Unassisted Homebirth Activism
I knew nothing of homebirth or unassisted homebirth until I was 33 years old, in 1996 and pregnant with my fifth child. By chance, I met someone familiar with homebirth at a homeschool meeting when I was sixteen weeks pregnant. Her ideas and network led me to a whole new world.
One of the most important aspects of being pregnant and considering an unassisted birth is trying to locate and talk to others who have experienced what you are considering. For many women, the internet is a lifeline. One day there will be more people choosing unassisted homebirth - one of the best kept secrets that thousands of couples discover each year around the world.
Up until I was about 33, I never noticed any articles, letters to the editor or any information about homebirth. Because of my ignorance, I prostituted my body, mind and soul to conventional childbirth for my first four births. A major part of my womanhood and femininity was not fully realized because of those unnecessary hospital births. Millions of women in the United States are in the same predicament, except most of them will never learn or agree that they are pawns in the $50 BILLION (annual) childbirth industry.
When I discovered unassisted birth in 1996, the experience made a profound impact on my life and I wondered why it was little known throughout this country. I decided to write a book because there was not much written on the topic and I would speak about unassisted homebirth whenever I could. As time went on, I became frustrated because my ideas seemed to have limited influence. For many years, I hoped that someone outside my sphere of influence – someone who was well known, with a lot of clout - would break through media in major ways with this message.
I thought, “Who will be the first major television talk show host to devote a segment on unassisted homebirth?” I know that several shows have been contacted over the years and I patiently waited for the day this topic would be exposed to the world in a big way. That day never came and has not come. It’s been 20 years. I no longer wait or care. Unassisted homebirth is something that individuals discover and experience, one by one, in quiet ways.
I was looking for some seal of approval or validation. We only need to validate within our own small, lives. Major media coverage would most likely sensationalize, question and criticize. Media coverage is not really about informing and inspiring as much as ratings and profit. So, I’ve concluded that activism is something that is best done at the “grass roots” level, in our own families and communities.
Why is unassisted homebirth so important? Because a satisfying and empowering birth experience like unassisted homebirth is a turning point in a woman’s (and couple’s) life. Life-giving mothers who have experienced first-hand the awesome power of an uninhibited, primal birth know what it’s like to deeply and fully realize our human existence and potential.
Creating a buzz about UHB requires the efforts of many, especially from those who have experienced UHB. Please do what you can in your community to promote unassisted birth – for our future generations.
I believe we have an obligation and responsibility to share the beauty (and necessity?) of unassisted homebirth. Please do what you can to help educate others about UHB – for the sake of the babies and new parents. The younger generation must know that they have at least four options: hospital birth, birthing center, midwife-attended homebirth and unassisted homebirth.
Lynn M. Griesemer