An Interview With The Author



Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love Questions and Answers

  1. What is Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love about? This book is about giving birth privately. Topics include: why parents choose alternative childbirth; benefits of intimate birth; how to prepare; tips for success; men and birth; personal stories; medical and public opposition; self-actualization and more.
  2. Why should I buy this book? It will change the way you think about birth - and life.
  3. What makes this book unique? This book is comprehensive. It contains fresh, new ideas. Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love is one of the few books that addresses the importance of birth in men's lives. We see so much emphasis on pregnancy and birth for women, but almost nothing for men. I discuss how childbirth is a feminist issue. I present a model that predicts the likelihood of having a satisfying birth (called "The Birth Pyramid").
  4. Statement of Purpose: (a) What's the reason for writing this? Giving birth is an act of love and everyone should know about this ideal way of having a child. Unassisted homebirth is possible for any couple who prefers to birth with love rather than fear. There's not much information on unassisted homebirth (less than 6 authors and a dozen books). After 4 hospital deliveries, my husband and I gave birth to our daughter in the privacy of our own home. I want to help others see the value in unassisted homebirth so they can avoid the mistakes that I made and millions of couples make while giving birth. People need to know this information. (b) What is the main idea you want to convey? Why we should all aspire towards an unassisted homebirth. (c) What response do you want to elicit from the readers? Action. (1) the idea that they can and will have an unassisted homebirth. (2) that those who may not choose to have an unassisted homebirth improve their confidence, knowledge and comfort for a more satisfying birth.
  5. Why would someone choose to have an unassisted homebirth? They might have been disappointed with a past birth experience and are looking for something better. Couples who cherish intimacy and the natural unfolding of events choose to have their babies this way. No one pressures you to take drugs; there are no rules and regulations. The baby is born when it's ready, not at the convenience of a doctor or hospital staff. Couples realize that birth is more than just a medical event - it is social, sexual and spiritual. Those elements of birth are hard to capture in a hospital or with a midwife attending a birth at home.
  6. Wouldn't someone at least want a midwife present? Many women do. Those who opt for unassisted homebirths view midwifery as another level of medical interference. Midwives are influenced by regulations and personal opinions. They bring their fears, dogmas and past experiences to every birth. Couples who are confident and prepared find that they do not need a midwife to attend their birth.
  7. What about the fathers? What goes through their minds at a birth with no doctor or midwife? Many fathers cannot put into words the worthiness they feel. They are needed and involved in the birth of their own child. In the hospital they are just extra. They are given the token job of picture taker, breathing coach, and for the most part, they sit passively by their wives. A father who delivers his own child will develop a strong attachment to his newborn baby. Many fathers describe an anxiety and tension when they think about the responsibility they have committed to. But once labor progresses, they relax and are very calm and preoccupied with the task at hand.
  8. How safe is unassisted homebirth? Many of the questions you hear about unassisted homebirth assume that we need a trained expert or paid professional. People automatically assume that the hospital is the safest place to give birth. That is not necessarily true. Babies die regardless of where they are born and who is in attendance. I have only heard of 1 unassisted homebirth resulting in death in recent times (1991). A much larger percentage of babies die in hospitals than at home.
  9. What do couples do when something goes wrong? They call 911 or go to the hospital. They take corrective measures. Some have emergency supplies on hand (such as an oxygen tank in case the baby is not breathing). Many fathers have simply uncoiled an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby's neck. Couples who are knowledgeable, calm and have a backup plan will emerge from a potentially stressful situation unscathed. We are so focused on what can go wrong that we disregard all the right and beautiful things that happen at unassisted homebirths.
  10. Weren't you afraid to have an unassisted homebirth? Yes, at first. Throughout the pregnancy, I grappled with fear and had to gain confidence. My fears were replaced with focusing on tasks that needed to be performed. As I researched and planned, I became more timid about giving birth in the hospital. There is a possibility of more going wrong in a hospital than at home. Technology is not always employed properly; there is an impersonal and economic factor to every hospital birth. During my daughter's birth, I was almost certain that everything would go well.
  11. What about the mess afterward? How did you know what to do with the placenta? Most people planning for a birth at home get their supplies ready in advance. Most people have time to line their floors with plastic. They gather supplies (such as towels, baby clothes, scissors). The placenta is simply expelled into a bowl or container and is often buried in the backyard under a tree - makes a great fertilizer!
  12. Doesn't the mother and baby need an exam right after birth? Couples make various arrangements. Some perform their own exams. Some go to a doctor's office or clinic. Others have a midwife or friend come over to perform an exam. Many people think that only an expert can give a seal of approval.
  13. In your book, you say that childbirth is a feminist issue. Please explain. Feminists are concerned that women are oppressed if they don't have choices - namely, career and reproductive choices. They are upset when women are exploited or not afforded the same opportunities as men. Well, the feminists should get upset about the exploitations of childbirth. Some exploitations include: the high C-section rate; women being persuaded to take drugs during birth; women being subtly coerced into conforming to hospital policies that benefit the doctors and staff more than the laboring mother. Childbirth is big business in this country.
  14. What do you tell people who just can't have an unassisted homebirth? I'm assuming that when you say "can't," you are referring to a true need for a C-section - such as a transverse lie or placental abruption - to 5% of the pregnant population. To them I would say, be thankful that medical science can help you.
  15. Well, you're brave. That's something I could never do. And at one time I harbored those same thoughts. I diminished my fears by slowly building up confidence. If we never risk anything by trying to rise above our comfort zone, we don't gain anything. We're not living life to its fullest capacity.