On home birth

As Gus’ birthday is fast approaching I am preparing for a few things I want to do: finding cupcake recipes, cleaning the house as grandma (Lesley’s mom) and Auntie K (Our good friend from Canada) are coming to celebrate, picking out outfits for pictures, and sending flowers to our midwife.

I won’t send the flowers until next week (thank you payday) but I have been drafting the card in my head. I don’t know how to put what I feel into one card. [NOTE: I really hesitate to blog/talk about my home birth yet I feel it was a defining moment in my life. I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to discredit anyone’s experience, especially those whose births did not go as planned. If you don’t want to read further, I understand.]

I want to say something like this in one little card:

“You changed my life. Not only for being there to welcome our son in the world but for having total faith in me. I was someone who always believed I was weak. Who always believed I was not good enough. When I decided to have a home birth I was determined to do so yet didn’t think I could. You showed me I could. You taught me to trust my body. You taught me to trust my instincts.

Because of you I had the birth I dreamed of. I am in awe of women, of the birthing process. I am in awe of my body. With so much negativity surrounding birth and motherhood you made me feel unstoppable. In the days that followed you taught me how to feed my baby. At 11pm on the phone you taught Lesley how to calm him. In the weeks that follow you taught us how to take care of him. You taught me how to help my body heal.

Having a child has changed me but bringing in a child into the world on my own terms, from my own body, changed me more. I doubt myself less, I hold my head higher. I have more respect for other women, more respect for myself. I love my body in a way I didn’t know was possible. You gave me this gift of myself in addition to handing me my child.”

Maybe a little wordy? In labor pictures here for you! I’m going to write up a list of stuff to know birth to one for Gus’ birthday. Expect to see “Everyone takes a shower when you are in labor” on it.

colleen Our lovely midwife.



Posted on September 24, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. So many thoughts/feelings on this post! Briefly– I hope I have a birth as amazing and empowering as yours. ❤ I think the note is wonderful and if I were your midwife, I would cry (in a good way) if I got that card.

    I understand where you're coming from with being hesitant to talk about your birth, out of respect for those who have had harder birth experiences. And take this with as many grains of salt as you need, since it's coming from someone who hasn't given birth herself yet, much less experienced maternal trauma or loss, but as a birth worker/researcher, I think it is so important to hear the stories of home births (any birth, really, regardless of location, but home birth specifically because of the stigma) that go right. That aren't scary or traumatic or emergencies. So, you do what you need to do, but I really believe that the world needs to hear more stories like yours. And maybe this isn't the venue for that, or maybe it is, but I am always on the side of telling your story, in one way or another. Just my two cents. 🙂

  2. Thanks, friend. I do completely agree and I try to one on one tell that story and be an encouraging force. It’s hard because I never know what the “right” thing is. I don’t want to tell someone who had a hard birth “At least everyone is okay!” and I don’t want to discredit people who made choices much different than mine. I want women to feel empowered to have the birth they want, whatever that looks like, but at the same time I want them to understand that birthing at home IS an option and it is a safe one at that. I don’t want to play off my experience as luck – baby was in the right position, timing was good, ect. but instead I want to take ownership of this. I did this. I worked for this. But at the same time, I know with a few small differences that may not have been the case. It’s similar to me about how we look at breastfeeding. I want to take a nursing picture with Gus’ one year pictures but am worried about upsetting friends who had to (or chose to) formula feed. But how is my accomplishment putting you down? It’s like how I disagree with giving all kids in sports a medal or trophy even if they didn’t win. Sometimes things don’t go your way – I’ve had PLENTY of those things in my life. It’s okay for me to be proud of this and doesn’t mean anyone else is any less.

  3. I think you should feel free to tell your story as often as you want! I don’t know why people try to make everything about themselves and their precious feelings, your birth story is great and you should be happy and proud of it. Personally, I love birth stories and it’s interesting for me to hear about one that was so very different from my own experience.

  4. That’s so awesome. Is it common to give midwives a thanks at one year? I’m very jealous of your home birth experience. I wanted the same so badly but I also appreciate all the help and encouragement you sent me during mine. I think you should shout it from the rooftops. You accomplished something amazing

  5. I’m someone whose birthing experience did not go at all as planned. In fact, there are aspects of my birthing experience and the first week postpartum that still 3 years later bring hot tears. But I find birth stories in general, and especially like yours, to be truly inspirational. While certain aspects are outside of our control, it’s helpful to me to see what it can look like when it all works out (and plainly just to see that it can all work out, and beautifully at that). For me, this is even more true for stories of home births, because I don’t know very many women who’ve birthed at home. So thank you for what you’ve shared of your home birth experience. It brings hope for future births to at least some of us who have had a less than ideal first experience. Also, your birth pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

    And you definitely should openly celebrate your nursing relationship & triumphs. Birthing and baby feeding are hard work! There’s no shame when assistance (for birth or for feeding) is needed, but there is much to celebrate when you survive it and thrive it. You went back to work, you pumped, you worked your ass off, and you kept a baby alive for an entire year, half of that sustained by your breasts alone! Whatever to the naysayers. Celebrate the kid, celebrate L, and above all, celebrate yourself & your stories, woman!

    Like a bit of … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpu_PV3BTfI

  6. That’s a pretty powerful letter, and I think she needs to hear all of that…i think you need to TELL her all of that…screw Hallmark…hand write it, on nice stationary, and fold it inside of a card…that would be so special for the both of you. I wish more than anything that I could have a home birth…it’s just not possible for us right now because of my high BP and my borderline diabetes, so i envy you in that respect. It is so amazing that you got to have Gus at home…

  7. All birth stories deserve and need to be told. There is no need to be ashamed to tell yours because it went how you wanted it to! When people tell me they have had no issues breastfeeding, I am ecstatic for them, not jealous.

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