I’m on the CUB mailing list, and recently got sent a link to a survey someone has created to collect information about the childbirth experiences of birthmothers. I’ve been sent the same link a few times, and each time, I start it and then give up after a page or two. It’s not really designed for me. The author was careful to word it in a way that wouldn’t exclude non-BSE birthmothers—but since I didn’t give birth in a hospital, I couldn’t answer most of them anyway. I gave birth in a bathtub in a room that looked it like belonged in a bed and breakfast, I left two hours later to go to a hotel room with my sweetheart and the baby. I wasn’t shaved, cut, or sedated. I know that something like less than 1 percent of children in that county are born out of hospitals, but it’s weirdly alienating to try to fill out a form that doesn’t allow for the possibility of my experiences.
Only last week, someone at my support group asked about my experience of giving birth—I had brought in some pictures, and there are pictures of me with a minutes-old Cricket that were certainly not taken in any hospital—and when I explained that I did the drug-free, midwife thing, she asked “. . . and was that on purpose?” My mother was a Bradley instructor back in the day, and I watched my brother come into the world on the floor of our apartment. I remember playing with other kids at La Leche League meetings when I was little. All this is to say that I have never wanted to give birth in a hospital—I don’t think of myself as a crunchy person, but in this area, that is what I seem to be. One thing that bothers me (way out of proportion, I might add) is reading on adoption forums and blogs that “Our birthmom is being induced on—” That said, every woman should be able to make her own choices about how childbirth is going to go (so far as that’s practical). But me? When the time comes to make a plan for the birth of futurekid, we’ll find a midwife who has a roomy bathtub. 😉