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My husband and I opted for a home birth soon after we learned I was pregnant. He is wonderfully supportive and we see eye-to-eye on the pros/cons of home birth and hospital birth.

My family, however, especially my mother and sister, are very worried. I respect both of them and know that their concerns come from a loving place. But each time they raise their concerns and (especially my mother) try to scare me out of my decision, I feel untrusted, disrespected, hurt, angry, frustrated, and start to question the wisdom of my decision to home birth. God forbid anything happens, I'll feel miserable (period), but even more miserable with the guilt of ignoring my mother's and sister's advice.

My mother is a professional worrier, and despite the fact that she was born at home (doctor hadn't even arrived yet AND her mother was alone...giving birth to twins), she is extremely worried. She has apparently been discussing this with a lot of family friends, presumably thinking that their concern (especially of my peers) will make me change my mind. Instead this just embarrasses and angers me. She has also told me she's losing sleep over my decision. I've lost patience with her and told her that we've educated ourselves, live 1.5 blocks from the hospital in case we need to transfer, and that our midwives have worked with more than 2500 clients and have stellar reputations. Still she worries. I feel like there is nothing I can do to get her support, or at least to get her to stop trying to change my mind.


Have any of you had similar experiences? Any success in getting the support of your parents/siblings/others?
 

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I haven't had that kind of negativity to that extreme, however, I can totally relate to how it is affecting you! When my sil told me "it wasn't right" etc (I knew she wouldn't be happy) it really put me into a depression for a few days and left me questioning myself! Was I being selfish? stupid?

What really, really helped me was reading the actual data from the homebirth studies. I know that I liked certain birth books that promoted homebirth, I wanted sources that were way less crunchy just to placate the logical part of me.

If they are willing, your family could also look at the data, it really speaks for itself.

Oh, I also plan on taking my mom to one of my pre-natal visits so she can see my midwife is a "normal" person. She lives in a fancy house in a sub-division!
Not that has anything to do with her skills, but I think people have this ideas about what midwives "look like" and I know it will boost my mom's confidence.
 

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That's why I didn't tell my side of the family until right after baby was born
It saved me a lot of irritation & more...

Why not give her a book that will scare the pants off of her with regard to the hospital? I know that Born in America did that for me even after I was convinced of the evils of the hospital v. home...has she seen the BOBB?

At that point, if she watched/read what you asked and she still caused a fuss, I'd just let her know that she'll just have to either let it drop or she won't be hearing from you until after the baby arrives because this kind of thing is just too stressful for you to deal with in a time that is already stressful...you should be able to focus on your baby, not on babying the family members around you!

Good luck!
 

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Could you have her speak directly to your HB MW? How about giving her some books like "Born in the USA" by Dr. Marsden Wagner. Um, if the former HEAD of maternal & child health for the World Health Org thinks HB is great, then, um, maybe he knows just a little bit more than your mom....
I don't know from personal experience, since I've decided whenever the time comes that I just won't tell Mom & MIL in advance. But many suggest asking Mom to read the book(s) & other studies & not discussing it until she has done her reading.
Good Luck!
 

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I think you're giving your mom and sister too much power.
: YOU'VE done the research. YOU know what you want. YOU are comfortable w/ your decision. Let them have their say and then move on. "I'm sorry you feel that way. This is what we've decided to do. Pass the bean dip!"
A change in subject does a world of good, imo.

Of course you'll feel terrible if something happens. Any mother would. But, something can happen during birth no matter the setting. You still have to take responsibility for your birth. If you can do that, you'll feel brave and empowered, no matter where you go!

I was extremely open about my homebirths and encountered the usual ignorance. But almost no criticism. I think it's because I approached the subject with knowledge and confidence.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sweetpea_119 View Post
That's why I didn't tell my side of the family until right after baby was born
It saved me a lot of irritation & more...

Why not give her a book that will scare the pants off of her with regard to the hospital? I know that Born in America did that for me even after I was convinced of the evils of the hospital v. home...has she seen the BOBB?

At that point, if she watched/read what you asked and she still caused a fuss, I'd just let her know that she'll just have to either let it drop or she won't be hearing from you until after the baby arrives because this kind of thing is just too stressful for you to deal with in a time that is already stressful...you should be able to focus on your baby, not on babying the family members around you!

Good luck!
Yeah that. We're not telling our family until afterward (maybe months afterward, lol) as well, due to some drama w/ them w/ DD's birth. (I mentioned to my mom during a random phone conversation that we wouldn't be getting the eye drops... next thing I know, my dad is planning on suing my doctor if we don't get the drops and something's wrong w/ DD's eyes.)

But I also agree w/ this poster in that since you've already told them, you shouldn't have to continually try to defend yourself to them. Tell them that if they don't want to be supportive, then you don't want to speak to them b/c you don't need the stress.
 

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I agree with PP. Firmly suggest to your mother that instead of just whining to family and friends who know even less about home birth than she does, she do some reading and educate herself about what has her soooooo worried. Knowledge is power, right? Until she's talking to you from a place of being informed instead of just fearful, you don't need to hear about HER problem with YOUR decision.
 

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I agree that studies and books others mentioned are the best weapon. This website has some other good study links. Today's Canadian study is also so awesome!

http://www.cmmidwifery.com/homebirth.htm

I would also recommend the book Pushed by Jennifer Block, which focuses a bit more on the negatives of hospital birth. While I think that the POSITIVES of HB and all the studies showing it's safe (and normal in other rich countries with overall better outcomes for moms and babies) are the best thing, seeing books like Pushed also tend to destabilize the notion many people have that "[US] doctors know best". Once people see that the normal US maternity system is not necessarily designed with the best interest of moms and babies in mind (but instead a lot of other concerns, like money, liabilty and convenience have hugely influenced what's normal here), sometimes they have an internal paradigm shift whereby people making alternative decisions can actually be seen as MORE responsible!

Good luck...I had to do some work to get my mom comfortable with my HB, but after having her review a lot of these materials she has come around.
 

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The best advice we got was to attempt to educate naysayers on the facts, but don't get defensive and don't exhaust yourself trying to convince them or sell them on the idea. Some people just won't be on board. If that's the case, make the topic 'off limits' and don't allow them to overrun you with guilt or keep bringing it up.

My MIL is a retired trauma nurse and freaked out when we first told her. She eventually came around after learning the facts and became our biggest supporter - especially now that our son is here and she sees that it all turned out okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Many thanks to each of you for your thoughtful posts! Such warmth and support from total strangers is really something.

Odd timing, but my mother called last night and told me she had resigned herself to the fact that I was having a home birth, which is a big step in the right direction. It was her way of saying she'll stop bugging me about it.


I think your suggestions to ask her to read some materials is good, but I was discouraged from doing this after she told me that the BOBB (which my parents watched at my request) "just didn't do it for me." My mother and sister both had great experiences with their hospital births (3 for mom, 2 for sis), and so they are skeptical of criticisms of hospital birth. I think materials that explain the safety and benefits of home birth, rather than those that fear-factor-ize hospital birth, would probably be more helpful for them. Speaking of which, thanks so much for the links. I'll check them out and email them along.

Youngfrankenstein - your comments especially resonated. I do think the most effective thing I could do is take my mother/sister to an appointment with my midwife; unfortunately, my family lives 3,000 miles away. Wish I'd thought of that when they were out here for a visit!

Thanks again to all for your advice and words of wisdom.
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