Arman's stuff

(Wed May 27 13:45:28 2009)

Fear, uncertainty and doubt

A year and a half ago (or so), I got to be a doctor-for-a-day when I delivered my son. It wasn't all that hard, really; hold out my hands and catch, as it were. Thinking back, the hardest part was dealing with the midwife, who showed up 1/2 an hour late (she had previously refused such things as "directions" and "maps"). This time, we're not even going to bother with a midwife. When I mention this to people, I usually get one of three responses: "It sounds like you're prepared!" "Wow, you're brave, I could never do that," and my favorite, "Is that even legal?"
The last two always give me pause. I didn't think it was especially brave or heroic to catch my son as he was born. Unique, interesting, and exciting, yes, but not scary. What is there to be afraid of? The what-ifs? We get comments ranging from those "worried about our safety," to those "terrified something will go wrong." Why?

The troubles of 100 years ago are gone - there is actually a greater risk for complications from infection, stress, and bad decisions in a hospital than in a home birth. And regardless of if a mother gives birth at home or at the hospital, both she and the baby have roughly one chance in 7,700 of dying. Which is, point of fact, just a little less than that of dying in a car accident in a given year of driving. No one I know of would even consider never sitting in a car again, even with that possibility of death. "But I'm a safe driver," you might say. So? My wife is healthy and has previously given birth without complications; the baby is healthy, well-formed, and won't be pre-term. The chances that you die in a car accident this year are still greater than the chance my wife or baby will die before, during, or after the birth. Given health, there is actually a greater chance that my wife will die in a natural disaster this year than die during childbirth. Unless you are one of those people who cower in a storm cellar and cringe when you hear the wind, there is nothing to fear.

Which brings me back to my point. What is it that grown men are so afraid of? Man up, people! Get a hold of yourselves! You're supposed to be the man of the family, the provider and protector; how can your protect if you get squeamish thinking about not having someone to hold YOUR hand when your wife gives birth? If you can't stand to see your wife give birth, how in the world do you think you are man enough to make hard decisions for your family? If you fall apart when your wife needs you now, how do you expect to be there when she needs you later?

I have logically, and scientifically weighed the risks and benefits of a home birth, and I have carefully researched and rehearsed everything that could go wrong. I currently have more practical experience than an obstetrician the year before he graduates, and I have more book knowledge about the subject than many practising doctors. I'm not equipped to handle any emergency; I know, however, exactly what to do should any emergency occur, up to and including calling the hospital.

In short - don't talk to me about how you are scared, worried, or even concerned. Instead of spreading fear, do a little research yourself. Or hey - you could offer to help. If you are truly terrified of what might happen, go ahead and offer to pay for a midwife to be there with us, or shell out the cash for a private ambulance to sit in our driveway. Fears and worries, though? That's your problem. Rent a therapist.

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This blag is tagged: Baby, Fud, Homebirth, All