Tragic Homebirth Proves Mother's Instinct Knows Best

For every amazing, transcendent, love-filled story of home birth, there almost inevitably seems to be at least one horror story. There are tales of being transported screaming to the hospital, or worse still -- mothers losing babies, babies losing mothers. Margarita Sheikh is one mother in Oregon who will always regret her decision to have her baby at home with two unlicensed midwives.

Her baby boy died and that would be heartbreaking enough. But the worst part is that she screamed and screamed for her midwives to take her to the hospital after laboring for eight days alone without her husband (he was stuck in India with visa issues), and no one took her.

Isn't the whole point of home birth that someone will be listening more to the mom? At home, aren't you supposed to be less of a cog in the wheel? Perhaps if she had been transported, her baby would be alive today.


My heart breaks for Sheikh. She was trying to do what any of us moms would by having the most calming, best labor possible. She did nothing wrong except hire unlicensed midwives, but in Oregon, it's legal to practice without a license and she did her research, so why would she automatically assume the worst?

The fact is, I know dozens of women personally who have birthed at home and had amazing, beautiful births. There is no reason Sheikh should have assumed that she wouldn't be one of them.

Critics may come down hard on her, but she isn't the one to blame. She knew she needed to go to the hospital, but she was ignored. It's the same old story we hear from women giving birth.

In the movies we see it all the time. The crazy woman is ranting and raving during labor and immediately after laughs and feels embarrassed over her ravings. "Don't listen to anything I say during labor" seems to be the message from both pop culture and life.

In fact, it's the opposite. We women know better than anyone what needs to happen during labor. We need to trust ourselves and our instincts more. Sheikh knew what needed to happen and she was ignored. The results were tragic.

Politicians are using her story to force midwives to be licensed, and certainly, that is needed too. But what we need even more is confidence in ourselves. We need to trust our instincts. A woman giving birth is smart and powerful, not a raving lunatic. My heart breaks for Sheikh, but what happened to her baby isn't her fault.

Did you have a home birth?


Image via [sic]/Flickr

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