Over the years I've received pleas from women who have lost their babies at homebirth. Each woman has suffered unimaginable tragedy and she wants to know that her baby's death will not be ignored.
She cannot change the choices that she made, cannot bring her baby back, but perhaps the story of her baby's death can open the eyes of other women to the dangers of homebirth. Each woman is different and the details of her story is different, but one refrain is common to them all: "if only I had known the truth about homebirth, I would not have chosen it." The irony of homebirth is not lost on them; they thought they were making a loving choice and instead they were taking a terrible risk.
As Liz Paparella eloquently wrote on the first anniversary of her daughter Aquila's birth and death:
All I can think about is how I chose homebirth ... and I gave my daughter death.Unfortunately, women contemplating homebirth don't know the risks and homebirth advocates aren't about to tell them. In fact, adding insult to injury, when a bereaved mother attempts to share her baby's story with other homebirth advocates, the baby is figuratively erased out of existence. Homebirth websites delete homebirth tragedies. They don't want women to know the truth.
Who is trying to erase homebirth deaths?
MANA (the Midwives Alliance of North America), the organization that represents homebirth midwives, has a database of 18,000 homebirths attended by its members, the largest homebirth database currently in existence. That database has been analyzed and MANA knows how many of those 18,000 babies died at the hands of CPMs. But you can't find out that number. Why? Because MANA will only show its data to those who promise to use it for the "advancement of midwifery" and sign a legal non-disclosure agreement prohibiting them from telling the truth to anyone else.
Evidently, MANA has recognized that, as investigative reporter Paul Brodeur has written:
Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.The numbers may be dry data, but each data point represents the tragic death of a beloved newborn, and, therefore, no one should be allowed access to their statistics.
deaths have been erased.
Private websites run by homebirth advocates frequently and proudly delete comments unfavorable to homebirth, and there's nothing more unfavorable than a homebirth story that ends in death.
Enough is enough. Hurt by Homebirth has been created as a safe place where women can tell the stories of the babies who died or who were left brain damaged or otherwise injured by homebirth. And though maternal death is far more rare, it is also a place where families can tell the story of mothers who have died at or in the aftermath of a homebirth.
This is not a debate board; there are other places for debate listed in the sidebar. But we will try to provide sources to research papers and other accurate information on the death toll of homebirth.
If you have a story to submit, you can send it to me at DrAmy5@aol.com. Please include a picture or pictures if you can. Babies who have been hurt by homebirth should be seen, literally, so everyone can understand that each death represents an unimaginable tragedy for the babies who never had a chance to live, and for the families who will mourn them forever.
The babies who have died at homebirth will be hidden no more.