Homebirth in Maine. Who are the people who are choosing homebirths? The midwives that attend homebirths? What are the practices, the philosophies and the politics of homebirth in Maine?
What does homebirth in Maine look like?
Historically, birth was seen and experienced by women and their families regularly. Up until the first part of the 20th century, most births took place at home and were attended by midwives. Birth was a regular “everyday” event; people had a picture of it.
Today, most people in the United States have no idea what normal, natural, vaginal birth looks like, let alone homebirth. Why is this? Highly medicalized birth, the continued distortion of birth by the mainstream media, political posturing by the medical maternity community and lack of access to information about choices in childbirth.
Most significant of the reasons why most people in the US have never seen a normal, natural, vaginal birth is most likely due to a national rate of Cesarean Section of around 33%, which has also been linked to the high rate of Maternal Mortality in the US. High rates of other medical interventions during childbirth in the hospital-setting, such as labor induction are also part of the picture.
The mainstream media persists in distorting birth as a highly medicalized, often crisis-laden event. Despite a growing body of research evidencing it’s safety, as well as a vibrant consumer advocacy movement, homebirth suffers continued stigmatization and marginalization by the mainstream media.
Homebirth as a viable choice for women is also subject to the political maneuvering of certain groups within the medical maternity community. This includes actual threats to women’s choices in childbirth (Resolution 205), poor research (see the “Wax Paper”), as well as lack of informed consent regarding medical procedures during childbirth and lack of informed choice about alternatives.
At Home in Maine is committed to holding that picture of normal, natural, vaginal birth in the home setting.
This site provides an accessible platform where women, their partners and students can view a series of authentic artistic portraits of homebirth in Maine–and to see normal, natural, vaginal childbirth.
This site is also committed to increasing access to information about homebirth through providing resources, including a complete listing of Maine’s homebirth midwives.
At Home in Maine is also a community-building space where families can share their homebirth stories and participate in discussions about homebirth.
Homebirth is not:
* something of the past
* something that only hippies do in the woods (nothing against hippies!)
* a legal choice for women and their partners
* safe—professional midwives mainly attend homebirths in Maine
* contemporary—building on generations of a homebirthing heritage in Maine (see A Midwife’s Tale), women’s knowledge and authority about their own bodies, professional midwives’ commitment and ability to serve women, as well as their faith in women’s ability to give birth.
* diverse—a wide range of women in Maine and their partners choose to have homebirths and in all locations of the state.
* growing—about 1-1.5% of Maine’s population chooses homebirth (see the recent National CDC report about the 20% increase in homebirth).
The internet provides a platform for innovative exchange of information and ideas. At Home in Maine provides a one-of-a-kind resource for women, their families and students to see what homebirth looks like. What normal, natural, vaginal birth looks like. It happens every day. Safely. Beautifully.
“Lights, Camera, Contractions.”