Friday, March 5, 2010

Support for birthing at home

I have a lot of people respond to our plans for me to birth at home with "Oh I couldn't do that because my husband/partner wouldn't support me / is scared / refuses / said no".

Ok so I get a lot of other responses too but this one is the topic of this post so I'll leave them for another day. And yes, your partner's opinion could have very little to do with your birth because it's yours and not his, but that's not always the be-all and end-all of the situation, is it? I'm a strong woman but if TheHusband was not onboard then I'd have a struggle on my hands because I need his support more than I need to be right. Doesn't mean I wouldn't argue every single day for the entire gestation of course.

So - let's say you have no desire to birth in a hospital but the realities of your relationship mean that your partner is not going to support you to do that.

REGARDLESS of the reason, valid or not, if you can't argue the point to a homebirth conclusion then here's some advice I wanted to pass on.

Even if you don't/can't stay home to birth - and your partner being completely against it, and either has a lot of anger, fear or reluctance - you need to make it clear that you will absolutely be staying home until the latest possible time. This could be until you are feeling pushy, or when contractions are very close together (2 minutely, established that way for a while)

I am not suggesting you trick him into a homebirth. But he has to be on board to support you labouring at home. He has to understand that going to hospital early will not get you a baby early. It will get you stuck on a short and artificial timeline, and get you a lot of intervention so if you absolutely can't birth at home, at least only turn up with a little while to go.

Birth is not a spectator sport and nor is it a two-person tagteam game - he can't birth for you. He can only support you in your journey. It is about you and your body and your future. Acquiescing to his preferences to go to hospital early on isn't going to help when it's your body and your experience and your future.

Perhaps get him to read birth stories where the husband/partner/father to mentioned - they are often described standing there stunned, crying, angry, upset, devestated, etc etc at the process and the outcome, and compare them to homebirths (stories, youtube, pics) where the husband is the woman's rock and is in the pool with her or rubbing her back or cheering her on with sweet words. Try to get him to understand how much impact this'll have on him too.

I am SO not saying that all hospital births are like this, or that homebirths are all awesome. This is advice for people birthing in hospitals as well. When you set foot inside those doors, your body and your labour and birth are theirs. You are on their turf and on their timeline. There is no way that someone without an idea of the process (your husband/partner for eg) can support you and advocate for you if you can't. That's what a midwife who does walk with women is your best asset - but in a hospital this is a lottery and there are sometimes few of them, or they are against a lot of pressure from the institution.


Anonymous said...

With my first baby I inadvertently waited until I felt pushy, and had the baby at home. Second time around I had a planned homebirth, and I am definitely a fan of homebirth, but if you are planning a hospital birth it's unwise to assume labour (and particularly the second stage) will be long. My pushing stage was very short both times - perhaps ten minutes. Also, who wants to travel in heavy labour? It's uncomfortable enough with only mild contractions.

Anonymous said...

By the way, best of luck for the birth of your baby. I hope your experience is as beautiful as mine was (both times).