I started my day today trying to write an article about the safety of homebirth. I have argued and debated the safety of homebirth for so many years now that I was shocked and frustrated when it wouldn’t pour off my fingers and onto the page. I panicked, then went searching for statistics. Surely that would get my juices flowing! But the sentences that were staring back at me were flat and uninteresting. They were cold and clinical.
And so I saved the article for future salvage work, wondering if the world really needs yet another article on the safety of homebirth. Until homebirth is universal, and the normal way of giving birth, the world probably does. But today I am bone weary of the fight: for credibility, for women to take back their power, for people to support women’s birth choices, for birth to be seen as a normal, albeit special, physiological event.
After a cup of tea and a walk around the house, I realized there is a reason that my words this morning came across as cold and clinical. I realized that I could argue until I am blue in the face that women are designed, perfectly, to give birth to their babies. I can scream from the mountaintops that it is the very interference that regular care of birth encourages that causes the myriad of birth problems. But that is not why I am called to serve women in this capacity, and focusing on physiology or statistics doesn’t express the essence of birth as I experience it.
I am called to serve women, and the birth process, in a dance as old as time. Birth is magical. At home, you are in a calm, safe place, an oasis away from the linear, tangible world. As you watch a woman sway to the rhythms her body is directing, a serene energy permeates the air. It is wondrous to watch a baby born into peace, caught by his mother or quietly passed up to her, witnessing the first time they gaze into each other’s eyes. Love flows as strongly as the tears of joy and relief.
There are no needles, no tubes, no hospital gowns, no metal bed, no smell of disinfectant. You are home, your cozy bed ready to envelop you safely as you bask in the glow of your birth. Yummy food is in the fridge, and you have with you those people most special to you, those privileged few who you choose to witness the event. No offers of drugs, no one implying that your body doesn’t work. In its place, there is gentle touch, some birth tea, snacks, your favourite music, freedom to move, candle light, faith and love.
There are many days that I question my calling. I throw up my hands and say to the heavens, “THEY AREN’T GETTING IT! THEY DON’T WANT IT!” And then the phone rings, a breathless woman on the other end of the line searching for alternatives, a little nervous that I will patronize her or laugh at her foolish desire to have her baby at home. My heart sings, a smile breaks, and we start the first steps on a journey of love.