I was talking to a woman today about freebirth who just didn't get it.
She couldn't understand why somebody would not want a home birth with a midwife so it would be safe.
I tried to explain no birth is completely safe, how important intuition is and that freebirth has many spiritual and philosophical connotations...
I got called an extremist. Even though risk is relative and giving birth is much like the decision to drive your car down a motorway. Anybody who has been prepared for a caesarean birth will be acutely aware of the associated risks but on balance they are considered worth the probable positive outcome.
I don't think birthing by yourself is extreme. It's just an absence of intervention in the biological process.
We can't say what type of birth is categorically safe. We have studies that show us first time mums are physically "safer" in midwife-led units, second time mums are physically "safer" at home or in birth centres. We know that one to one care from a midwife does phenomenal things for the "safety"... but that tells us nothing of an individual woman's birth attendants and how safe they make a birth.
Or what makes women feel safe. Some women want to be at home with nobody and some women want to be in hospital with every doctor, machine and test available.
Some women want one specific midwife.
We don't need to understand other people's choices to support them. Every person at that birth is an intervention because they are causing the birth to change from its default path in some way.
Everybody brings their own energy to the woman who is like a sponge in labour, soaking up their presence.
As a doula, I am an intervention. One with largely positive associations but I will not pretend that my presence does not change the way a birth goes. That is why it's so important to get the right fit with a client and why I work so hard at showing you who I am so you choose me for good reasons.
So please really consider who you have there. Will a pushy mother in law or a nervous sister positively affect your birth or not? Wanting to feel safe is the bare minimum we should expect as birthing women.
What does that look and feel like to you?