Are you a Homebirther?

By Homebirthers throughout Canterbury and New Zealand (collated by Suze Keys)

For the Summer 2008 edition of birthplace magazine we conducted a survey of homebirthers to find out what makes us homebirthers and whether or not we fit society’s stereotypical homebirther mould (which is wide and varied but you can see a good one here).

We invited our membership and supporters (men as well as women) to complete a survey and had 70 returned, which is not a statistically significant sample but does the trick for our needs. It was very interesting to see the variety of responses and so, following meticulous analysis of the results we were able to accurately clarify exactly who Homebirthers are.

As you can see from the results below, we Homebirthers choose to co-sleep, wear our babies and practise attachment parenting, but not necessarily elimination communication.  We’re OK with breastfeeding our own children past the age of two (but not past the age of four) and we would breastfeed someone else’s baby.  We tend not to immunise, use Plunket or Parent’s Centre.  We don’t home school although we’re not averse to alternative schooling and we use time out as a form of discipline. We are spiritual and green but we’re not unshaven, vegetarian, hippie or religious. Almost half of us have been called irresponsible or stupid for choosing homebirth and only half of us think we have a high pain threshold (which is worthy of note since most of us still would not use hospital pain relief at home. Interestingly 3 of the 5 who would use hospital pain relief at home were men). Nearly all of us keep/bury our placenta’s though very few of us practise Lotus birth. Most of us have never lived on a commune, although over half of us consider ourselves to be alternative. We use alternative healthcare where possible, but we would not birth at home without a midwife and our homebirth philosophy could not be realised in a hospital setting. We are not “know-it-all, self-righteous, condescending homebirthers”.

However, those of you reading this and disagreeing with the profile above would be quite correct. No two surveys came in with the same answers, indicating that homebirthers are a diverse bunch of people and, really, the only thing that truly unites us, the one thing that we all share, that makes us the same and puts us universally into one single box, is home birth.  And whether you eat meat, shave your pits, vaccinate or co-sleep has no relevance what-so-ever on birthing at home.  Anyone can do that.  Yay for home birth.

Actual results

Percentage in favour of:

Yes

No

N/A

Do you practice attachment parenting?

49

21

0

70.00

Yes

Are you vegetarian or vegan?

12

58

0

82.86

No

Are you religious?

13

57

0

81.43

No

Are you spiritual?

48

22

0

68.57

Yes

Are you a Hippie?

16

54

0

77.14

No

Are you alternative?

38

32

0

54.29

Yes

Are you “green”?

59

11

0

84.29

Yes

Are you unshaven?

16

54

0

77.14

No

Would you consider breastfeeding a child that is not your own?

56

12

2

80.00

Yes

Are you comfortable with breastfeeding your child past the age of two?

52

18

0

74.29

Yes

Are you comfortable with breastfeeding your child past the age of four?

9

61

0

87.14

No

Do you co-sleep by choice?

48

22

0

68.57

Yes

Do you practice Elimination Communication (no nappies)?

9

61

0

87.14

No

Do you use Plunket?

34

36

0

51.43

No

Are you a Parents’ Centre member?

8

62

0

88.57

No

Do you immunize?

27

43

0

61.43

No

Do you use time out to discipline your children?

45

20

5

64.29

Yes

Have you considered/do you use “alternative schooling”?

40

29

1

57.14

Yes

Are you considering/do you home school?

18

51

1

72.86

No

Do you keep/bury your placenta?

66

4

0

94.29

Yes

Have you been called stupid or irresponsible because of your decision to homebirth?

34

36

0

51.43

No

Do you have a high pain threshold?

35

35

0

50.00

50/50

Are you a “know it all, self righteous, condescending homebirther”?

10

60

0

85.71

No

Do you wear your baby?

49

21

0

70.00

Yes

Have you ever lived in a commune?

11

59

0

84.29

No

Do you practise lotus birth?

9

61

0

87.14

No

Is it your philosophy to use alternative healthcare where possible?

53

17

0

75.71

Yes

If you could use hospital pain relief at home, would you?

5

63

2

90.00

No

Would you consider birthing at home without a midwife?

13

57

0

81.43

No

Could your homebirth philosophy be realized in a hospital setting?

29

40

1

57.14

No

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