Since this week marks our Nation's birthday and celebration of the many freedoms we enjoy, I thought it was the perfect time to approach the topic of freedom to choose when and with whom we give birth. Is it a basic human right? Is it about the safety of the baby? No matter where your opinion falls on this highly debated topic, one thing is certain, that no matter what choices we make they should undoubtedly be genuinely informed of all risks and benefits.
I find this subject tends to be addressed like a one way street. The moment the word "regulation" comes up in discussion surrounding midwifery, home birth advocates start screaming, "don't take away my choice to birth where and how I please." The tone of those same voices shifts though with the slightest mention of elective cesarean. Judgment fills the room, sucking all the oxygen out. The discussion then becomes less about choices and more about quoting the cesarean rate as being too high.
But is there a time when an elective cesarean has its place? Is it not the right of the woman and her care provider to make those choices? Take the woman who was sexually abused for example, or the mom whose natural birth left her so injured that it took years to heal. Do these women not have a say in how they give birth during subsequent pregnancies? Where do we draw the line and how shall we write the rules?
What about the former loss mom who already endured NCB and intervention-free birth in all its tragedy? That was my story. An elective cesarean saved my emotional sanity. It also re-established my trust in care providers taking good care of me. After the worst imaginable tragedy resulting from natural, out-of-hospital childbirth and incompetent care, an elective cesarean gave me peace of mind and a way forward. It was my choice to make with my doctor and for that I am immensely grateful.
If a woman truly has the freedom to choose where and how she gives birth, then every home birth advocate should also support a woman's right to elect a cesarean. They should support and appreciate the life saving measures a cesarean can offer period, whether elected or emergency.