Doing It At Home Podcast – Why Are You Choosing Home Birth?
Why this podcast?
I’ve really fallen for this one. The hosts, Matthew and Sarah Bivens, began this podcast as a way of documenting their own journey to home birth. Since then it has become so much more. They interview birth experts, share their experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting and talk to other families who had their babies at home.
I think it is fair to say that whilst this podcast is very much about open and honest conversation around home birth, it is really about choosing the birth that is empowering and right for you, however that looks.
Even if you have zero interest in having a home birth this is still a fantastic resource that also happens to be super entertaining.
How does it look?
The DIAH podcast launched in September 2016 and there are now 135 episodes to choose from. Each tends to last 30 to 45 minutes and, apart from various home birth stories, include topics such as sex after having kids, how to deal with fears of something going wrong, postpartum for partners, the censoring of birth in social media, taboo subjects of birth and motherhood and what is empowered birth?
Why this episode?
I chose this episode because I believe it is important to think about why you are choosing to birth at home, in a hospital or in a birth centre and to recognise that, for the majority of women, it really is a choice.
This episode looks at the reasons you might choose home birth but they are also relevant for any kind of birth. I love that it gets you thinking about which elements are important to you, how you want to feel during labour, the kind of atmosphere you want….. once you know all of these things you can then decide how to best create that. For some it may be birthing at home, for some it may be a hospital but with the addition of a doula or bringing along things that will provide comfort.
This episode takes an interesting turn towards the end and I’ll let you listen to that for yourself but for now, I think I’m just going to launch straight in, I hope you enjoy it!
Why NOT choose home birth
I was fully expecting this to be ‘because you are high risk’ or ‘because you are sure you want an epidural’ but actually, the reason was pretty interesting and definitely relevant to all births.
What Sarah and Matthew said was not to choose home birth as a way of rebelling against expectations or doing things differently to your mum/friend/cousin/aunt.
On the flip side, choosing where to birth because that is where everyone else in your circle birthed is probably not a good plan either.
Deciding how you want your birth to look and feel is the first step on the path to parenthood. Once your baby arrives you are going to have so many decisions to make each and every day and, whilst it can be helpful to see how others do it and have them share their experience, ultimately, you need to make the final decision and do what’s right for you and your family.
Thinking about, researching and choosing the kind of birth that feels most empowering to you is a great start.
So, with that said, why might you choose home birth?
Reason #1 – Previous birth trauma
The families who Sarah and Matthew have interviewed often cite this as their reason for choosing home birth and mostly, those traumatic births have occurred in a hospital setting.
Home birth generally involves midwife-led care which means that not only can the birth itself look different but the pre and postnatal care too.
I love that Sarah points out that simply changing the setting for your next birth is not enough. Working through that previous birth trauma, however that may look for you, is also hugely important.
Processing that past trauma and planning a birth that feels empowering for you, whether that be at home, in a hospital or in a birth centre, can be so, so healing.
Reason #2 – Dislike for hospitals
Many people will have only been to a hospital to visit a sick relative or for an emergency. Understandably, hospitals have negative associations for a lot of people.
However, if you are planning a home or birth centre birth there is always a small chance that you will transfer to a hospital. Maybe your midwife picks up on some warning signs or maybe you simply get tired and want something to help you find some relief and let you rest for a while.
Refusing to even think about the possibility of going to a hospital could create a pretty traumatic experience if, ultimately, that is where you birth your baby.
Having a Plan B of what elements you want and don’t want to include in the event of a hospital transfer is hugely important. That way you are still very much involved in all of the decisions surrounding your birth.
Going to a hospital does not have to mean letting go of all of your control or of having the birth experience that you want.
I really respect the fact that Matthew and Sarah underline that it’s vital to address any fears and anxieties you have surrounding birth before you go into labour.
Reason #3 – Hearing the home birth experience of others
Hearing about home (or any kind of birth) from those close to you makes that kind of birth seem much more accessible. Maybe a certain kind of birth has elements that appeal to you but didn’t really seem like a realistic option.
Learning that friends or family have had that experience can really open up that possibility for you and your family.
Reason #4 – Learning from home birth resources
This could be podcasts, social media, books, documentaries, websites, you name it. The more knowledge you acquire about a particular type of birth, the more familiar it becomes.
Once you know more about something the more likely you are to add it to your list of possibilities.
Reason #5 – You like your own space
Labour and birth flow so much more smoothly if you are somewhere that you feel calm, safe, loved and supported and this often means somewhere that feels familiar.
Nowhere feels more familiar than your own home, right?
Whilst I did not have my children at home I totally love the idea of giving birth in the comfort of your own living room, eating your own food, using your own shower and getting into your own bed afterwards.
If you are planning on having your baby in a birth centre the rooms will most likely be set up to feel home-like but even if you are planning to give birth in a hospital you can definitely create a relaxed and calming space in which to give birth. This post will give you some great tips on just how to do that and Sarah and Matthew refer to an episode in which their guest talked about her birth having been “a home birth in a hospital”.
To wrap up
Matthew and Sarah talk about how they decided to have their baby at home. It was simple. They pictured their upcoming birth and thought about how they wanted to feel, what they wanted to do, the kind of food they wanted to eat and the kind of atmosphere they wanted to have.
They realised that for them, all of those elements were right there in their own home.
That’s not going to be the right choice for everyone and I don’t believe it has to be a choice between a cosy home birth or a clinical, cold birth in a hospital. The point is that there are choices and those are pretty wonderful things to have.
I am going to leave you with this beautiful quote –
’’Birth is not only about making babies.
Birth is about making mothers –
strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.’’
– Barbara Katz Rothman PhD –
Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.