Calling Teen's Botched Delivery a 'Home Birth' Is All Kinds of Wrong

babyThere are different kinds of home births just as there are different kinds of hospital births. Some are very planned, some are emergencies. But one thing that is important to note is that women have home births that are planned, researched, and with midwives and doulas. Some women also have unassisted home births but are knowledgeable in what to do if a situation arises. To call a 16-year-old's secret birth after a secret pregnancy a home birth is wrong. To say that a baby died because of a botched home birth is giving home births a bad name. But that is what many in the media are doing.

The case bringing this up is regarding an unnamed 16-year-old girl from North Carolina. She hid her pregnancy from her parents, gave birth in the home, and then buried the baby in the backyard. This is not a botched home birth.


This girl was scared. Her parents had no idea she was pregnant. They didn't know she gave birth. It was reported that she told her boyfriend and a few friends about the pregnancy, and when it eventually got to the police, it was too late. They found the newborn buried in the yard, a baby girl believed to have died after bleeding to death from the umbilical cord being cut too close and didn't stop the bleeding.

This is such a sad story. This baby didn't have to die. I wish this teen reached out for help, and if she was too scared to tell her parents, I wish she went to a local pregnancy support clinic. But it must be said that the labeling of this as a "botched home birth" in the media is irresponsible and inappropriate.

A home birth is a celebration of the incredible powers we have as women, our ability to birth, our ability to birth outside of a hospital in a setting that is comfortable and helps us feel empowered. This teen birthed a baby without alerting the people she needed to alert. She wasn't prepared, and the fact that she buried the baby in the yard after she passed says a lot.

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There are women who have unexpected home births -- a friend of mine did right in her kitchen, but she had an ambulance on the way, her husband at her side, as well as a friend who was able to rush over to help her. That story had a happy ending. And there of course is a home birthing community filled with loving people who are knowledgeable of what is needed and what to do if something doesn't go according to plan. Home births are most often a beautiful experience, an empowering experience of bringing a life into this world. That is not what happened with this teenager.

The case is now with the district attorney. And I hope people stop saying this was a botched home birth.

What do you think? Does it seem wrong people are calling it a botched home birth?


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