When I was expecting our first child, Carman, we lived in another city, another state. Of all the other expectant moms I spoke with (many who were first time moms), all would speak of their desire to have a natural, unmedicated birth. Very few (I can only think of one) were able to have such a birth in a hospital. Of course, those having a home birth (a microscopic number in that corner of the world) really had no choice when it came to pain killers during labor: there were none. After my first unmedicated home birth, I remember thinking there was no way I could have a baby naturally in a hospital. Knowing that all I had to was ask and the pain would be removed would be too great a temptation.
Having a baby at home, in the comfort of my own personal space, with the support of marathon & my midwife, and knowing that there was no pain reliever around allowed me (and my babies) to experience natural childbirth.
Now I live in another city, another state. This state is friendly to midwifery & home births. And, I think consequently, the hospital climate is very different here as a result. About 20% of the moms in my circle here birth at home, and therefore naturally. Amazingly, the vast majority of the hospital-going moms in my circle of friends are birthing naturally as well.
I think birthing naturally has a viral effect. “If Sally, who births at home, can do it, then so can I.” Well, in this city, it is no longer just Sally, for many moms are birthing at home. Sally, Jane, Michelle, Carol….. Then, “if it can be done at home, it can be done in the hospital too.” So now we have Jennie, Rachel, Ann, Heather, Leslie, Kris, Maria,…..birthing naturally in a hospital!
Hats off to the women in my town! And hats off to Tennessee for not persecuting our beloved midwives. – milkmaid
* photo by kellyandangie (on flickr)