it’s been interesting to watch these two worlds collide. and collide they do. i had my first baby at home in 2000, which makes me a homebirthing dinosaur in many circles. there are a few candid shots from an actual camera with actual film. i did not have a birth photographer, or a doula, or an entourage of birth-type people. just my husband and my midwives. one of the midwives was a friend of mine but i was too far into my own head and laboring body to even think about caring what she thought (that came later). my second son was born at home 5 years later with a different midwife and a different husband (i’ll save that story for another post) in a different city. i invited my sister to this birth so she could see what natural birth was like as she’d had both her babies induced and with an epidural. it was nice to have her there and she set up an old-school video camera and took some pictures. but at some point, when i had an anterior lip that wouldn’t budge and things were getting serious and painful, there was too much conversation. is it a good idea to invite someone to your birth who isn’t integral to the process so that they can “experience” natural birth? nah, i don’t think so. not anymore. not even if it’s your sister. this is you bringing the life you and your husband created into your home. it is not a spectator sport. it is not a teaching hospital. it is not a documentary in the making (well sometimes it is click here ). but that’s so 2000! with facebook and twitter and texting and blogging and skyping and instagram and all the others i’m too old to know about you can practically invite the entire free world into your house for the birth of your baby. millions of people can watch you labor virtually and those millions of people then get to comment and blog and tweet and text about your birth, about your vagina, about your post partum hemorrhage, about your midwives, about you and your husband and the life you created. and that’s all just fine. you get to decide what you put on your social media. i love your youtube birth videos as much as the next person. but does your doula have the right to blog about your birth in real time? does your photographer? is it ok with you if they ask questions on facebook in homebirth forums about what you’re experiencing during your labor and if it’s normal, as you’re laboring? is it ok for them to invite the world into your home without your permission, giving a play by play of your vaginal discharge and cervical changes? absolutely not! NO! i have links to just such things happening at homebirths but they also link to the trolls that patrol the internet, those trolls that blog about how terrible and dangerous their idea of homebirth is and how unprofessional doulas and midwives are who “crowd source” homebirth.
i love the idea of documenting everything baby. i love the idea. it’s so lovely to show your children pictures of your pregnancy, labor, and birth (and the reveal party, newborn photo shoot, pictures of the back of your family running through a field)….lovely idea. but it’s also really lovely to remember those moments, to talk about them with your husband, to look over your notes/records from your midwife of your labor, to laugh at what you’ve forgotten and how you have different memories of the same event. my 3rd birth was 2 hours start to finish (everyone should have one) and it is THE BEST birth experience i’ve had. i loved it. my husband feels like he missed out because it happened so quickly. he mourns the time he missed rubbing my back or walking to costa coffee. we laugh at how different our memories of oliver’s birth are. so ladies, put down your iphones and ipads and share the birth of the life you created with your husband in your home. and use caution when inviting people to your birth. ask about their confidentiality agreement, do they have one? does it matter?