In the wake of yesterday's New York Times article about home birth, the topic of home birth has taken the blogosphere by storm. Of course, many of the natural-birth activism/midwifery blogs are all over it, but because this was such a high-profile news piece I have noticed conversations sparked in less-expected corners of the internet. Places like a Glamour Magazine sex-and-relationships blog, a pop culture site, and a home decor site.
I am glad to see much-needed attention being given to the issue of birthing options, and conversation is a good thing. However, I have been appalled by some of the ferociously hostile words coming from women aimed at women who choose to have home births. Take for example an excerpt from a post that went up on Jezebel today, authored by someone not at all keen on the concept of being subjected a home-birthing neighbor's supposed "caterwauling":
"...if you choose to give birth at home in the apartment above mine, you have to accept my choice to leave a steaming bag of dog poo in your mailbox."
These vitriolic comments are not coming from people within the medical establishment, in fact their comments betray an outright ignorance of medical fact to go along with their bile. Take for instance these words from popular decor blogger Decorno, who envisions hospitals to be havens of happy hour, apparently:
"This kind of back-to-roots childbirth business is a load of crap. To my future baby: Momma will have you with some drugs in her. Deal with it. Immediately following birth, she will ask the doctor to grab her compact and her Chanel lipstick and will re-apply before ordering a cocktail. You will not be born in an inflatable pool, nor in Queens. These will be the two ways in which I reassure you that I actually love you. Welcome to the world. Love, Your Mother. Now hand me my cigarettes..."
That one is so out there you actually have to kind of smirk. And indeed, I realize that Decorno was probably shooting for laughs when she wrote that. And it's not that I don't have a sense of humor -- one of the reasons I frequent Decorno is the always cheeky wit -- what gets me is that this woman is so anti-home-birth that she didn't even read the Times article before she got her panties in a wad and posted negatively about it on her blog!
Granted, everyone has a right to blog what they choose to blog on their own blog. And everyone has a right to form their own opinions about this and any other important topic. But what disturbs me is the utter irresponsibility of people like this as women, basically hating on other women's right to give birth outside of a hospital setting. I just don't get that. And what's with the viciousness? I can't help but be sad, thinking about how threatened most people are by the idea of really talking about the female body, reproduction, and the natural processes surrounding the way we all arrive on the planet: birth.
UPDATE, 11:39 pm: After posting this and leaving what I felt to be an incredibly respectful and generous comment on the Decorno post quoted above, it seems that Decorno and her readers now find me "humorless." What do you think?
Photo of my home birth, by Liz Rubincam.