Homebirth is an appealing option
by Marinah V. Farrell —
Childbirth issues are complex, controversial and political. Chief among them is the fact that holistic healthcare begins at birth. In this country, however, modern medicalized birth is the foundation of our experience, both as parents and as new babies coming into the world.
Pregnancy and birth are treated as illnesses to be managed, when in truth, the statistics and facts about homebirth show amazing outcomes and experiences. Because of the intimacy of the birthing experience, women cannot help but be completely affected by every aspect of the environment.
Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child, wrote that the medicalization of childbirth is “a cultural practice that is heartbreaking.”
Each medical action creates a cascade effect, where one intervention creates the need for another and another. The mother who walks into the foreign, alienating environment of a hospital and is unable to move freely at all times or even to eat, will often choose medication, which then slows or speeds the process of the baby’s birth (among other natural and spiritual processes).
Often the woman ends up unable to bond with her baby during those first critical moments after birth because either she or the newborn is too drugged or traumatized.
This beginning affects the child for his or her whole life, as well as impacting many women’s introduction to birth. A woman may come home from a hospital birth with a sense that “something about what was done to me or my baby was not right” but yet she cannot completely explain why. What she is experiencing is her female instinct — something that all women need to reclaim, as it has been ignored by medicalized hospital birth.
I have been privileged to work with many wonderful holistic physicians, but these doctors often leave the field, dissatisfied with the politics and environment of hospital births. They, too, are distressed by the medicalization of what simply is the miracle of birth.
Home birth may be the best choice for families who want a safer, more spiritual experience outside of a hospital.
Marinah V. Farrell is a certified professional midwife and a licensed midwife. After working at a birth center along the border of Texas and Mexico, she came to Phoenix in 2003 and began Sage Midwifery, a homebirth practice serving the Valley. 602-793-5063 or www.sagemidwifery.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 23, Number 1, February/March 2005.