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I Want a Homebirth but Have No Support

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well... where to begin?

I am not pregnant at this time, but do alot of thinking about the furture and when I will have kids. I have done extensive reading about homebirth and have come to the conclusion I want to have my babies at home with a midwife attending. I read extensively on the subject, including _Birth Without Violence_, _Spiritual Midwifery_, _Gentle Birth Choices_, and every single issue of Mothering since 1996.

I am strong, healthy, and very confident of my body's ability birth a baby. Should any serious complications arise, I live only 5 minutes from a hospital if I need to transfer.

Dh and I have talked alot about having kids lately.My problem is that he refuses even to consider a homebirth. He thinks that Drs. know better no matter what and that you HAVE to have a baby in a hospital with all the technological bells and whistles. He won't even read the liturature I suggest which supports my decision.

Help! I want to resolve this soon! I do not want an ongoing battle once I finally am pregnant.
post #2 of 15

Get him to back it up

Well, I can see how this is so frustrating for you, but it sounds like your husband is just uninformed about alternatives to our medical culture. I don't know if this would work for you, but...Since you've asked him to read your literature in an effort to convince him, and he's refused, tell him your turning the tables on him. Ask him to convince you, by doing the research in respected and well rounded literature, that hospital birth is safer than homebirth and even safe at all. Maybe if you at least get him reading from this route he may discover that everything he believes to be true about the almighty medical system is not necessarily so.
Good luck to you and keep us posted.
post #3 of 15
The book 'The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth' by Henci Goer breaks down all the medical studies into laymans terms AND has a summary of the actual studies with references to the medical journals. It covers a lot of the medical "routine" hospital procedures and blows them out of the water. You might try asking him to read that and summarize the studies for you to "help you learn why the hospital is so much better". It may be technical enough to show him why you want a homebirth. All the books you mentioned you've read are pretty touch/feely granola mom... the information in them may not have been scientific enough for him.
post #4 of 15
Immaculate Deception is another good book to read, if you can get him into it.
If you aren't yet pregnant, you still have some time, without the pressure to educate him.
His fear is probably that he loves you and wants you to be as safe as possible in what he perceives to be an uncontrollable situation.
For many males, they can surrender this fear to the great Doctor, who will keep his beloved safe and let no harm come to her. I am speaking in the realm of archetypes which we carry with us whether we know of them or not. His choice at this point stems from fear and ignorance. but don't judge him for that, look at it as a starting point. He needs to learn some of the basics about the safety of homebirth vs. hospital, for a start.
Would he go with you to visit a midwife to address some of his questions and concerns? Sometimes a preconception counselling session can be very helpful. Then you can contrast that with a visit to a L&D ward and you and he can be introduced to all the invasive machinary they have lying in wait to bombard you with when you walk in the door!

Maybe it would help to talk to other dads who have done homebirths with their partners so he has some real stories to connect with.
My Dh is not very crunchy granola and is a HUGE advocate for homebirth.
He will happily talk to any dads-to-be about the subject and his exerience with it.
PM me if you want, and I'll give you our email. If your Dh wants some male input that should be no problem.

See yourself as having the birth you want and the rest will fall into place.
Sometimes the process of awakening to it (for our partners as well as ourselves) is challenging, but not impossible.
Don't give up. It can happen.
All the best to you.
post #5 of 15
My dh is like yours.He would be more than happy to hand me over at the doors and go wait in the waiting area,lol.
Sometimes it helps if he can talk with a midwife about what would be done during possible complications. Has not helped mine any,but then I doubt anything will. No one IRL supports my homebirth choice,and really at this point I don't care. I know what kind of birth/rape would occur for me in a hospital,so I know being at home is the best option both for me and my baby(since stress can negatively affect the labor).
All you can do is keep discussing the issue.The arguement that all firsts births should occur in a hospital is hooey,since you can have a good first,second,or third birth...and then complications in the 4th.Just never know.Thing with mw's or intune UCers is they can pick up problems early on and transfer when needed.Death and njury does occur at the hands of OB too.

Good luck!!!
post #6 of 15
here's a website that may interest dh - it's for cochrane's reviews of home vs. hospital birth. cochrane's reviews are used by doctors when they want a summary of the medical studies on a particular topic. the second website is the index of birth-related cochrane's reviews, which you may find interesting for all the other things they cover regarding studies on childbirth in general.

a few years ago, British Medical Journal published a large study showing no difference in outcome (healthy infant) btween low-risk home and hospital births for 1st-timers; the study did find better outcomes for home birth than hospital in 2nd+ births.

btw, my dh was very uncomfortable with the homebirth route until he met the midwife. he asked her all the questions, and her answers satisfied him. (we had 2 at home)


post #7 of 15

No Support for homebirth

It's a shame that you have conflict over something that is this important, and it would be great if you can convince your husband of your point of view. However, when all is said and done this is *your* body, *your* major life experience (not to belittle his), and *your* decision. Simply have your baby at home! Use a midwife for prenatal care (if he is present for exams/meetings he can challenge her all he likes and get answers) and plan your homebirth accordingly.
If he can't support a homebirth, he doesn't have to be there. You are the only one who can decide how important this is to you, and you must accept responsibility for your decision. No one can force you into a hospital birth.
post #8 of 15
Screebies LizD isn't that a bit harsh? It's his child also? In my experience husbands worry about their wives dying in childbirth, and that is part of why they trust the Dr. They also feel horrible guilt for being the cause of so much pain by impregnanting her. I would imagine he's reacting out or fear and ignorance. It's her body, but to draw a line in the sand and exclude him if he doesn't lock step with her would seem to be setting up a parenting model that would fail. "Why should I be involved- my opinion/fear/concerns/whatever for you and the baby's safety wasn't good enough then, why is it good enough now?"

Like I said in an earlier post- the books she's read so far are pretty granola, and a lot of men need more technical and logical arguments to see the light. Educate him in a way so he will relate to the information and find common ground to agree on, don't treat him like an annonomous sperm donor! Yikes!
post #9 of 15
Really, I don't think it's very harsh. I do not mean to belittle a husband's concern, but a closed mind is a closed mind. It is not my responsibility to bring my partner around to my point of view, especially if he doesn't want to! This is a problem in their private communication, a relationship issue, not an opportunity to bombard this man with pro-homebirth materials he doesn't want to read anyway. In my experience trying to offer reading materials on your own to explain or support your point of view is disastrous. It is often far more effective for the support to come from outside. It is excellent that this issue has come to the fore prior to a pregnancy, but this might need some counseling, or if that's too formal, a consultation with their clergyman or trusted unbiased friend or family member. Or simply interviewing homebirth midwives together. People usually behave better the more company they have, anyway.

Making reading materials available and making efforts toward discussion are of course essential, but what I wanted to point out is that this decision is the woman's, not the man's. If the woman goes ahead and takes charge of prenatal care and has it all under control, yet makes him welcome, and he can ask questions of the practitioner and allay his fears, he will come around right quick. Continuing to argue is only going to lead to more arguing and tension around planning their babies, which needs to be a happy time. Why should a woman have a hospital birth or any other kind of birth because her husband doesn't agree with her? A husband may need the freedom that a strong decision on her part may afford him. That alone may be what he needs, deep down, to see to believe a homebirth is possible; that his lady is strong enough.
post #10 of 15
My husband was also against a home birth. What we're doing instead is using a CNM in a hospital--VERY detailed birth plan, early release, etc. After all of our Bradley classes, I think I might have broken him down enough for us to have a homebirth on our second baby I don't give birth until EDD 4/2, so I'm not sure how it'll go... It helped (in his mind) that we both compromised and we both LOVE the midwives!
post #11 of 15

Eventually . . .

My husband's mind changed when we were taking our Bradley class. The Bradley Method does such an excellent job of teaching you about pregnancy, labor and birth that you feel begin to feel more comfortable making your own judgements and choices. It also emphasizes the 'one time only' aspect of the experience. You cannot go back and do a pregnancy or birth over and this is your child--you need to make the best informed decision that you feel most comfortable with and pursue it.

And, as a word of encouragement, my husband is the son and brother of practicing MDs, RNs, etc. He isn't afraid to take their advice on what crazy meds to take but he is totally convinced that healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy 'needs' to be in a hospital. Luck--***
post #12 of 15



if you are serious about having a homebirth I would highly reccomend joining www.birthlove.com. It is only $10 a yr and well worth the money, there you will find many women who have had homebirths that have had the same dilemma, some of them even went on to have unassisted homebirths with husbands that originally insisted on hospital births. It is a great community and I encourage you to check it out, the owner has a deal on right now where you can check it out for a day for free and then decide whether you want to join!!!

Good luck,

Love Renee
post #13 of 15
I would have to say I agree with Liz on this issue. Someone else's fears and mistrust should not keep you from doing what you think is right. I mean, my husband and I have a fantastic relationship, we respect each other's views immensely, but if he was telling me to do something that I knew, as a woman, was not in the best interest of myself and our baby, I would not give up my decision. Decisions should not be based in fear.
If, for example, your husband told you to circumcise your baby girl, would you do it? Would it even matter what his opinion was; would it change yours? That's how I feel about circumcision, if this next one's a boy... I will not do anything detrimental to my child, and I don't care WHO disagrees with my opinion. A woman knows her body and child better than anyone else, so it is, ultimately, her decision.
post #14 of 15

mad ethel

I don't know if you are a christian or even if religious talk is welcomed. But I think you should pray, for the Lord to soften your husbands heart and at least be open to the discussion. My hubby was totally against a hbac, But he did come around. With Bradley Class, and reading. But it sounds as if your hubby has dug in his heels big time and the only thing that can change his heart is divine intervention. I'm just sayin' give it ago.
post #15 of 15
Hi Mad Ethyl,

Just thought I'd let you know how we've resolved it--although with six weeks to go, I'm going to take Lucinda's advice and pray, because a change of dh's heart would be great for all of us.

Dh was terrified of homebirth--mostly because he's afraid that I will die or the baby will be born retarded for lack of medical back-up. He didn't want to read anything I had to offer because it was all, in his opinion, biased and didn't want to talk to any fathers we know who'd attended home births. Our conversations started out with him getting really defensive and irrational, and I would talk for a little while then wait a few days and talk with him some more.

I took him with me to interview a midwife, and he was very quiet during the interview while I spent two hours asking her questions. Afterwards, he said he hadn't changed his mind, but if I had to have a homebirth, he thought she was a competent midwife. We were still sitting on the decision when I had my last doctor's appointment and questioned him about his definition of natural childbirth. The Dr. who had given lipservice to supporting my natural birth choices throughout my pregnancy, said that he would expect IV from admission to the hospital, no food or drink, rupture membranes at 4 cm and use internal fetal monitor and uterine catheter (to monitor contractions)and his episiotomy rate for first time mothers is 70-80%! Anyway, I left that appointment feeling that I really couldn't work with my doctor because even if I convinced him to do what I wanted he might be too dependent on electronic monotoring to be effective at a natural birth.

I told dh about this and he asked if I could find another doctor. I told him it was possible but would be hard and told him that what I really wanted was to have the midwife come to our house. He got really upset and said he disapproved but would support me if that's what I felt like I had to do. I asked if there was any way to make him feel better about it, and he said no. I'm still hoping, but have made the decision to have this baby at home. I feel really, really good about it except that I would like dh to be more comfortable and confident.

One thing that seemed to help a little was my response when he said he thought he'd always been more careful than I am. I explained that it wasn't a matter of my being less careful, it was a matter of me honestly believing--based on both reading and intuition--that it is safer for both mother and baby to birth at home. I explained to him that I would love to believe that hospital birth is safer because it is the easier path, and that if I thought hospital birth was as safe as homebirth, I'd be happy to have the baby there even if the experience of giving birth was not as good. It didn't change his mind, but I think it helped him to be reminded that I am trying to make the healthiest choice even though we don't agree on that choice.

I'll pray and welcome any other ideas! Good luck with your dh. (At least you've got more time to bring him around!)

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