26 October 2012

Home Birth Awareness Week

I found out yesterday - by accident - that this week is Home Birth Awareness Week.

You may or may not know that I have had three wonderful home births. (Read about them here.)

You know what?
I'm really proud of that.

Not in an I-had-a-natural-birth-and-you-didn't-na-na-na-na-na-na kind of way, but in a wow-my-body-was-designed-to-do-just-this-and-it-did-it! kind of way.

Because of my own wonderful experiences, and the research I have done, I am an advocate for home birth. I will clarify that by saying I am an advocate for home birth for healthy, well women, carrying healthy, well babies, who can be born at home. I would never condone staying at home just for the heck of it. I would never condone refusing a hospital transfer if my trusted midwife suggested it, or staying at home when it becomes clear that more help is needed, regardless of if the midwife has recommended it or not.

I do believe that a healthy, well-educated, well-supported woman and her baby are in the safest place if they are at home. I don't believe in judging anyone for their birth choices - be it home, birth centre or hospital. (And I'd appreciate it if you kept your comments below kind and supportive of everyone who may want to share in this space. Thank you.) We each need to choose the place where we feel the most safe.

Glamorous home birth: middle of the night bed head, no bra, hole in my pyjama top, stretch marks, pile of washing on the couch, assorted paraphernalia scattered around the lounge, but quick, take a photo of my 7-day-overdue belly before it's gone!

My words are often inadequate to describe the way I feel about home birth, and even childbirth in general. I'd like to share a few links with you where you can read a little about the real side of home birth in New Zealand.

My friend Dee from dee*construction. is an amazing wife and mother of 5 who, when she was pregnant with #5 (a gorgeous squishy little fellow named Sawyer), wrote a short series on her blog called The Birth Notes. Dee explains exactly how we approach home birth in a logical way. Please do click over and read a few of her posts, particularly:

{The Birth Notes} Stage 1
{The Birth Notes} Stages 2 & 3.
Also, a great practical post on preparing for the post-birth period: {The Birth Notes} The Babymoon.

From {The Birth Notes} Stage 1:
"It was a few days after Monte's birth and JR had just made a coffee for two visiting female family members when one made the comment, You're lucky to birth the way you do. third day blues or not, i wanted to hurl my freshly made flat white at the said family member! luck? luck!! 'luck' is the very last thing that has to do with childbirth. i could (would) never risk so much on luck! instead, this is a little more accurate : (Click the link above to read the rest.)

Also, there is a pretty good article on scoop.co.nz written about this years Home Birth Awareness Week: A Defining Moment for Home Birth. Read it here.

That's better. Baby Rosie, just born. In the lounge - see the bookshelf?

Ultimately, home birth for me has been so special because, after making an educated decision, I had a great supportive midwife who is very dear to me, a wonderful and totally amazing sister-in-law - my doula, of sorts - and an amazing husband (who was supportive from the very first mention of birthing at home) who all encouraged and - here's that word again - supported me and helped achieve what I believe to be some of my greatest accomplishments: the births at home of Elliot, Rosie and Tristan.


  1. You powerful birthing woman you! xx

  2. I agree, wholeheartedly.
    Three beautiful homebirths are high on my list of greatest accomplishments too : )

  3. AHH birth is an amazing thing isn't it! Whatever way you do it. But homebirthing is a beautiful thing.. And I admire you that do it/have done it.

    The reasons I didn't were simply because I LOVE the birth centre we have here in Hamilton, and also my messy house would drive me mad as I laboured. I think I'd notice every pile of crap way more than I usually do!!

    Apart from those things, homebirth is such a wonderful option!

    Congrats to you! And I love that first photo in the family bed..

  4. I love this whole post Jess! You are so good at writing and you're kind character really shines through, Im there with Opshop Mama on the house/mess thing and I felt our hospital/my midwife new what I wanted *drug free natural birth, and that's exactly what I got at the hospital, (plus waterbirth for George:) Also, they offered great afterbirth care and support. I think that homebirthing would be an amazing, enpowering experience though! Well done lady!

  5. Love, love love this post. And relate!!! to the bit about it being nothing to do with luck. It's not like nipping to the supermarket- a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to educate and prepare! I'm proud of my two home births too. And I +1 everything you say about the healthy, well stuff too. You write beautifully!


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