will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
I had my first baby at home in the UK and am now planning my second homebirth in Nov in the US. We made our decision pretty late to have a homebirth with the first one so it wasn't such an issue about telling people. My sister is a midwife and is very pro homebirth but as for the rest of my family I knew they would worry so we didn't tell them until after our son was born. My husband was the same he was happy to go along with the homebirth but I think he would have been more relaxed (before the event) had we been booked to go in to hospital. Now I am having my second I tell everyone and my husband tries to persuade any friends that are pregnant to go for a homebirth.
I think people are always a bit afraid of the unknown and think hospital is the safest place to have a baby. But like you say midwives are extremely good at their job and they are not going to leave it until the last minute if you do need to go in to hospital.
It's a shame people can't be more open minded and you shouldn't have to justify your birth choice but unfortunately until homebirths become more common I feel you always have to justify it.
I think the most important thing is you are positive about your choice and have the right attitude (which you clearly do)
Lindsey,
Ahh yes, I am wondering if there is any woman planning a homebirth that does not experience those kind of reactions. Maybe only if you live at the Farm with Ina May do you encounter support! I am a nursery nurse on a maternity ward and attend deliveries for the baby as well as work in the Neonatal Intensive Care. It was VERY unpopular for me to have a home birth when my profession is attending c-sections and witnessing failed vacuum extractions and bruised babies from forceps. I would hear "with all that you see here at the hospital during your job how could you want to deliver somewhere where you don't have emergency help right there?" Some people are willing to hear your reasons for wanting a homebirth. Don't waste your time on those who just want to scare you. I was so offended that people would think I took the decision lightly. Like I didn't research it and look at my own birth hisotry, not high risk etc. There are studies you can find about the safety of home birth if that would help your family get on board.

Anyway, I guess I don't know exactly how to encourage you except that there are many of us out there who support you and the choice you are making. I have actually found more and more people who are homebirth supporters now that I am a homebirther. You don't have to prove anything to anyone, just tell them this is the choice you have made and it is what you feel is best for you and your baby. If they want proof of safety you can provide it. I believe that homebirth is actually progressive and forward thinking, not archaic and backward. The rest of America will come around someday! Best wishes!
Thank you all so, so much for your encouragement. When I finished reading Your Best Birth a couple of weeks ago I felt I was ready to go into labor immediately, I was so pumped! I'm still excited and ready to get this show on the road (even though I still have about 3 months to go). All of your replies are so wonderful, I literally cried while I was reading through them. I know everything is going to fall into place and I'm trying to embrace how this experience is changing me as a woman and mother.
I'm 39 weeks pregnant with my second child and having my first home birth. I've been extremely fortunate in that either people have simply been impressed by the fact that I'm having a home birth or they've kept their mouths shut. However, last time around I had a birthing center birth and as it was my first I received a lot more flak for it. Added to the general nervousness over the subject of having an out of hospital birth was the fact that some very, very close friends of ours had a truly terrible situation with their baby suffering extreme oxygen deprivation at some point either in utero or during the birth itself (there is no way to know for sure). They had had their baby at the same birthing center we were having ours at just a couple months before I was due. I had their parents (who I have never even met before) coming to me pleading with me to not have my baby out of the hospital. It was awful. My MIL was not happy about our choice and in my situation it was mostly me who wanted to have an out of hospital birth. My husband was much more willing after attending our Bradley classes, but he'd started out very set on a hospital birth. I ended up having a very hard, but great birthing experience. I also invited my MIL to the birth since my mom had passed away while I was pregnant and I wanted some sort of "mom" figure there, even if it wasn't mine. I think she ended up being kind of impressed by the whole thing.

I think just sticking to your guns, being certain of what you want and not worrying about what other people think is really important.

I think that one of the things that has helped me is that I've thoroughly researched the subject and am very certain of my choices. I think my lack of doubt shows when I tell people that I'm having a home birth and it either results in them keeping their opinion to themselves or, like I said above, they are simply impressed. I am very lucky in that my family is extremely pro-natural birthing and two of my sisters and my SIL have all had birthing center births. My parents were basically hippies so it helps that we've always been raised to do things naturally and been drug free. My husband's family isn't the same, but they haven't given me a hard time at all about my decisions. I think some of them regret the way their birthing experiences went so if anything they are more supportive because of it. Anyhow, just stick to your guns! Be certain of yourself and don't allow yourself to be bothered by people who don't agree with your choice. It's really none of their business anyhow. I personally wouldn't withhold the type of birth I'm having, but I really don't care what other people's opinions are on where I have my baby.

Good luck and best wishes for your home birth! :)
Lindsey, it is so great to see all the support you are getting on here. I had my first baby at home 5 months ago and most people were not supportive. I just knew in my heart that I was doing the right thing for my baby's health and mine. Basically, when someone asked me if I was scared of having a homebirth I would say, " I'd be more afraid of having my baby in the hospital." and that would pretty much end the conversation right there or I could educate them on the actual safety of homebirths. You will do great and Do Not allow any of those negative people in your house while you are giving birth because any negative energy can really hinder you. We can't wait to hear how it goes. It will be the hardest but most rewarding thing you'll ever do in your life. God bless you.
Hi Lindsey,

I was in a very similar situation... second baby, first homebirth. My husband was totally on board, my mom was totally on board... everyone else... not so much. We basically avoided the conversation for as long as possible.

Eventually my husbands family found out... all of the nurses and lab techs... and yeah, there were some pretty negative comments. I was lucky though that my husband and I had done a lot of reading in the area, we had a lot of resources flagged, we knew the decision to incision time of our hospital, etc. There really wasn't much of a discussion because everything they had to say was uneducated and fear-based. (They forgot that they were talking to the woman who had a nightmare hospital experience.)

Our friends were not as emotionally charged... it was more like comments Cherylyn received... 'Hope it works out" "oh yeah, it will be great IF you don't end up as a transfer."

It's hard to feel like you have to keep something that is so amazing and so important a secret... it's hard to feel like the only woman not supported because you don't do what the mainstream woman is doing... but it is doable. Don't forget hun that we support you and your wishes entirely. :)
My sorry you're not getting all the support you deserve. Think of all the things that were "hippie" not that long ago and now people are behind - clean energy, organic foods, recycling.

In the end, nothing can replace your memory of your birth. Having my baby at home was the most powerful, amazing thing that ever happened to me. I didn't leave the house for 3 weeks after the birth, and I feel like it was really about me and my family.

When people would baulk at my choice, I would say, "Really, most of my friends had home births. You know, it's not really safe to have a baby in a hospital unless you have an emergency." Now, some people will be more agressive with their beliefs, but I found that for the most part, if you acted like it was the new norm and you know what you were talking about from an emergency situation that people would drop it. I also tried to remind myself that most people were just concerned about my safety. When I told them about how I was educated on protecting my safety and had a transport plan and training on what the midwife would do in the case of emergency, they tended to accept this. For lots of people, they imagine boiling water and rags and no equipment. No joking. I would laugh a little and say, you know, she is trained. It's not like I haven't thought about this. In the end, you might be suprised at the number of people you know who will just hold their tongue and then have an amazing birth sotry to tell others when they talk about birth. Even if they mean to say you were crazy, they spread the word that someone has done it. Just knowing that someone else has done it can open doors for other women.
wow i want to send some encouragement your way..I was just talking to my mother about my paper i wrote for school. I wrote about how women need to be able to have a chioce about how they want to birth. she thinks i'm TO passion about homebirth and midwifes. It is sometimes a hard subject to talk about because we where breech she has a c-section and believes hostipals are the only way. I told her i dont want to pass a horrible birth story to my children. that is why i want to become educated about all the option
I pray for strength for u and your family!
Hi Lindsey.

It's hard to be different, isn't it? :)

Home birthers are less than 1% of births in the U.S. That really makes us stand out in the crowd.

My midwife, doula and Suzanne Arms (look her up) all gave me the same advice: protect yourself - SHIELD yourself from the opinions of others during your pregnancy. In this case it sounds like even your husband (and I mean that respectfully).

Women are so emotionally vulnerable while pregnant. Other people's opinions can get into your psyche and are really hard to let go of. Sometimes you get stuck on thinking about one thing, and if it's not very positive, that can be harmful to your idea of birth, and you want to be empowered!

Don't let anyone bring you down. Your body is yours, your baby is yours and your experience is yours. Own it.

When I made the decision to have a home birth, I hardly told anyone. A select few knew. Everyone else, I faked it with. Lying was better than hearing, "don't you know how dangerous birth is?" Come on. As if I would (or you would) make an uninformed decision as serious and important as birth.

It is serious. And having a home birth is taking on a certain amount of responsibility that some choose not to take on, or can be harder to take on, in a hospital setting.

Like I said before, this should be considered an empowering journey. Perhaps you can talk to your husband about it after you've done a little bit more research on your own about empowerment and the delicate role that language and opinion has on a pregnant women's state of mind and ask that he say, (at the very least) "this is Lindsey's choice, which I fully support," rather than, "this is Lindsey's choice and she's going to do what she wants to do anyway."

There's my two cents. Hope it helps and best of luck to you on this beautiful journey.
Kaitlin
Thank you all again for the amazing encouragement! I'm 39 weeks this week and I'm having little contractions off and on every day. It's almost time! I've been working on my positive affirmations and I know how and when this little baby comes into the world is going to be a beautiful experience. Thank you again!

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