You want a homebirth but your partner has said an emphatic no.
Most partners are not sold on the idea of having a baby at home. Even the most supportive and considerate partner might baulk at your suggestion to avoid hospital where the vast majority of babies are born.
Birth is an incredibly important event in your life and you should feel supported in your birth choices. It is after all your body and what happens during labour will affect you physically and emotionally.
What To Do If Your Partner Says No To Homebirth
If your Mr Right thinks your birth choices are all wrong, do you need to throw in the towel and embrace the idea of giving birth in hospital?
Absolutely not. Here are some ways to help you make a decision together which embraces your right to make choices about your body:
#1: Count To 10
Seriously, take deep breaths and count to 10.
You are probably feeling shocked, hurt, upset and angry to hear your partner voice his opinion about your birth choices.
Letting those feelings take control and fuel an argument doesn't help anyone. This isn't the final decision – it's the starting point to talk through the positive and negatives for both of you.
It can help to stop the conversation if it's getting heated and both of you take some time out to calm down. This gives you the opportunity to move to the next step.
#2: Find Out Why
Most partners say no out of fear and lack of knowledge rather than having any real awareness of what they are saying no to.
Ask your partner why he has said no, and ask him to be specific about his reasons.
Listen carefully and give him the space to talk about what it is that puts him off having the baby at home.
Avoid arguing his points or replying to questions. You will soon be able to tell if it is his feelings or actual facts driving his choice.
#3: Tell Him Your Reasons
Now he's had a chance to air his feelings, it's your turn to tell him why you want to have the baby at home.
Give him your reasons for your choice, whether that's because you want to avoid interventions, or want to be in a safe and familiar environment to ensure your birth choices are respected. Perhaps you want to choose your birth professionals who will support you and your partner to have a positive experience together.
Whatever your reasons are – and you probably have many – now is the time to share them.
#4: Ask Him To Give It Some Real Thought
Explain to your partner he needs to take steps to become more comfortable with your birth choice.
This action is his responsibility as your partner and your birth support person.
Until he is able to make a truly informed decision based on research rather than just his feelings, and for something which means so much to you, it's unfair to dismiss the idea.
Ask him to stay open minded as he explores the research and evidence and speaking to the right people.
#5: Ask Him To Speak To A Midwife
This is probably the biggest turning point for most partners. Lack of knowledge and the fact that homebirth isn't the norm leads people to assume it isn't safe.
Midwives who work in homebirth settings can best answer your partner's questions about safety and what happens in different situations.
It can also ease his mind to actually meet the person (or people) who will be there throughout your pregnancy and professionally supporting you both during labour.
#6: Look For A Homebirth Group
Online and peer support can be a critical part in helping your partner to know more about homebirths.
Many private practice midwifery groups run meetups or information groups, to discuss different aspects of home birth. New parents are often invited to share their home birth stories with the group and expectant parents can ask as many questions as they like.
Even though homebirth accounts for a small percentage of the births taking place in Australia, it can help your partner know it's not a dangerous and radical birth choice.
#7: Present The Stats
Most concerns around homebirth focus on how safe it is. You can present your partner with all the statistics and facts supporting home birth as a safe option, but what about showing him a different option?
Point out the rates of interventions and c-sections in hospitals and the increased risks to mothers and babies as a result of these interventions.
It may be a big wake up call for your partner to realise the place he assumes is the safest place to have a baby can actually increase the risk of harm to you or your baby.
Find out how many women opt to have homebirths in your local area, and how many of these women get transferred to hospital. Find out the rates of intervention, and the risk to mother and baby in different scenarios. The stats are in your favour, so hopefully this should go some way to convincing him.
#8: Remind Him You Are Invested In The Best Outcome Too
Women prepare for giving birth through the nine months of pregnancy and have an emotional/physical connection to their baby which is hard for their partner to completely understand.
You are making a decision about the most important thing that is ever going to happen to you. Ask your partner if he trusts you to have your baby's best interests at heart? You wouldn't put your baby or yourself at risk unnecessarily.
Make sure your partner understands his support is important to you but ultimately his feelings and opinions don't override your own. It can feel daunting when shifting someone else's perspective on such an important issue but stay positive and keep the lines of communication open.