Homebirth Cesarean (HBC) began as a conversation between us: a homebirth midwife, and a mom who went from the dream of having a homebirth to the reality of a cesarean.
Eight months after the birth experience we shared, we reconnected to process the birth and postpartum care. Although our experiences of the same birth were different, we felt immense relief in realizing that we still maintained a powerful connection as midwife and mother that hadn’t been broken through the HBC.
While the percentage of women who go from having a homebirth to a cesarean is small, their stories are nonetheless powerful, meaningful and important. Until now, no one has gathered and shared these stories, leaving many HBC moms to feel as their birth experiences don’t matter, and creating a vacuum their stories would otherwise fill.
Just as HBC mothers often find themselves estranged from the homebirth community, many midwives and birth workers are at a loss as to how best support these women and their families.
The name Homebirth Cesarean originated as a way for women to distinguish their birth from the existing categories that didn’t apply. These women spent nine-months preparing for a homebirth and the spirit and homebirth philosophies still apply to their birth.
HBC mothers quickly understood the name distinction, and the ways that language can both empower and set limits around a her ability to tell her story. As this project has unfolded, it has become clear that part of the healing process for these mothers involves our abilities to reframe the story of our births, beginning with the name we give to them.
However shocking it may be, the name Homebirth cesarean demands attention, invites inquiry, and sets the stage for the telling of our stories. Most importantly, it captures the many qualities and pieces involved in these experiences, and validates the entire process of our birthing; from home labor, to transport, to surgery, to finally holding our newborns.
Homebirths that end in hospital cesareans are the homebirth community’s dark secret. Our work is focused on providing a platform to discuss these births so that mothers and midwives can regain the power and confidence that can be lost in the process.
For mothers, we seek to hold space for them so they can tell their sacred birth stories. For midwives, we seek to provide new opportunities for them to talk to, for, and on behalf of these mothers.
If you are a HBC mom or birth worker, and you use facebook, consider joining the “Homebirth Cesarean” facebook group to share stories and receive support during your own journey.
We are also on Twitter as HBCesarean. #hbcesarean
And we have a You Tube channel.
A 3 minute slideshow about our work speaks volumes. All photos and quotes come from our book.
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