Telling my very mainstream and pushy parents about our homebirth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-03-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Or at least about the fact that we're not having an OB-GYN "manage" my pregnancy and will be giving birth of hospital.

 

Help!

 

My parents consider themselves to be very educated, specially as regards to medical stuff (my dad is a doctor, my mother a biologist) - though in fact in a lot of stuff they are outdated and will take the word of their other doctor friends or the "normal" standard as law. The biggest problem is my mother, who just pushes her opinion around everywhere and is totally disrespectful to other who might disagree with her (specially me) - I feel like to my dad I could just say "show we research and we can calmly talk about it" or whatever and he would just be quietly disapproving which I can live with; but my mother will just drive me crazy.

 

We just announced my pregnancy to them this last week, and so far I've let my mother assume things about my care, mostly to postpone the inevitable. I guess I wanted their happiness without going into this big issue. But I feel like if I let it go on much further, it crosses a line into deceiving that I am sort of uncomfortable with.

 

My DH tells me to let them think what they will till after I meet up with them in NY next month, but I am sort of uncomfortable with that. On the other hand, I'm perfectly fine with steering them into thinking we'll be using a birth center (vs. homebirth) since I figure that they don't really need to know about that till after it's done and we can pass it off as "we changed out minds at the last moment".

 

I know I'll never convince them that I'm not doing something dangerous, and maybe even stupid, so that's not my aim. I'm looking for strategies that will help me tell them the following without automatically jumping into defensive and or shouting / mode:

- We're not using an OB-GYN

- We're using a midwife practice

- If there's any risk or anything strange either during the pregnancy or birth, we will transfer

- This is our decision, it is not up for discussion

- Either you can be supportive and respectful, or you cannot bring this subject up. Ever. (I'm thinking this won't really work - I tried this same approach with the "you need to lose weight" conversations years ago)

- Should you wish to bring up specific concerns, please back them up with research studies. I will be happy to read them. Do not enter into a "we´ve been told", "we've heard", or absolutes - I can do the same, and I obviously trust my own sources more than yours so nothing changes (not sure if this offering to have a look at actual research or data, which I doubt they will come up with, is a good idea).

 

Have any of you had a similar situation? How did you deal with it?

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#2 of 16 Old 03-03-2013, 12:36 PM
 
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Like your parents I think home birth is risky for neonates. Studies after studies show it.

However, it is your body and your family. You and your husband are adults and if you are OK with 3 times risk increase to your infant, that is your decision and your alone. Your parents have no right to dictate how your live your life.

 

The best way is not to engage  with or lie to to your parents. Simply tell them that your picked the way your want to birth and you wish not to discuss it anymore. That if they want to send you link to well conducted studies or papers form peer reviewed journals, you are OK with it but you do not wish yo have verbal discussion.

 

Congratulation on your pregnancy and good luck!

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#3 of 16 Old 03-03-2013, 02:11 PM
 
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I'd be tempted to say something like "we've found a wonderful midwifery practice that I'm very happy with. In the event that anything starts to look unusual or concerning, they'll transfer us to the care of a high risk ob, but so far, it's a totally normal pregnancy. " end of story.

My mom is a doctor, and is totally capable of intimidating the crap out of hospital administration on my behalf. Unless I want her to do that, we don't discuss who my doctors are or where I'm bejng treated. She cares very much, but for birth, it would have been intolerable to have my docs feeling accountable to my mother. (I have turned her loose on the oncology department, where I'm way out of my depth.) Anyway, a lot of detail can be elided. You're on it, there are backup llans, and it doesn't sound like they live nearby, so limit the details and carry on.
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#4 of 16 Old 03-03-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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I told my stepmother about it, and she told my dad, who flipped.  My great grandmother died in childbirth with my grandmother (in 1923, in the most back of backwoods big thicket Texas) and so he is absolutely against it.  The info train has thus stopped.  We aren't giving anyone any more information - we're also doing shadow care with an OB and I'm just going to let people assume that we're delivering with said OB. 


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#5 of 16 Old 03-03-2013, 05:16 PM
 
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Would you be against just... not telling them until baby is here? One set of my in laws has no idea our birth plans, and won't until the baby comes and they ask(if they ask). I just don't want to deal with negative comments/opinions or defend my very informed decision(and we rent from these in-laws, so don't want them saying we "can't" even though legally, they can't forbid it)


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#6 of 16 Old 03-04-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies!

 

My parents do live pretty far away - so we mostly talk on the phone every week, and emails. I will be seeing them twice during the pregnancy - mid March we're meeting in NY, and they'll be coming for a couple of weeks at the end of July (when I'll be 7.5 months along).

 

I did consider keeping it a secret - but I don't think I would be able to do so and the fallout whenever it came out would be worse. Since they're both medically minded, and I'm their only child, they keep asking question about everything: in two phone conversations + 2 emails since we told them I'm pregnant, they've asked "doctor" related questions in 3 of those!

 

I think I'm afraid of not being able to tell them succintly without too much justification or getting too defensive beforehand (my Mom and I have a nasty history of getting into arguments).

 

I did manage to skip the subject coming up when I talked with them yesterday ROTFLMAO.gifBut I've got an email to reply to where I can either say "things are done differently in the US" and let her keep thinking we're seeing an OB, or just say "that doesn't really apply" and come out with the midwifes thing.

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#7 of 16 Old 03-04-2013, 01:04 PM
 
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Oye, I just don't understand others fascination and scrutiny when it comes to others birth choices, the way I see it, as long as mom and baby are good to go, give birth however the heck you want! *big hugs* 


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#8 of 16 Old 03-09-2013, 12:55 PM
 
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I would just answer her questions truthfully with as little information as possible. When she asks about the doctor, tell her you're not seeing a doctor, you're seeing a midwife. If she starts getting disrespectful or asking questions you're not comfortable answering, end the conversation. Tell her that your choices for your family are not up for debate. I think it's really important for you to spell out the boundaries in your relationship now, before your little one arrives. *hugs*

Loving wife and mother to three little chickadees and one sweet surprise on the way! chicken3.gif

 

 

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#9 of 16 Old 03-10-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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OP, I'm sure you are perfectly able to find the study that I assume Alenuska was referring to in her post. Although, without source material, it's difficult to know for sure.  I happen to have two references on hand will link to save anyone reading along the trouble of looking up source material. Generally I think our HB mamas benefit from sourcing information such as this. 

 

The Wax study (2010):

http://dhmh.md.gov/midwives/Documents/Wax-etal.pdf

 

Midwifery Today response (2010): 

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ajog_response.asp

 

I realize this is OT for this thread but rather than ask Alenuska to edit for OT content, I will just post this for reference and direct anyone wishing to discuss this topic further to the thread we currently have going on the subject (in which this topic is much more appropriately discussed and was posted over two weeks ago): 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1375250/thoughts-on-planned-home-births-are-associated-with-double-to-triple-the-risk-of-infant-death-than-are-planned-hospital-births

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#10 of 16 Old 03-10-2013, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks IdentityCrisisMama - I was already familiar with the Wax study.

 

Well, I finally told her today. It went just about as I had expected, though I'm sorry that I wasn't able to handle it better.

 

For a moment there I thought it wasn't going to be that bad since at some point she said something like "Well, I guess it's just your responsibility" - I think my response of "Exactly" and assuming the conversation was over didn't quite please her ROTFLMAO.gifShe basically ended up shouting at me and hanging up, but the weirdest thing was that at the end - and this is what made me lose what little patiente I was managing to hold on to - she tried to make it into something about her and my dad!

 

"I can't believe you would do this to your father"

"What do you mean? He's a radiologist."

"But he knows the statistics and all the information about the hospital he works at"

"So? Were I in Spain I would not give birth over there even if I was drunk off my head" (starting to lose it)

 

I ended up basically telling her that if she though this type of decision was in any way shape or form related to them, she might want to get it looked at. Not my proudest moment, but probably the "softest" wording of what I was actually thinking.

 

She also said out loud something I know to be true of her - she cannot support someone (specially me) unless they're doing exactly what she would be doing. Never mind respect my decisions when she cannot understand them.

 

So next weekend in NYC with them is going to be fun (not). Oh well, if it gets too bad I've got friends in the city I could just crash with.

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#11 of 16 Old 03-12-2013, 05:11 AM
 
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Sorry to hear that, OP. Hopefully this will be the first of a good long dialogue about you making the choices you feel are best for your child (and their grandchild) and that your parents will come to respect and understand that. 


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#12 of 16 Old 03-12-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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I want to try and put this into a different perspective for a moment..kay? At their core, parents love their children and worry about them. As difficult as your mom is being about this.. I'm sure she's just really, really concerned about something going wrong, and fears losing you. And her grandbaby. They grew up in a different time.. but times are changing and it can be difficult to transition, especially if it's hanging there, right in front of your face. If the shadow care you're receiving is very relaxed, could it be possible to get the midwife to talk with your mom over the phone? I'm sure her fear is magnified not being able to be around you... she might actually be terrified and is going about the wrong way trying to convey that to you. But maybe if the midwife talks to her, she could relax a bit. Maybe you could direct your mom to videos of home birth on youtube to try and calm her down a bit? I'm not trying to undermine you, or your decision. By all means, I think the place you give birth, and the people you give birth around are entirely individual, and what feels safe to someone, might not feel safe to someone else. But sometimes when parents worry, they don't quite know how to convey it without screaming. You know how sometimes a mom or dad might scream at their child because they were doing something dangerous, and it scared them? Maybe that's all it is with her...you know? =\

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#13 of 16 Old 03-12-2013, 11:31 AM
 
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OP, I'm sorry your parents are being so unsupportive, I hope they come around.  My mom is like yours, but without any actual education or knowledge in the medical field.  She just has her assumptions, which in her mind are gospel.  She knows we are seeing a midwife, and she was very disapproving initially.  She also can't talk respectfully about her concerns like my dad can.  Again, not my finer moments but my response to her yelling at me was "Do you know anything about midwives??  She isn't some woman that comes out of her cave and hikes down the mountain when it's time for the baby to be born, rolls up her sleeves and tells someone to boil some water!" whistling.gif

 

Anyway, she's come around to the MW with information I've given her on their training and background, etc.  I am NOT discussing HB with her.  It's not worth it.  It's not her business where I have my baby and I hope she doesn't find out until after babes is born. If she askes about my "Doctor's appointment" I don't correct her and remind her I'm seeing a MW.

 

I understand that you don't want to be dishonest with your parents.  I have the same struggle.  I think that you can limit the information you give to your parents without being dishonest.  Give them the answers to directly asked questions, but not more.  A MW really isn't that different, IMO, in terms of the actual prenatal appointments, etc. than a doctor.  You can, if you chose, go for the same prenatal tests, ultrasounds etc.  If asked how things are going, you can just say "Great.  I am right on track and baby is doing wonderfully."  You don't need to give more detail than that (granted, may be more difficult given your parents are both in the medical field but again, YOU decide what to tell them.  You don't HAVE to tell them everything!)

 

While I do agree with Echo (parents just worry about their kids), you are an adult and deserve to be treated with respect by your parents.  They deserve to be treated with respect too.  Mutual respect is key to a healthy relationship between adult children adn their parents, IMO.  If your mom can't appreciate the fact that you are an adult capable of making informed, reasonable decisions, and who is entitled to be treated with respect, then I don't see why you owe her any honest answers.
 


N, wife to my goofball K partners.gif and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013).  Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.

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#14 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 08:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

Like your parents I think home birth is risky for neonates. Studies after studies show it.
However, it is your body and your family. You and your husband are adults and if you are OK with 3 times risk increase to your infant, that is your decision and your alone. Your parents have no right to dictate how your live your life.

The best way is not to engage  with or lie to to your parents. Simply tell them that your picked the way your want to birth and you wish not to discuss it anymore. That if they want to send you link to well conducted studies or papers form peer reviewed journals, you are OK with it but you do not wish yo have verbal discussion.

Congratulation on your pregnancy and good luck!
Studies and studies show it??? I'd like to see these "studies and studies" because I feel the need to clarify something. Working in the hosp I can show u studies after studies of detrimental things that occur there AND ARE NEVER REPORTED. thus the safety reports get skewed.
I can also show u study after study that state homebirth is just as safe,if not safer, than hosp birth.
I am a respiratory therapist and my husband is a physician.
So please.
Try to educate yourself before you throw out opinions that have zero truth to them
With education at our fingertips , ignorance is a Choice that you apparently chose for yourself and ignorance loves company.
Don't fall for it ladies.
Here....educate yourself http://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b1616
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#15 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 08:27 PM
 
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#16 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 08:50 PM
 
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i is none of their business how your child exits your body or where for that matter. Let them assume until the baby is here. Especially if they will not be supportive or cause undue stress.
 

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