I want to explain more clearly why I have been considering unassisted birth. I have considered it to be my safest realistic option because I have not trusted birth attendants, and while I fantasized about finding someone trustworthy, I acknowledged that it may not happen. I believed it probably would not happen. I interviewed every midwife in this area and chose the one I had a good feeling about, and embarked on prenatal care hoping that she would prove herself to be trustworthy and that we could develop a relationship where I would desire to invite her into my birthing space.
I would never commit and be “dead set” on unassisted birth at all costs, the same way I would never be “dead set” on out of hospital birth. There are scenarios, such as the scary zone of prematurity combined with viability that I mentioned before, in which a hospital would be my choice. There are also scenarios, such as with a birth attendant who upholds my autonomy and acts as a trusted advisor, in which an attendant would be my choice. Up until this week, I believed that in the absence of a medical issue requiring a hospital, the safest thing for me would be to birth unassisted with just my husband and perhaps a trusted friend.
I believed (and still believe) that the meddling and intervention of professionals following guidelines and protocols without my best interests at heart could potentially create danger for me and my baby. Certainly my previous birth, in which my baby and I were put at grave risk and I was seriously harmed, colors my perception of how likely this would be. Still, observation and assessment are not benign and even a trained midwife, in the absence of relationship, would not necessarily have my interests at heart.
At the same time, I believe in supported birth and I believe in the training and skills of a midwife. If I believed that a midwife would be there primarily to help me live my values, rather than protect a license and run a business, I would absolutely want her there. But my standards were very high. I was looking for the kind of relationship that could be compared to a climbing partner you’d trust with your life; I’ve only had one of those. A coach who deeply inspired her star athlete to push herself – I’ve also only met one of those. I didn’t think I could find a relationship of this quality and depth in a mere nine months.
So, a miraculous thing happened.
I can’t say exactly what moment or statement made me realize it, but after the latest prenatal visit I understood to the depths of my being that my midwife and I had created a relationship. We talked about various aspects of birth and what she does – hands on or hands off, what she encourages women to do or not do. It became abundantly clear that she understands what I need and that she is constantly seeking to understand what I need in each moment. It also became clear that she loves me. I don’t think I’ve received this level of care and attention from anyone other than my closest family and friends.
So I’ve decided to consider inviting her into my birthing space when the time comes. I also am going to plan a Mother Blessing ceremony because I finally feel that I am ready to welcome the blessings of others.