I saw a documentary last night called the Face of Birth. It highlights issues of maternal care in Australia, particularly homebirth and women’s right to choose what kind of a birth they’d like.
I completely understand why some women want to give birth in hospitals.
And I completely understand why some women do not.
There are compelling and legitimate reasons on either side of the fence.
Here in Australia, the “medicine” is socialized, meaning the goverment pays for it. (To an extent. Well, we pay our taxes and then they pay for our health care.)
I think it’s genius, socialized medicine. I mean seriously… public health care makes so much sense. (But that’s another post entirely.)
For me this means that i’ve had two babies – one by c-section, one by VBAC (vaginal birth after c/s) – and I’ve not paid a dime for any pre- or postnatal care, birth, or hospital stays. (This includes numerous “special” tests with Judah, both while in the womb and after he was born.) And with both babies I’ve received very good care that I will always be thankful for.
As an American I find this amazing and almost miraculous compared to our current system.
But as the wonder of socialized medicine is becoming more and more normal to me, I’m also realizing that Australia, too, has flaws in the “system.”
And stipulatons on how and where to give birth is an area that really does desperately need updating and improving.
Australia, like many developed nations, has a good health care system. But it is not great. There needs to be reforms so that women can give birth in the most natural, empowering environments possible with skilled attendents to assist and provide the “medical” care that is needed. (This is even more highlighted in indigenous areas where women are subject to some horrible requirements that would make any informed person shudder. But again, that’s also another post.)
We need to empower women to understand birth – the importance of it for both child AND mother – and then enable them to pursue the kind of childbirth that best serves their family and future.
Regardless of whether you think homebirth is for you or not, I pose the question:
Does a woman have the right to choose how to embark on this most precious and life-altering rite of passage? And isn’t what’s best for the baby intertwined with what’s best for the mother?
Or perhaps an even bigger question: Isn’t God big enough to design a process that serves mother and child simultaneously???
Q for you: Have you ever considered homebirth? What about a woman’s right to choose what type of birth she will have?
p.s. I will certainly explore some of these subjects further, probably both here and with more time and consideration on my other blog. For now, this was all I could pound out in my five minutes.
Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.
Adriel also writes (using spell check!) on motherhood and parenting at The Mommyhood Memos.