In the wake of Janet Fraser’s tragic homebirth a broohaha is erupting. How safe is your homebirth? What is a home birth and who should have one? Yes, the woman who coined the term “Birthrape” to describe an emergency episiotomy has lost her child during a home birth.
Let me be very clear here, that a baby died is a horrendous tragedy. Not learning from this would be even worse.
My friend, and fellow Mom Blogger, Amber Watson Tardiff wrote a compelling piece that asks the question everyone sidesteps, is homebirthing a crime? Amber notes:
You may have even seen quotes from Janet calling c-sections and episiotomies “birthrape” and insisting that “survivors are angry and we are starting to talk about it.”
What you may not know is Janet’s baby suffered cardiac arrest during her cherished unassisted water birth and died on March 27th at her home in Australia.
Apparently the possibility of “birthrape” was much more important to Janet than the safety of her child.
Well, she (Amber) has a point, but what Janet did wasn’t just a home birth, it was an unassisted home birth. Some call it free birthing (here’s what the Daily Mail says), and there isn’t even assistance from a midwife. Janet had also had a prior c-section, so a qualified medical professional sounds like a no brainer. Ms. Fraser also labored at home for some time, perhaps days, while refusing to call for help. The Australia Herald Sun says:
Janet Fraser is in labour. Her plan is to drop the baby on the lounge room floor, or wherever feels good at the time.
Has she called the hospital to let them know what’s happening? “When you go on a skiing trip, do you call the hospital to say, ‘I’m coming down the mountain, can you set aside a spot for me in the emergency room?’ I don’t think so,” says Fraser, whose breathing sounds strained.
Although a home birth may have had the same results, one can only imagine that a midwife just might have saved the baby.
I know a number of women who have given birth at home and, for them it was a great experience. Our own Jennifer Lance has a story (that I’m too squeamish to read) about her birth experiences. Derek Markham has a list of 35 reasons they chose home birth (he’s so actualized), and Carlota has talked extensively about her daughter’s birth.
Personally, I took the drugs. These aren’t the drugs of my mother’s generation. I’ve worked in the Emergency Room and seen natural child birth. It’s not for me. Again, I’m a self-identified candy ass greenie.
I support women who chose a home birth.
But a free birth?
I cannot see the wisdom in it.
Neither can Ms. Fraser’s baby.
What do you think? Is Ms. Frazier a criminal or a hero?
[This post was written by Jessica Gottlieb.]