What do you do when you want a home birth but your husband or partner doesn't agree? When you know homebirth is right for you and your baby, it's hard to hear your partner tell you they don't want you to birth at home (or even that they think you're foolish for it).
Here are solid ways to discuss your choice with your loved one.
Home birth statistics are a clear, up-front way to show your husband or partner that homebirth is safe. The statistics are very much in your favor, even proving homebirth is safer than hospital birth in some studies.
Watch this video with your husband (or send him a link to our home birth safety page, which also has this video and download on it):
Click here to download Judy's fully referenced report on why home birth is safer (opens in a new tab)
Take your partner to an appointment(s) with your midwife. Your midwife is a professional and understands your partner's anxiety. She can help to reassure him. She can give him the statistics from her practice and may know of statistics and studies you're not aware of. A meeting with the midwife may be enough to show your husband how safe a home birth can be for you and your baby.
You can ask, and your husband can ask, what complications may arise and how the midwife deals with each one. She can explain complications and situations that make a transfer prudent or even life-saving.
You can also ask your midwife for references. Call and talk to her previous clients, and ask if your partner can speak with their partner. It may help your husband to talk to other fathers about their home birth experiences.
Picking a midwife who has a relationship with a backup obstetrician may ease your partner's mind. He'll know that if a transfer becomes necessary, the midwife can quickly get you into the hospital. Alternately, you can go ahead and select your backup OB and let your partner know.
Tell your partner the benefits homebirth brings to him, to you, and to your child. Stress that he won't be separated from his child, and that nobody is going to force any procedures on you or your baby while he stands and watches helplessly. At a home birth he will be allowed to be your protector.
Your husband can support you in ways that might be impossible in a hospital. He can help you walk around outside during labor, or support you as you move around the house. He can get into a birthing tub with you. He can help you eat and drink if you want something. Your partner can hold you as you birth the baby. In fact, he can catch the baby.
If your husband feels uncomfortable with you birthing at home because he thinks he'll be your complete and only support, talk to him about this. Reassure him that your midwife is there to help. If your midwife has assistants or apprentices, or practices with another midwife, they can give you support too. You may also want to consider a doula for labor support. Some partners just want to be free to “guard the cave.”
Tell your partner all the wonderful benefits a home birth has for the baby's first few hours. Baby isn't separated from you and the three of you can truly bond as a new family. Your partner doesn't have to drive anywhere and can wear whatever is comfortable. He can eat and drink food from his own kitchen. Your partner has control over who comes into the house and can prevent unwanted disruptions.
Your friends and family may be skeptical as well. Sometimes presenting statistics works. Sometimes it doesn't. You can be assured that you're making an educated choice for your baby's birth.
Sometimes you just need to tell friends/family that it's not open for discussion. Some women have found that keeping their birth plans a secret is the easiest route to take. This may be an option for you. Be firm in your choice. There is no need to be defensive, but do let other people know that it is your decision and you have done your research.
Photo by Emiliano Horcada