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‘I Was Never Once Afraid’ : Story + Photos of My Friend’s Home Birth

By Aela Mass |

When I found out that my dear friend, Kathy, was planning to have a home birth with her second child, I was so proud of her. My mother had my brothers and me at home back in the late 70s and early 80s, and I secretly dream of being able to give birth at home. It takes a special kind of woman to have the courage to do what these women did. I admire them with every womanly ounce of me.

When I approached Kathy about sharing her amazing story with Babble, she was thrilled. Kathy is the type of woman who is always looking to help others, in any way she can. And she is passionate about her birthing experience, and eager to shine light on a subject that is often misunderstood.

Here, I share Kathy’s words and the photographs of the home birth of her son, Kinder. She is joined in the photos by her husband, Kevin, their first-born son, Arlo, Kathy’s mother, and Kathy’s midwife. Photographs were taken by Sarah Morand of En Vie Photographie, and are used with permission for this post. Kathy’s story is below the pictures, please read!

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Story + Photos of a Home Birth

Labor Begins

When labor started, there was no mad dash to pack the car and head to the hospital. We made tea and played music. My dad took my son on an “adventure day” to keep him occupied. I called my midwife, Betsy, and her assistant, Tisha, to let them know how I was doing, and we kept in touch over the phone for several hours. My husband and my mom had both attended childbirth classes with me and knew how to help me through the contractions, mostly by putting counter pressure on my lower back.
Photo by Sarah Morand of En Vie Photographie
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When I was pregnant with my first son, Arlo, I didn’t know that home birth was even an option in New York. I delivered him in a birth center attached to a hospital and was generally pleased with the care I received, but wanted something more this time around. I was bringing another child into the world, a most sacred and spiritual experience, and I wanted to honor that. I wanted to do it peacefully and quietly, in my own time, and in my own way, without anyone hovering over me, looking at the clock, or offering me pain medication. The location of the birth was less important to me than the rapport I’d have with my providers and the quality of care I would receive with them.  As it turned out, I was able to find everything I was looking for with the Family Life Center in Albany, a home birth midwifery practice.

 Choosing a home birth was one of the best things my husband and I have done for our family. My prenatal care was fantastic. Appointments often lasted an hour, and never felt hurried. All my questions and concerns were addressed respectfully at length. We talked about my health and nutrition, but also about my feelings, and my family, and how we were all adjusting to the idea of a new baby, especially a baby born at home.  

Not everyone in our lives was on board with our decision.  Some were worried about not being in a hospital in case of an emergency. Some called us selfish and irresponsible, risking my life and the baby’s for some “hippie experience.”  This was the biggest challenge we faced in our journey. In order to have the peaceful birth I wanted, I needed peace with these people in my life. My midwives were very supportive and understanding. They provided literature about home birth for me to share with them and offered to meet anyone with questions in person to put their minds at ease.

 When it was time to have the baby, everyone was on board and well prepared.  We had the private, intimate environment we were looking for, with just a handful of people in our home.  In addition to my husband, mother, and midwives, we invited Sarah Morand of En Vie Photographie to document our experience.  I’m so pleased to share my experience and some of Sarah’s beautiful photographs with Babble.

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Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make a Right.

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About Aela Mass

aelahmass

Aela Mass

Aela Mass is a lesbian writer and editor living the dream on Martha's Vineyard with her wife, Sara, and their dog, Darla. She miscarried her twins at 17 weeks and has undergone numerous IVF, FET, and IUI cycles. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post among other publications. For more of her work, visit her blog Two Moms Make a Right. Read bio and latest posts → Read Aela's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “‘I Was Never Once Afraid’ : Story + Photos of My Friend’s Home Birth

  1. Rachael says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. It’s such a beautiful experience bringing a child into the world. I can’t wait until we can see this for you, Aela!

  2. Gemma says:

    Such a beautiful story, thank you for sharing your experience.

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