13 November 2008

Baby, You're Home

Check out the almost entirely positive story on home birth in today's New York Times, accompanied by a lovely slideshow online (including the above photos). The article notes a growing home birth surge taking place:

...in 2006 home births accounted for only one-half of 1 percent of the city’s 125,506 reported births. But local midwives say they have been swamped with calls and requests in recent months, in some cases increasing their workload from two, three or four deliveries a month to as many as 10.

Of course, I would have loved if the reporter hadn't used loaded words like "grueling ordeal" and "traumatic" and lots of other fear-based language when the families involved seemed not to experience their births like that at all (note to the reporter: check your own preconceptions at the door & just observe/report, please). I wish the cover picture were a more joyful one - it's possible to mistakenly conclude that everyone in the picture is worried. I wish it hit harder on cesarean rates (and the fact that some hospitals hover around or above 50% instead of the already-deplorable national average of 33%) - and by the way, a cesarean is far more than a "procedure", it's major abdominal surgery. I wish the last part, about the AMA's stance, were not entitled "Playing It Safe". But overall, aside from the incongruity of the reporter's editorializing as compared to the facts and stories reported, it's good...

Blessings to all the families who shared their births for this article and to all those who read it and consider their options. When people see the beauty and simplicity that birth can be, especially at home, it is hard to go back to that place of fear and judgment. I hope that is true for many who read the NY Times piece.

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