I’ve been meaning to share more about my experience becoming a mama because it’s been a huge turning point in my identity and in my life.
Here’s one aspect of it—how and why I chose home birth.
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I’ve been a birth doula since 2016, so I have lots of experience supporting women through pregnancy and birth. For me, my own pregnancy and birth were like getting a graduate degree in the art of the doula. I deepened into my craft, an aspect of purpose, and my wisdom and knowledge.
I knew that I did not want to give birth at a hospital. I’ve attended many beautiful and lovely hospital births with supportive family and nurses.
As an enneagram 9 (we love our creature comforts) I envisioned something more like a home birth and I didn’t want anyone telling me what I could and couldn’t do. I envisioned less sterility. And I didn’t want to give myself the option of an epidural because I wanted to feel it all. (Several times in labor I hollered about how I wished I was at the hospital and could get an epidural).
When I tap into “why” I wanted to feel it all during labor, the reason that comes up is that at many momentus moments of my life, I left my body and I don’t remember what happened. In the past few years, my practice is to stay in my body.
But home birth sounded scary. I had heard of emergent situations where women had to be transferred to the hospital. I was scared.
Also, I had never attended a home birth as a doula! I had only attended births at hospitals and at birth centers. Many women who give birth at home actually don’t hire doulas, and I don’t think I know any women who have birthed at home, OR any home birth midwives.
So I was a little clueless about the world of home birth and definitely hesitant and cautious. My husband and I went to our first appointment at the birth center because our doula was able to get us in at the last minute—I was bleeding and we thought I was having a miscarriage. So she phoned us in to the birth center and we drove over there in a hurry. They were so lovely, and we had several appointments there.
Maiden to mother rite of passage: Birth as vision quest
After that appointment, I decided to approach my pregnancy and birth as a vision quest. Back in 2015, I went on the hill for a vision quest with Sweet Medicine. I experienced a deep spiritual connection I am so grateful for, and a true rite of passage into adult hood.
I wanted to mark my passage from maiden to mother in a meaningful way. So I gathered my vision quest supporters and formally asked for their prayers. I made hundreds and hundred of prayers throughout my pregnancy for myself, our baby, and our family. This process supported me in many ways that are challenging to articulate.
I believe that the passage from maiden to mother is deeply meaningful and important. For me, becoming a mama was not easy. It has been so joyful. And very challenging. So having these extra layers of spiritual support from a soul perspective did a lot for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Considering Home Birth
Halfway (or more than halfway? I don’t remember) through my pregnancy, my doula (also one of my dear friends) encouraged me to consider home birth. My doula’s best friend is the midwife at the local midwifery collective, and she sent me there to have an interview.
I shared my fears and misconceptions about home birth (for example I wasn’t aware that home birth midwives actually have all of the same tools as birth center midwives). With more information, I felt more confident. And I still had more to process before I made my decision.
I kept listening. I was listening for my child to share with me how she wanted to enter the world.
I listened and listened. I asked and listened. I took my time making my decision. And finally, I realized, I want to be the type of woman who has a home birth. And that’s the type of woman I became.
We switched providers, to the local home birth midwifery collective.
I was able to have my dear friends there witnessing me, my husband, my doula, and quite a full birthing room, actually. It was full of healing supportive energy.
Although labor was LONG (15 hours!!), my supporters were able to switch off their duties and support throughout. I was able to move and holler in any way my body felt moved to.
So, that is the story of how and why I chose a home birth. It was about me growing into the type of woman I envision myself being. I took a risk. I did what was uncomfortable for me.
And actually, it ended up being the most natural, ancestral, innate choice for me.
How our Ancestors gave birth
After I gave birth, someone close to me told me that I had such a hard time in labor because my ancestors gave birth in hospitals. My grandmothers were all anesthetized and when they woke up, they had babies. And maybe their mothers too.
But it’s not true that my ancestors gave birth in hospitals. Perhaps just a couple of generations back have given birth in hospitals. But women have been giving birth at home and in caves! Since the dawn of time. That’s hundreds of thousands of years. Our ancestors were home birthers and free birthers.
During labor, I had an altar dedicated to Mother Mary and all of my ancestors who I felt with me throughout labor. I also had candles burning with wishes from my dear friends from my Blessing Way Ceremony. According to the stories, Mother Mary free birthed (unattended) in a manger with animals all around her, and just her husband present. Same with my ancestors.
I felt the strength and power of the thousands of women in my lineage who have done this before. Throughout labor, I asked them for help strength and help.
I hope you enjoyed my story and I hope it inspires you to do the thing that will help you become the woman you envision yourself as.