Don't Be Afraid, It's Just a Home BirthSerge Bielanko
I don’t know the day. You can’t really know the day, can you?
Anyhow, March is when my wife will finally roll out the red carpet (is that a bad analogy?) and we will welcome our third child into this world. It would be awesome no matter how we did it, of course, but the fact that we’re going with a home birth/super cool midwife this time around has added about a thousand new layers of cool to the whole experience for our family.
It’s weird though, ever since we each began to write about how we are choosing a home birth and how much we are rally looking forward to it, it’s been a bit comical and odd having random strangers email us out of the blue to offer up their horror stories about their poor sister whose dilated vagina exploded during her own home birth, or how they know this lady at work who had a really drunk midwife who left ten minutes before the baby popped out to run down to the corner bar only never to return.
The fact is, we aren’t really scared of anything.
Why not? She could die. Everyone could die. I could die. I’m not sure how, to be honest, but there’s got to be a way that I could perish during our home birth, right?
The thing is, we have been through the hospital thing twice and although it was fine and dandy, we have never been the kind of people who want to do every single thing in our lives according to what everyone else up and down the road are doing. I mean, we aren’t exactly base jumping off skyscrapers or vacationing at Ozark Mountain swingers resorts (yet), but at the same time, we aren’t buying much of the snake oil they are pedaling on every corner these days either.
You want to know what I am scared of?
Freaking snakes and ferris wheels. Whatever, though. I still spend heaps more time chasing wild trout in streams that run through snake-infested woods than most people ever do, or ever will.
I ride the ferris wheels too, tiny heart attacks riding a slosh of bile up into my throat, my vision blurry with terror. Hey, Violet is 4, almost 5 now though, and she wants to ride them, she isn’t afraid, and so I’ll be damned if I am going to miss out on being up there with her, no matter what. I mean, what would that be like: her sitting at the top of the ride with her mom and her little brother, everyone smiling in the high breeze and staring out over the landscape at the distant ridges an church steeples and all while Dad stands down on the ground, sucking on his 5 dollar carnival lemonade while the world passes his fat ass by?
It would be stupid.
Fear is stupid, mostly. It’s really just an excuse to be excused.
People manipulate fear and overt scare tactics for financial gain and power. It isn’t exactly a new phenomenon on this planet, but here in America it is. People want you scared, because when you’re scared you’re jittery, and when you’re jittery, well, to be frank, you’re a damn fool.
And fools follow other fools. And fools spend money.
Thus, politicians tell you that the other party are a bunch of fascists and that they are conspiring to ruin your life. And fools believe them.
People hurl their opinions around as if they are fact, as if they have some kind of insight into what is the only way to live life. And fools engage them.
Every other commercial on TV is some B.S. scheme to get you thinking that you probably have a medical condition that requires drugs. The veins showing in your legs, hair in your nostrils, your 59-year-old iffy sex drive; there is something wrong with you! Don’t wait until it’s too late! You’re going to friggin’ die, man!
And fools, they line up down at the doctor’s office, squeeze their massive doughnut-loving butts into the waiting room chairs, pick up a 9-month-old copy of People, and wait their turn to get a prescription for longer life.
Life is such a roller coaster, you know? Ups, downs. Loops. Laughter, puking. At its best, it’s a very human experience, It stings, it hurts, but it’s so goddamn beautiful, too. At its worst we are numb to the things we are afraid of, and deep down we hate ourselves for that. So, we feel underachieved and cheated by our scaredy-cat hearts.
That’s how I am seeing this whole home birth thing. In the beginning I was uncertain, as anyone would be. I needed to investigate it, to look into the whole phenomenon of midwives and the long, storied culture of home birthing and I needed to figure it all out on my own. Then, gradually, it dawned on me that this is how people have been having babies since the beginning of time. It would take a million years for all of the doctors in the world to deliver as many little children into this life as the midwives of yesterday have already delivered.
So yeah, I have no fear at all now.
Monica and I have looked hard into the eyes of a midwife, checking her out with our awkward leery Larry David stares and squints and looks. Now we trust her. Now we have collectively tuned out the white noise of trembling fear that’s always slashing away at the radio silence of your decisions gone public, forever threatening to try and torpedo any good and decent day.
We have looked hard at having a baby in our home. How awesome is that? How awesome is it that we think it’s awesome? If you think it’s not awesome at all, then we are just very different people, that’s all. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Hell, it might even be awesome.
Look, for what it’s worth, my wife and I have listened hard to the hot winds rattling at our panes and ignored the hell out of them for decades now. This isn’t the first time, I know that, and I doubt it will be the last time either. No matter what though, the only known pregnant lady in this podunk town is falling asleep, night after night, in the very same 100-year-old farmhouse bedroom where a baby will soon be born.
Where, chances are, lots of babies have been born, some of them on windy March nights, while the lionish gales clawed at the cold dark glass and this lovely, maddening world waited patiently out there in the cornfield stubble for the first tiny cries of the new kid in town.
Which, when I think about it, doesn’t seem scary to me at all.
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