When I was pregnant with my children, the thought of delivering them at home never even occurred to me (I have a hard time keeping my bathrooms clean as it is, mind you). I mean, sure, hospital births are expensive, often times uncomfortable, and even scary to some, but for me it was the only logical choice.
Intuitively, I trust medical professionals more than my own basic knowledge of the birthing procedure. And no matter how organic I try to be, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was looking forward to the hospital epidural and the care from my nurses.
Before I had my first child, I gave birth to three kidney stones in my early 20s. I KNOW pain, so getting an epidural was like a sweet island vacation with a fruity cocktail for me. But most importantly, I just couldn’t imagine choosing my comfort over my child’s safety.
Now, not everyone is going to agree with me that hospital births are far safer than home births. And honestly I don’t expect them too.
Kourtney Kardashian recently made waves when she said in an interview with Fit Pregnancy that, after witnessing a home birth, she prefers to give birth in a hospital:
I think it’s smarter and safer. I witnessed a home birth with my sister Khloe and, after seeing it, I felt it wasn’t for me. There was too much risk involved and it wasn’t as sanitary as a hospital.
Personally, I don’t have any investment in where a mother decides to give birth, but the debate on whether to deliver in a hospital or at home has long been a hot button issue. Kourtney does make a point about safety. Obviously, you can’t plan childbirth the same way you do a day at Disney because of the unpredictable nature of labor and delivery. I didn’t spend 10 years of my life studying the ins and outs of female sexual and reproductive health, so I put my faith in my gynecologist, and the gynecologist in the hospital room next door, just in case something happens.
Since the business of being born is such a polarizing topic, I reached out to some of my mama friends to see what they had to say. Surprise, surprise … their opinions differed greatly.
- Blogger Taryn Pisaneschi of The Clueless Mommy admits that she briefly considered a home birth, but quickly realized that she didn’t want her neighbors listening in on the event in her South Florida condo. In addition, Pisaneschi said, “We wanted to make sure we had easy access to medical care in the event we needed it.”
- Erica Chao of Mama Mission echoed Taryn’s concerns, admitting that she’s always dreamed of having a home birth but is “deathly afraid to risk the lives” of her children.
- Mother-of-three Melissa Roy of Beyond Mommying gave birth to her third child in the comfort of her own home. She experienced minor contraction issues and a perineal tear, but ultimate said, “despite all the stress, struggle and what I now see might have been something out of the ordinary (no one ever showed concern at the time), it was still the most beautiful experience of my life. The births of my daughters were beautiful in their own way, but birthing my son in my own bathtub with my husband, daughters and parents looking on was truly a remarkable experience.”
Does any of this change the way we view home births? Are we afraid to give birth at home simply because so few doctors recommend it and so little is understood about it? I’m not certain, but it does remind me of the breastfeeding versus bottle debate.
There’s no right answer. And we shouldn’t judge those who chose differently than us.
We could spend the next five days debating the pros and cons of hospital births versus home births, but it’s each mother’s personal decision. If there is one thing we can agree on, I’m sure it’s that cocktail. That fruity, delicious cocktail that every mother needs and deserves.
In the meantime, just breathe mamas.More On