home birthWould you ever consider a home birth? If so, you're in growing company: The number of women skipping the hospital and delivering their babies right in the comfort of their own bedroom (or bathroom or kitchen or, for all I know, TV room) has risen sharply in the past few years, according to government data released Thursday. How sharply? Well, between 2004 and 2009, home births here in the United States shot up a full 29%.

Although overall it's still less than one percent of women who opt to give birth at home, that's a pretty dramatic trend. So, seriously, would you do it?

Me, I've come around to thinking it's not a totally nutty thing to do. And I say bully for those who successfully attempt it and swear by it. But I could probably never do it myself. For one thing, given my history of complicated births (trust me, you don't want to know the details), no doctor in his or her right mind would ever endorse my attempting a birth anywhere but smack-dab in the middle of a top-notch medical facility, with a full panoply of doctors standing by. And even if they did, I'd be afraid something would go wrong and I wouldn't get to the hospital in time. If something preventable happened to my baby because of a home-birth related delay in treatment, I would never, ever, ever, ever get over it. (Who could?)

But also, though I'm no fan of hospitals, a home birth doesn't exactly sound like bliss either. What would I do with my kids while I was in labor? Where would they go? Would they be running in and out, asking me where they left their socks? What if an oblivious neighbor stopped by to chat in the middle of it all? Also, what about the mess? The last thing I want to be worried about in the middle of one of life's most joyous moments is having to get the rugs cleaned.

OK, OK, perhaps many of these are mundane, ridiculous concerns. Maybe I'm just jealous of these women with their uncomplicated, apparently painless home births, throughout which they maintain beatific, yoga-blissful looks on their faces and from which they heal instantly. In fact, who wouldn't be jealous of them, with their certainty and their fearlessness and their painlessness?

But you know who I'm definitely not jealous of? Whoever has to clean up that mess.

Would you ever try a home birth?

 

Image via peretzp/Flickr