Home birth – when your partner wants a hospital delivery
For women who aren’t suffering from health complications, home births are safe and, for the most part, relatively straightforward. But there is still plenty of doubt in the minds of some parents-to-be as to whether home birth is the right choice for them.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide and if you are considered healthy and ‘low-risk’ the option of having a home birth should be available to you, even if this is your first pregnancy.
Here one woman explains the dilemma she is faced with: she is enthusiastic about the idea of a home birth, but her husband has severe reservations.
When the home birth question causes a problem at home
My first experience of childbirth was not a positive one. Please don’t get me wrong, I felt all the joy and ecstasy of holding my son for the first time, it’s just that the 16 hours leading up to this life-changing experience was painful and arduous.
I’m a very sensitive person. Certain environments can really affect my mood. For example, I become anxious and cognitively disabled in some offices, can’t think at all when in a shopping mall and the less said about soft play centres the better; but hospitals are perhaps the most anxiety-inducing of all environment types for me.
This is why I am desperate for a home birth this time around.
I am by nature a real homebody and I just feel that my disposition coupled with my previous negative experience of a hospital birth mean it would be really beneficial for me to give birth at home.
I’ve read up on a lot of the science and medical implications, and feel reassured that as I am not a first-time mother it may well be the best option for me; as far as I understand it, even the NHS is beginning to get behind the idea of home births and my midwife has offered her enthusiastic but condition support.
The one stumbling-block? My husband.
For various reasons he is completely against the idea of me giving birth at home. For a start he has OCD tendencies and even at the best of times is terrified of me spilling a cup of tea on the carpet, so even contemplating the idea of a birth pool in the front room is enough to send him into a panic.
More than that, he is worried that somehow the whole thing will become entirely his responsibility: how will he fill the pool, will he have to hold our first child in his arms while trying to rub my lower back through contractions?
I can understand all this and know that having an anxious partner at the birth is only likely to make me anxious as well which will, in turn, inhibit the production of all the oxytocin that I need for a fully dilated cervix and a relaxed birth.
Part of me is tempted to just ride roughshod over his wishes and to trust that he will be alright on the day, but I know that this would be insensitive of me and worry that in doing so I would be setting a terrible precedent not only for our relationship but also for our parenting partnership and, critically, for the life of our as yet unborn child. So we will need to talk it through completely.
The most difficult thing of all is that my husband is a statistician. You’d think that this is a good thing; I’ve shown him the statistics to reassure him that home birth is a safe option for non-first-time mothers, but his reaction is completely unconnected to his professional mentality.
Fortunately, I’ve booked an appointment for us to talk it through with our midwife. I really hope he can be persuaded, but I know in my heart that what happens for the birth of our second child needs to be right for both of us – however difficult that decision might be.