Thursday, July 2, 2009

unsolicited advice about birth and birthing options

A friend of mine is so frustrated because people at her work found out she was considering a birthing center or a home birth option for her pregnancy, and started giving her unsolicited advice right away about how "dangerous" those options are, etc. Sigh. Western conventional women who don't do their research really don't have a clue, do they?
Personally, I equate this with bullying. Here is a first time pregnant mom, and they are trying to fill her with fear, the very definition of a bully.
Well, what I usually do with bullies is either ignore them, or confront them on their bullying.
Here are some tips and some things to say if people are rude and tactless enough to insert themselves into your business.

1st) I have read dozens of books and articles about birthing center births and home births. Recently, I read the brand new book "Your Best Birth" by Ricki Lake. Amazon link. This book is brilliant, and is an extremely good recommendation for those who have never considered a birthing center or home birth and who are antagonistic about the whole idea. So one option is to create business cards that include the title and author of this book, and maybe a couple of facts to go along with it. Then you hand them the card and say:
"I don't believe you have done your homework. If you want to know why my family has chosen this option, you can read this book."
If they continue to be antagonistic, you can get a bit snippy, and say
"I'm not going to discuss this with you further until you know what you are talking about."
"If you want to have an educated discussion on this topic, research first, and then I'll be happy to discuss it with you."

2) Ground them in reality with some hard-core facts. Say:
"United States has the second-worst newborn death rate in the developed world and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in industrialized countries, mainly because we have been deceived into delivering at the hospital with a male doctor. Denmark is #1 in the world in safe births, and most of their women have their births at home with a well-educated midwife. So if you are trying to tell me that home births or birthing center births are dangerous, you obviously don't know what you are talking about."

3) Or you can go the extremely tactful route (which is no fun, in my opinion) and just say:
"My family and I have thoroughly discussed and researched this. This is the decision we have made after careful consideration and deliberation. I appreciate that you had a good birth experience at the hospital of your choice and believe you have every right to have made that decision. We have decided to exercise our right to make a different decision. We will just have to agree to disagree on this topic. Thank you."

4) I will admit that some of the statements above are bit confrontational. They are written in mind with the view that you have already tried gentler methods of persuasion and answers, but the people who are offering the unsolicited advice won't back off. In that case, he or she is being a bully, and the above more confrontational statements might help your cause to get them to leave you alone.

5) Of course, most women who decide on a birthing center or home birth simply do not tell or discuss it with anyone. Which is why a lot of women are still ignoramuses about alternative birthing because nobody discusses it.

6) If you are more of a radical educator like myself, you might try having a video watching party with your women friends where you can show and discuss the film "The Business of Being Born". Amazon link. Youtube link. Netflix link. This might also be a good idea for your family (moms and dads) if they are having qualms about an alternative birth. Also, if more women advocate the book "Your Best Birth" for their book club selection, then the ideas behind the book would be more likely to be discussed across the country and become more mainstream thinking than radical. There are several great books and films that are along similar philosophical lines, but the Ricki Lake media in particular plays well to a mainstream audience who knows nothing about home birth. I hope and pray that churches and women clubs across the country will show the film "The Business of Being Born" and advocate reading the book "Your Best Birth", so that moms choosing an alternative birth won't feel so much pressure and bullying from those who don't know any better.

7) Other videos that promote the true facts about birthing are Orgasmic Birth (website link), Birth Without Violence (Amazon link and Trailer link) What Babies Want (website link, trailer link), Home Delivery (Amazon link), With Woman (Amazon link) and Pregnant in America (website link, trailer link). The other day, I went to a screening on Orgasmic Birth. Its actually more about home birth and the safety of it and how great it is, etc. Its definitely worthwhile seeing with your hubby. You can Netflix Orgasmic Birth (link), Business of Being Born (link) (this one is also available thru Netflix streaming video so you can watch it on the computer), Birth without Violence link, Pregnant in America link, and there is a lot of prenatal yoga videos if you type in pregnancy, and several breastfeeding videos if you type in breastfeeding. :)

8) Also, I fully understand why moms choose a hospital birth with an epidural or c-section. It is her right to do so. I believe that you should give birth wherever you honestly feel that it is safest. I understand that many women truly believe hospitals are safe and wonderful places to give birth. My personal opinion on the matter is that hospitals are very dangerous places to give birth, and I would only want to be driven there if something was wrong.
So my only advice on the subject is that I would greatly encourage all women to thoroughly research and explore all their options and then make an educated decision.

9) To me, this entire subject enflames my sense of justice. I have a very strong sense of justice and an absolute disgust for injustice. Home birth is legal in every state and every civilized country, and has long been considered by most of the western world as the safest place to give birth with a competent midwife to assist. It completely baffles me that the women of the United States would allow the money-grubbing Male doctors and insurance companies to be so completely in charge of the birthing process. They keep insisting that birth centers and home births are dangerous, even though every statistic, every piece of research completely refutes their claim. Because of money, they endanger the lives of millions of women and babies. Women of the United States need to unite and insist that it is a woman's decision on where to give birth, and that all options can be good and safe choices.

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