There is no doubt that home births are on the rise. Although in small numbers, it speaks to a change in mind set. A change in perception of how birth has been perceived in the minds of women since the induction of hospitals, and the act birthing in the presence of a “professional”. What would cause a woman to gravitate away from the established “norms” of society? After all safety is the principle, motto and creed of hospital births, the one thing ALL moms desire for their newborns and for themselves.
Many are calling this a trend. I’ve also heard the term “savvy moms” applied to these group of women who have chosen home birth. The increase of 20 percent in home births hardly makes it popular, in fact home births still make up for one percent of births. Calling this a trend, in any instance, implies that it is temporary and I truly don’t think it is. I think the term savvy moms is the defining light of home birth. Savvy, which means to understand, is the element behind the increase in home births. This is not an over night “trend”. This “trend” is a effect of a cause, and the cause is the broken “health care” system that has monetized birth into a industry, by which women have become baby machines.
I’ve discovered a fascinating article called “The Rituals of American Hospital Births” by Robbie E. Davis-Floyd, Ph.D it states…
…The rising science of obstetrics ultimately accomplished this goal by adopting the model of the assembly-line production of goods as its template for hospital birth. Accordingly, a woman's reproductive tract came to be treated like a birthing machine by skilled technicians working under semiflexible timetables to meet production and quality control demands. As one fourth-year resident observed:
We shave 'em, we prep 'em, we hook 'em up to the IV and administer sedation. We deliver the baby, it goes to the nursery and the mother goes to her room. There's no room for niceties around here. We just move 'em right on through. It's hard not to see it like an assembly line.
This analogy is so spot on. Women who have responded in kind to this cause arrive at their hospital births armed with questions and birth plans. Seeking further protective advocacy, women began to arrive with doulas and midwives in tow. Others choose to avoid the hospital altogether and birth in sanctity of their home, where their bodies are celebrated, not exploited. No, this is not a trend….it’s a response and has been for years in the making.
Women whether they birth at home, or in the hospitals, as a whole, are becoming more and more savvy. They see the through the “safety” principle touted by hospital births as more and more procedures/drugs are questioned as safe for moms and babes. They see the ever rising cesarean rate. The rising number of preterm babies. They see the high infant and maternal mortality rate for a country as advanced as ours. They see the high number of hospitals that are not baby-friendly and the campaign to make more hospitals baby-friendly. They see maternity wards full of sponsored material, brands of formula and the like and question the hospital’s integrity as a care-givers as a truly safe place to birth. All of these things evidence an industry and not a health-CARE facility. Is there any WONDER home births are on the rise? Follow the path of birth plans, doulas, and questions…there you will find home births at the end of the rainbow and the women seeking sanctuary from an industry knee-high in it’s own mire.
Just so I’m clear on this issue, I’m not in any way , shape or form attacking moms who want hospital births. I am spotlighting the error of the assumption that hospital births can be the safest place to have our children. Our health care is riddled with serious problems that are motivated by serious integrity issues to boot. How CAN anyone trust to safely birth in hospitals that functions for-profit ?
And I bet , five more years down the line, you’ll see this “trend” alive and well. Women have had enough. It’s bad enough we have to birth, such an intimate act by the way, in accordance to “policy”, but we have to pay for it too! A LOT of money at that!
In no way I’m saying we need to do away with hospital births, that’s unreasonable, 99 percent of women give birth there. Some want hospital births others need hospital births. It’s high time to demand change. To be treated with respect and catered to like the high-paying, VIP customers we are. Without mothers, society would literally cease to exist. (Yes, the same is exactly true for men! This is my official shout-out :))
I leave you with this thought, how far has women’s lib come when nearly all women expensively birth in places where they must conform to rules and regulations that do not recognize the autonomy of birth? That doesn’t sound very liberating to me.