One of the goals of my practice with Natural Embrace Doula Care is to promote a safe and welcoming birth community. One way that I try to achieve these goals is by recognizing how I and others discuss various birth topics. Language and intention are so easily mixed up in the midst of a passionate conversation. But are the conversations always just that: passionate? Is there even a difference between being passionate about a topic and just arguing the conversation to death so it will end? I am a doula; naturally it is part of my job to advocate for the rights of mothers and their babies during birth. However, there is a fine line between advocating for what one believes in and blaming others for a non-perfect system.
When I read or listen to other people’s conversations on controversial topics (birth related or not) one of two things usually happens. One or all people in the conversation will use logic to argue their perspective, or one or all people start to blame the opposing belief for anything bad. For example: when asked “why did you choose to have a hospital/home birth?” A few answers that may be given can include:
“Because I feel safer with a doctor around.”
“I had a bad experience with my past hospital birth.”
“I believe the only way for me to avoid medical intervention is to birth in my home.”
“A hospital has medication available to me when I request it.” etc.
All of these are very valid reasons for choosing a birth place. And in my opinion, these are the responses that stimulate discussion to better understand birth. The responses that often reveal blaming the opposite belief would include anything along the lines of
“People think homebirth is safe…without a doctor? Yea right, I’m not stupid.”
“Women are crazy for thinking they are safe in a hospital.”
“I’m not a hippy, so I won’t birth at home.” etc.
The latter answers place birth settings on a hierarchy, saying that one birth place is literally better than the other rather than preference. As well, it stereotypes pregnant women, midwives, doctors, and other birth professionals as being either completely sane or insane (depending on what side of the discussion you are for).
When individuals realize how they and others discuss controversial topics it opens up the opportunity for using educated reasoning to make our decisions in life. I believe in individuals having their own opinions, but I am not for calling other people crazy when their beliefs do not mesh with my own. Both homebirth and hospital births have their risks and positives (just like all other controversial topics). It is up to the women and their partners where they want to birth depending on what risks they are willing to take and what positives they prefer. Some reasonable arguments are fine, but not victimization.