Why I opted for a home birth
The reasons why women opt for a home birth are very diverse. They range from fear of hospitals due to negative experiences, to long journeys due to delivery room closures, to criticism of medical obstetrics.
Katharina from ichgebaere.com has written a very detailed article about this.
At this point, however, I would like to mention once again that women (have to) justify themselves first and foremost for wanting an out-of-hospital birth, i.e. a home birth or birth center birth. Women who want to give birth in a clinic usually do not feel this pressure to justify themselves.
The fact that it is the norm in Germany for women to give birth in a clinic comes into play here. Only around 2% of babies are born out of hospital.
Basically, I would like to make it clear at this point that it is perfectly fine to give birth in a clinic. It is also perfectly fine to opt for a home birth. In itself, the choice of place of birth has no value. Nobody should have to justify their choice. It is much more important that the chosen place of birth really suits you (unfortunately, there is not always a free choice). You can read more about this in my article How to find the right place of birth.
I would now like to go into more detail about why I opted for a home birth for each of my daughters.
My journey to becoming a mom began in 2013 with the pregnancy of my son. At the time, I took it for granted that he would be born in a hospital. Alternatives were never really discussed and I didn't give them any thought. I looked for an attending midwife for a clinic I wanted to go to for the birth. As only one midwife there had a contract, I didn't really have a choice.
Unfortunately, the birth didn't go as I had imagined and wished. There were certainly several reasons for this. These included the fact that I was not informed enough, that I went to the hospital too early and that various interventions were started relatively quickly.
In reflecting on this birth experience, it became clear to me that I was also unable to open up in this environment, the clinic setting. I couldn't let go, couldn't get into the birth flow and so one intervention followed another.
I realized that I only felt really safe at home in my familiar surroundings with familiar people, smells and sounds. When I was pregnant again, I therefore contacted a midwife early on who could accompany me during the home birth.
I wanted a natural and healthy view of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in a clinic. Here the focus is more on the pathology, the difficult and the sick.
I also wanted to avoid the cascade of interventions that I had experienced during my first birth. With home births, there are simply not as many options available for interventions and they are also required much less frequently overall.
At this point, I think it is important to mention once again that home births are of course only (allowed to be) carried out under certain conditions in Germany. As soon as difficulties arise during a pregnancy or in the course of the birth, a home birth in a clinic is safer and is not attended by a midwife at home.
I wanted a birth that I could experience in a self-determined way. I didn't want to be controlled by others. My gynaecologist, who was still working in the clinic at the time, told me that there was always uncertainty about my birth. I also felt these doubts. I was asked very often, even during my pregnancy, whether I wanted to have a caesarean section from the outset. I had always denied this.
In the end, I experienced exactly what I never wanted. I didn't want that again. Perhaps there was also a bit of defiance behind it and the thought that it would prove them right.
However, the most important point for me was still that I feel 100% safe at home and can really let go and open up here.
What also played a role was the fact that I already had other children and wanted to cuddle with my siblings straight after the birth. I wanted to make it easier for us to arrive as a family by not having to drive home first. I also wanted to keep the option open for myself and my children to be present at the birth.
At my third birth, for example, it was important to my daughter that she would cut the umbilical cord. Of course, this was only a plan at first and we had to see if it would really be possible. In the end it was possible and she was very proud of it.
The more I read and informed myself, the more I was encouraged in my desire to have a home birth.
Now, more than nine years after my first birth, I have had two home births. Looking back, I can say that it was definitely the right decision for me. This was also due to the good relationship of trust I had built up with my midwife. I knew that she could assess me and my baby well and would tell me if it was no longer safe.
A lot of things went differently at home than they did in the clinic. A second birth in hospital would probably have been different for me than the first. Nevertheless, it was just as perfect for me at home as it was.
From time to time I had the incentive to do it all by myself without a midwife. In the end, however, I was glad that she was there. She gave me security and supported me when I needed it. I'm glad that I didn't put myself under any more pressure, because birth is not a competition.
If you want to read more about my daughters' home births, you can find the articles The birth of my daughter and The birth of our third child on my blog.
Which place did you choose for the birth? In hindsight, would you say it was right for you? I look forward to reading about your thoughts and experiences in the comments.