Homebirths are growing in popularity, but are far from the norm in Australia. Though the number of women choose to have their babies at home is increasing, homebirths still account for just a tiny percentage of the babies born each year.
Birth is an important event, and you should feel supported in your birth choices. Whether you have your heart set on giving birth at home, or are simply looking into it as a possibility, it can be difficult to hear that your birth partner isn’t supportive of the idea of a homebirth.
What To Do If Your Partner Says No To Homebirth
If your Mr Right thinks that your birth plan is all wrong, do you need to throw in the towel and embrace the idea of giving birth in hospital? Absolutely not. Here are some things you can do to try and get him on side:
#1: Count To 10
Seriously, take deep breaths and count to 10. It might come as a shock to hear that your partner would prefer a different birth experience to you, but there’s no point in getting upset or angry about it. Remember, this isn’t the final decision, it is merely a starting point for negotiations. Stay calm, take some time out to calm down if you feel you need to, and then continue the conversation.
#2: Find Out Why
You probably saw red, or bust into tears, before he’d even had chance to finish saying no. Ask some questions to find out exactly what it is that puts the idea of having the baby at home. Don’t argue back with him, or reply to each of his points, simply give him the space to talk and allow yourself to listen. Your time to talk will come soon, let him finish his thought process first.
#3: Tell Him Your Reasons
Now that he’s had a chance to air his feelings, it’s your turn to do the same. Explain to him exactly what it is that appeals to you about the idea of giving birth at home. Is it the idea of being away from the threat of intervention, or the thought of snuggling up in your own bed straight after? Or is that the benefits of feeling safe and comfortable in a familiar environment, or the fact that your partner will be able to share that first night with you and your baby? Whatever your reasons are – and you probably have many – now is the time to share them. Be as informative as you can, don’t hold back, set the scene and share your vision of the birth with him.
#4: Ask Him To Give It Some Real Thought
Explain that a homebirth is important to you, and it’s something you feel excited about. Then ask him to really consider it as an option. Don’t try to force him to agree to it, because he’s likely to get defensive and close up. Instead, ask him if you can both research the idea further, by speaking to the right people, and looking at the statistics, before you reach a decision.
#5: Take Him To Your Next Appointment
Invite him along to your next antenatal appointment, and ask your midwife or healthcare professional to explain a little bit more about the possibility of a homebirth. Explain that you and your partner are in opposite camps, and that you’d like to find out more information, and ask them to touch on the areas each of you feel strongly about.
#6: Look For A Homebirth Group
All across the world, there are support and information groups for couples wanting to know more about homebirths. These groups are organised by healthcare professionals, doulas or women passionate about homebirth. Each group will differ, but generally, information will be given about homebirths in your local area, and then new parents will share their homebirth stories with the group. After this, expectant parents will be given the opportunity to ask as many questions as they like. These groups are fantastic because not only do they provide a space for people to share stories of homebirth, but they also allow you to ask a question and receive answers from healthcare professionals, doulas and women who have recently given birth at home.
#7: Present The Stats
Your partner may be moved by the personal accounts of women labouring in the living room whilst their partners brewed the kettle in the next room, and may have loved the idea of you sharing a glass of champagne in bed as you lie next to your beautiful newborn baby. But, and it’s a big but, he may still need some convincing. If he’s a fan of statistics, facts and figures, then you need to present him with all of that information. 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: Explore The What Ifs
It’s not pleasant to think of the what ifs, especially if you’re already feeling apprehensive about the birth, but it might help to win your case. Speak to your healthcare provider to find out what would happen if the birth didn’t go according to plan – are they trained to recognise, diagnose and treat emergency situations? How quickly could you be transferred to hospital? Are they well versed in what to do at a homebirth if more help is needed? Finding out these answers may help to convince your partner that a homebirth is not only a possibility, but that you will be in very safe hands.