Monday, November 27, 2006

Is the nature of the experience just more important to homebirth advocates

I spend a lot of time on the web and read a lot of blogs. During the past Thanksgiving week, I read a great many posts about being thankful. Many people wrote about being thankful for new babies, for their health, and for all that they have added to the lives of their family members. Interestingly, no one mentioned the births themselves except for women who had homebirths.

A number of women wrote that they were thankful for being able to have the homebirth they had planned. No one who gave birth in the hospital seemed to think that it was worth remarking upon. No one was thankful for giving birth without medication, or for giving birth without a C-section, even though many women certainly gave birth without medication and many women were certainly happy that they did not have a C-section.

It made me wonder whether the nature of the birth experience is simply more important to homebirth advocates than it is to the majority of women. Most women view birth as just one day, an exciting and memorable day to be sure, but exciting and memorable because the baby arrived, not because of the experience itself. Planning a particular kind of experience, hoping specifically for that experience, and then being grateful that those hopes were realized seems to be integral to the desire to have a homebirth. In contrast, the majority of women don't plan on having a particular experience, hope only for a healthy baby (or perhaps for a boy or a girl), and don't really care very much about how the experience unfolds. It is an intriguing question: do homebirth advocates simply place more value on the nature of the experience than other women do?


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